Opinion Letters

School system perfect place for wage freezes: LETTER OF THE DAY

(Re: 'Pay freeze should be prescribed to doctors' in the Dec. 30 edition of the Examiner)

Ontario's finances are in such rough shape that it may be necessary for public sector employees, including doctors, to endure a pay freeze.

The downside of that with doctors, however, is that these very much in demand professionals might just take their services to another jurisdiction that will pay them -- or at least ensure that their salaries are not eroded by inflation.

Before we make any public sector employees endure a pay freeze, however, the province should wring whatever waste it can out of its current spending.

A good place to start would be the massive duplication in Ontario's school system.

Ontario currently supports four school systems, English and French public and Catholic, where two truly public systems would do.

Ontario's constitutional obligation to fund Catholic schools is largely illusory, as it can be removed very quickly or can even be ignored.

Quebec, Newfoundland and Manitoba all removed or ignored very similar constitutional obligations before moving to a single public school system for each official language (English and French).

Ontario's Drummond Commission will have been grossly negligent if it fails to comment on the duplication in our school system, probably the most obvious and significant example of government waste in Ontario today.

How can the government continue to countenance the funding of utter non-essentials like Catholic schools when it can no longer adequately fund our truly essential programs?

The coming austerity is sure to hurt many Ontarians.

The pain will be worse if the government fails to differentiate truly essential programs from utter non-essentials like Catholic schools.

Leonard Baak Stittsville (Ottawa)



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