Doug Ford touts education changes in Tory fundraising appeal

Premier Doug Ford hopes to cash in on his government’s education reforms by raising political funds off of the changes.

The Progressive Conservatives on Wednesday sent out a campaign fundraising email to supporters under the subject heading, “Kids need math.”

In the premier’s missive — signed “Doug” — he touts the Tories’ plans to improve Ontario students’ math test scores, which have been dropping as part of a larger global trend, and boost financial literacy.

“Kids need to learn math. But it’s not enough. You shouldn’t have to wait until you’re 20 or 30 to learn you should save some cash for retirement,” wrote Ford.

“You shouldn’t learn about credit card debt when you find out you can’t pay your bills. These are some basics that every kid growing up in Ontario should know. So we’re adding it to the classrooms,” he continued.

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“Nobody should grow up feeling like the basics of household finance are a mystery. We’ve got to arm our kids for success. We’re all about getting some basic common sense back into government, and back into the classrooms.”

Ford noted “things like this, they don’t cost millions of dollars.”

“But they make a big difference. You should chip in $ 2 right now to make sure we’re ready for the next election. We can’t let kids get left behind by the Liberals or NDP.”

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The premier’s email appeal for the 2022 Ontario election came one day before his exclusive $ 1,000-a-ticket fundraiser Thursday night at Beamsville’s Redstone Winery.

It also comes as recently appointed Education Minister Stephen Lecce is gearing up for the new school year next month.

The Tories have blamed the decline in math scores on standardized tests, measured by the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO), on the previous Liberal government, which was in power for almost 15 years.

In February, Ford’s government appointed educator Cameron Montgomery, a defeated 2018 PC candidate in the Ottawa riding of Orleans, to chair the board of the EQAO for $ 140,000 a year.

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Montgomery’s predecessor earned $ 3,600 for what had previously been a part-time post.

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Read more:

Has Doug Ford finally put the cronyism scandal behind him?

Tories defend turning $ 3,600 part-time EQAO gig into a $ 140,000-a-year patronage job for a defeated ex-candidate

At the time, the New Democrats castigated Ford, whose government was later jolted by a cronyism scandal in June, for rewarding a political ally.

Former NDP education minister Dave Cooke, an EQAO board member for a decade and chair for the past three years before retiring in October, earned a per diem of $ 225.

“It’s not a full-time job, and I don’t know how you make it into a full-time job,” Cooke said in February. “If he’s there every day I don’t know what (Montgomery) is going to do.”

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Robert Benzie is the Star’s Queen’s Park bureau chief and a reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie

TORONTO STAR

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