- for immediate release -


Freedom Party of Ontario



Attn: Newsroom

Tory Election Panic: Eves Flip-flops on Education Tax Credit to Get Flaherty's Help

OSHAWA, March 20, 2003 - On the heels of Freedom Party's Choice in Education Campaign, directed to independent school supporters across the province in recent weeks, Ernie Eves today announced he is reversing his decision to delay the education tax credit.

Freedom Party of Ontario Leader, Paul McKeever, warned those in favour of choice in education that "The return of the education tax credit and the sudden re-appearance of Jim Flaherty is more than coincidence. Eves is under fire right now and support for the Tories, even among Tories, is slipping away, to the benefit of Freedom Party. It appears that Eves, a closet Liberal, has decided to use Flaherty as his political beard. And it appears that the education tax credit was Jim Flaherty's price for playing that role. But this credit is the most divisive issue in the PC party. Now Eves is going to have to deal with howls of protest from Janet Ecker and the other Tory Liberals who marched out of the closet last spring."

McKeever says that Eves' change of policy in respect of the education tax credit is more evidence of how Eves lacks direction and integrity. "In 2002, Eves said that he thinks it is "ludicrous" to allow choice in schools without government regulating the curriculum in schools. How can anyone trust or take their lead from a man who is quite willing to do what he himself thinks is ludicrous?"

McKeever explains that the tax credit does not give parents choice in education. "Parents in this election must remember the golden rule: whoever holds the gold makes the rules. The tax credit is Progressive Conservative smoke an mirrors: it gives parents the power to choose schools, but leaves government with the power to make the rules about curriculum. The school of your choice follows the rules, or you don't get the credit. It is, in fact, a deceptive way to give choice in schools without really giving parents the power to make choices about their childrens education. And, with Eves, you can bet your high-school diploma that there will be government rules about curriculum after the election...if he hasn't renegged on the education tax credit by then."

McKeever explains that Freedom Party's direct parental funding for education is the only way to ensure parental choice in curriculum. "If the Tories really wanted parents to have choice in curriculum, they would steal Freedom Party's policy. A Freedom Party government will stop collecting education tax revenues so that 100% of parents' education dollars would go straight from their pockets to the schools their children attend: money would go straight to text books and other school needs instead of being siphoned off into government ministries and board office palaces. Those who lack sufficient funds should be given financial support, not politicized government schools."

For further information: Paul McKeever, Leader, Freedom Party of Ontario.
Oshawa Office Telephone: 905-721-9772.

Freedom Party of Ontario
Box 2214, London, Ontario N6A 4E3
1-(800)-830-3301 / (519) 681-3999
FAX: (519) 681-2857