Transcript: Toxic Schools? | Apr 10, 2005

The opening sequence rolls.

Music plays as clips of politicians and demonstrations appear on an animated number 4.

Steve says THIS WEEK ON 4th READING
GOING TO IRAQ AND RUIN.

A fast clip shows images of schools in very poor building conditions.

Cathy is in her late forties, with mid-length wavy red hair. She wears a
She wears a pink plaid jacket, a white scarf, several small hoop earrings and sunglasses over her head.

She says OUR CHILDREN ARE IN THESE
SUBSTANDARD CONDITIONS

Steve says A NEW REPORT CALLS
CONDITIONS IN TORONTO SCHOOLS
APPALLING.

Steve sits in the studio 5 guests.

Steve is in his mid-forties, clean-shaven, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing glasses, a dark gray suit and a yellow sweater.

Steve says HI, EVERYBODY I'M STEVE
PAIKIN.
WELCOME TO 4th READING.
A NEW REPORT SAYS MANY STUDENTS
IN TORONTO ARE SPENDING THEIR
DAYS IN SCHOOLS INFESTED WITH
MOULD, VERMIN OH, POSED
ASBESTOS.
THAT AT A TIME WHEN THE SCHOOL
BOARD SAY IT'S ALMOST 3 FOURTHS OF A
BILLION BEHIND REPAIRS.
THE TORONTO PARENT NETWORK
WHICH STUDIED THE SCHOOLS SAYS
PARENT SHOULD BE APPALLED BY
THE FINDINGS.
THE EDUCATION MINISTERS INSISTS
HELP IS ON THE WAY.

A fast clip shows images school facilities.

Steve says THE REPORT SAYS TORONTO
SCHOOLS ARE IN "TERRIBLE
DISREPAIR BECAUSE OF CHRONIC
UNDERFUNDING BY THE PROVINCE."
THE PROBLEMS RAINING FROM POOR
AIR QUALITY, PARENT GROUPS SAY
THAT CREATED AN UNACCEPTABLE
LEARNING ENVIRONMENT FOR THE
KIDS.

A caption reads "Cathy Dandy. Toronto Parent Network."

She says IT IS INEXCUSABLE TO SAY OUR
CHILDREN ARE IN THESE
SUBSTANDARD CONDITIONS.
NO RHETORIC AROUND DEFICITS OR
NOT HAVING ENOUGH MONEY IS
GOING TO CUT IT FOR ME ANYWAY

Steve reads data from the Health and Safety Report.

He says 90 percent OF SCHOOLS WERE SITED FOR
ELECTRICAL OR FIRE HAZARDS.
80 PEARS HAD NAT QUITE EYEWASH
STATIONS IN SCIENCE LABS AND
CLASSROOMS.
32 PERCENT SHOWED SIGNS OF MOULD.
16.5 PERCENT HAD EXPOSED ASBESTOS AND
10 percent INFESTED WITH VERMIN.
CRITICS SAY THAT IS NOT A NEW
PROBLEM BUT THAT ACTIONS MUST
BE TAKEN.

The caption changes to "John Tory. Ontario PC Leader."

John is in his early late forties, clean-shaven and with short wavy light brown hair. He wears a black suit, white shirt and striped black tie.

He says GENERALLY WHETHER IT'S
ROADS, UNIVERSITY BUILDINGS,
SCHOOL BUILD, SUCCESSIVE
GOVERNMENTS OVER THE LAST 20
YEARS HAVE NOT TREATED THOSE
ASSETS THIS A WHICH WE WOULD
TREAT OUR OWN PERSONAL ASSETS.
YOU WOULD NOT LET YOUR HOUSE OR
CAR RUN DOWN FOR 20 YEARS.
THE CHALLENGE TO FIND WAYS TO
FINANCE INNOVATIVELY MAKING
SURE THE REPAIRS GET DONE
BECAUSE THE LONGER YOU LEAVE IT
THE WORTH IT GUESS.

Steve says GERARD KENNEDY SAYS HIS GOVERNMENT
HAS EAR-MARKED 4 BILLION FOR
CAPITAL REPAIRS TO SCHOOLS
ACROSS THE PROVINCE, 175
MILLION OF THAT TO GO TO
TORONTO THIS YEAR.
THE FIRST INSTALMENTS WILL BE
AVAILABLE TO SCHOOL BOARDS
PROVINCE WIDE BY THIS SUMMER
BUT PARENTS GROUPS WANTS
ASSURANCE THAT IS ONGOING
MAINTENANCE WILL BE A PRIORITY.

Fast clip shows images of damaged school buildings.

Cathy says IF YOU ARE GOING TO PUT IN
CAPITAL REPAIR MONEY, AT THE
SAME TIME YOU HAVE TO GET
MAINTENANCE IN THERE TO MAKE
SURE THE WINDOWS ARE CAULKED SO
WE DON'T HAVE MOULD GROWING.
THEY HAVEN'T DONE THAT.

Steve says WITH THE NUMBER OF SCHOOL
BOARDS IN DEBT CRITICS SAY THE
MONEY FROM THE PROVINCE WILL
HARDLY MAKE A DENT.

The caption changes to "Howard Hampton. Ontario NDP Leader."

Howard is in his early fifties, clean-shaven and with short straight graying hair. He wears a blue suit, gray shirt and patterned tie.

He says THEY ARE NOT PROVIDING THEM
WITH THE MONEY TO DO THE
CAPITAL MAINTENANCE.
THEY ARE PROVIDING THEM WITH
ENOUGH MONEY TO GO OUT AND
BORROW, BUT MANY BOARDS ARE
ALREADY IN TOUGH FINANCIAL
SHAPE.
THEY'VE BEEN FORCED TO SPEND
THEIR RESERVES.
THEY CAN'T DO THIS.

Steve says BUT GERARD KENNEDY SAYS HIS
GOVERNMENT IS TRANSFORMING
SCHOOLS.

The caption changes to "Honourable Gerard Kennedy. Minister of Education."

Gerard is in his mid-forties, clean-shaven and with shot wavy light brown hair. He wears a black suit, white shirt and burgundy tie.

He says MISTER SPEAKER, THERE WILL BE
MORE IMPROVEMENT TO THE
ENVIRONMENT, FOR STUDENTS, FOR
TEACHERS, FOR EVERYBODY
ASSOCIATED WITH THE SCHOOL
COMMUNITY OVER THE NEXT 18
MONTHS THAN THERE HAS BEEN IN
THE LAST EIGHT TO TEN YEARS.

Steve says WITH US TODAY TO TALK ABOUT THE
STATE OF OUR SCHOOLS, KATHLEEN
WYNNE PARLIAMENTARY SECOND TO
THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION AND
SHE IS THE LIBERAL MPP FOR DON
VALLEY WEST.
AND CATHY DANDY.
THERE IS SEAN CONWAY OUT OF THE
LIBERALS AND JANET ECKER FROM
THE CONSERVATIVE AND DAVE COOKE
FROM THE NDP.
CATHY SOME OF THE BACK GROUND
OF THIS REPORT THAT OUR VIEWERS
MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN.
HOW DO YOU KNOW THE INFORMATION
IS ACCURATE?

Cathy says IT'S DONE BUT A TEAM AT THE
BOARD SO IT IS UNDER THE LABOUR
ACT.
THEY HAVE TO INSPECT FOR
EMPLOYEES' HEALTH AND SAFETY
CONDITIONS SO IT'S DONE BY
BOARD STAFF AND UNION
REPRESENTATIVES.
THERE IS THEIR JOB TO INSPECT
SCHOOLS ANNUALLY.
IT'S SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN ONCE A
MONTH, BUT BECAUSE OF THE THERE
ARE SO MANY SITES THEY ARE
ALLOWED TO GET AWAY WITH ONE A
YEAR.

Steve says PEOPLE WONDERER WHETHER YOU
ARE IMAGINE AGENT THE SITUATION
IN ORDER TO GET THE
GOVERNMENT'S ATTENTION, WHAT IS
THE ANSWER?

Cathy says NO, THAT IS WHAT SO GREAT
ABOUT THIS REPORT IT'S ONE OF
THOSE THINGS YOU CAN QUANTIFY.
THESE ARE ACTUAL FINDINGS FROM
THE REPORT AND IT'S A MATTER OF
COUNTING THE NUMBER OF SCHOOLS
WHERE THE INCIDENTS APPEAR.
ACCORDING TO THE TEAMS.
WE'RE NOT SAYING ALL THE THINGS
ARE -- THEY ARE NOT IN THE
STATE THEY ARE EXACTLY RIGHT
NOW, BECAUSE THERE IS ONGOING
REPAIR GOING ON TO TRY TO FIX
THE PROBLEMS BUT THE BOTTOM
LINE IS BECAUSE OF THE HIGH
REPEAT INCIDENTS WE FOUND, WE
KNOW THERE ARE CONTINUALLY
BREAKING DOWN.

Steve says WOULD YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THE
ACCURACY OF THE REPORT?

The caption changes to "Kathleen Wynne. P.A TO Minister of Education."

Kathleen is in her fifties, with short wavy light brown hair. She wears a black top, a pink checker woollen jacket.

She says ABSOLUTELY, STEVE, I WAS A
TRUSTEE ON THE BOARD AND WILL
NOT SCENE THAT -- DENY THAT
MANY OF OUR SCHOOLS ARE IN
ROUGH SHAPE.
THE REPORT... I WANT TO SAY AS
AN ACTIVIST THEY'VE DONE A GOOD
JOB.
ABSOLUTELY THE REPORT IS, IT'S
SOLID.
WHAT WE'RE SAYING IS THAT IT
TOOK SOMETIME FOR THOSE SCHOOLS
TO FALL INTO DISREPAIR.
THERE WERE A LOT OF BOARDS
DEFERRING MAINTENANCE THAT
CREATED THE SITUATION.
WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO DO IS
WE'RE PUTTING AN INJECTION OF
CAPITAL MONEY IN THAT -- YOU
TAKE THE DUCT TAPE OFF THE
WINDOW THAT HASN'T BEEN
CAULKED, REPLACE THAT WINDOW,
YOU HAVE MONEY TO DO OUR
MAINTENANCE SO THAT IS IT WHAT
WE'RE TRY TOG DO.

Steve says THE QUESTION BECOMES ARE THE
SCHOOLS UNSAFE PLACES IN WHICH
STUDENTS LEARN?

Kathleen says YOU KNOW, THE TORONTO
DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD IS VERY,
VERY CAUTIOUS ABOUT ITS
SCHOOLS.
HI A CONVERSATION WITH THE
CHAIR OF THE BOARD LAST NIGHT.
IT'S HER INTENTION THAT THE
HEALTH AND SAFETY ISSUE ALSO BE
DEALT WITH RIGHT AWAY.
THERE IS NO DOUBT,
ASBESTOS, MOULD, THE ONLY ONE I
TAKE ISSUE SW THE MICE.
I'M NOT SURE WE CAN GET RID OF
MICE BUT ABSOLUTELY, THE HEALTH
AND SAFETY ISSUES HAVE TO BE
DEALT WITH.
IT'S THE MINISTER'S AND THE
CHAIR'S INTENTION TO DO THAT.

Cathy says I WANTED TO SAY I THINK
KATHLEEN IS RIGHT.
IT'S DIFFICULT TO GET RID OF
MICE BECAUSE WE THINK OF IT
FROM AN ADULT POINT OF VIEW.
THE STANDARDS THEY ARE
INSPECTING TO ARE ADULT
STANDARDS.
WE'RE CALLING FOR CHANGES IN
LEGISLATION.
THEY ARE FILLED WITH CHILDREN.
CHILDREN'S BODIES ARE LESS ABLE
TO HANDLE LEVELS OF TOXINS THAN
ADULTS.
YOU CAN'T GIVE THEM AS MUCH
MEDICINE.
WELL, THE KINDS OF THINGS THAT
ARE IN IN VERMONT WRITTEN FECES
IF YOU WANT TO GET GROSS ABOUT
IT.

Steve says WE DON'T.

Cathy says THAT IS THE REALITY.
IF YOU HAVE PIGEONS ROOFING IN
AIR DUST THEIR FECES HAS GROSS
STUFF IN IT...

Kathleen says I DIDN'T MEAN TO BE FLIP
ABOUT THAT AT ALL.

Cathy says WE HAVE TO LOOK AT THAT.

Kathleen says ABSOLUTELY.
YOU KNOW, 700 MILLION, WHEN I
WAS ON THE BOARD WE FIGURED WE
HAD 4 MILLION BACKLOG.
IF IT'S 700 MILLION NOW THAT
IS, THAT MAY BE THE CASE.
IT'S GOING TO TAKE SOMETIME.
AND SOME INJECTION OF MONEY TO
GET THOSE ISSUES DEALT WITH.
WE CAN'T FIX IT ALL AT ONCE.

Steve says WHY DOESN'T THE SITUATION
GO AWAY?

The caption changes to "Dave Cooke. Former NDP Cabinet Minister."

Dave is in his early late forties, clean-shaven and with short receding brown hair. He wears a gray suit and a cream sweater.

He says I THINK JOHN TORY WAS
CORRECT IN HIS CLIP ON THIS
PIECE THAT FOR A LONG PERIOD OF
TIME, IT'S BEEN EASIER
ESPECIALLY WHEN OPERATING
DOLLARS HAVE BEEN VERY TIGHT,
TO MOVE AWAY FROM DOING
DEFERRED MAINTENANCE AND PUT IT
INTO WHETHER IT'S TEACHER SAL
RICKS WHETHER IT'S OTHER
ASPECTS OF DAY TO DAY
OPERATION.
THIS IS NOT JUST A PROBLEM WITH
THE ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY
SCHOOLS.
ON A COLLEGE BOARD IN THE
UNIVERSITY BOARD DEFERRED
MAINTENANCE IN ALL OF THE
PUBLIC SECTOR IS HUGE.
WHILE THERE IS WORK THAT NEEDS
TO BE DONE, I'VE GOT TO GIVE
THE MINISTER CREDIT.
THEY'VE PUT TOGETHER A PLAN.
THEY'RE FUNDING IT I BELIEVE IN
THE SAME WAY THAT THE PREVIOUS
GOVERNMENT DID SOME BUILDING OF
NEW SCHOOLS.
THE SAME MECHANISMS.
IT SHOULD FREE UP A FAIR AMOUNT
OF MONEY TO GET A FAIR AMOUNT
OF WORK DONE FAIRLY QUICKLY.
IT'S IMPORTANT THAT THE
URGENCY, WE KEEP GETTING
REMINDED.

Steve says DO YOU THINK THE GOVERNMENT
IS APPROACHING THIS WITH THE
ADEQUATE URGENCY.

The caption changes to "Janet Ecker. Former PC Cabinet Minister."

Janet is in her late forties, with short straight blond hair. She wears glasses, a white blouse, a black jacket, a chocker necklace and a pair of earrings.

She says EVERYBODY WANTS IT DOB
YESTERDAY.
SO I MEAN YOU ARE ALWAYS GOING
TO FIND PEOPLE WHO ARE GOING TO
SAY THAT ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT
BUT THEY DO RECOGNIZE AS
PREVIOUS GHOSTS RECOGNIZE THAT
HAD IT'S A SIGNIFICANT PROBLEM.
THERE ARE A COUPLE OF THINGS.
WIN THE THINGS THAT WE HAD
FOCUSED ON WAS TRYING TO, TO
GET FEWER PORTABLES IN, AT THE
SCHOOLS BECAUSE THE BIGGEST
GROWTH AREA IN SOME SCHOOLS,
ONE OR TWO SCHOOLS THAT HAD
MORE PORTABLES AND CLASSROOM
AND MAINTENANCE, WE HAD SERIOUS
HEALTH ISSUES WITH THEM.
THERE WAS ACTUALLY START...
STARTING TO A O BE A DECREASE.
WHEN THE GOVERNMENT FOCUSED
THEY WERE STARTING TO MAKE A
FIX.
THE SECOND THING, CATHY TOUCHED
ON IT, GIVING A SCHOOL BOARD
MONEY AND SAYING HERE, FIX YOUR
CAPITAL, IS, IT HAS TO BE MORE
THAN THAT.
SOME BOARDS ARE GOOD AT IT.
SOME ARE NOT.
OUR PROBLEM IS WHEN A BOARD IS
SITTING THERE WITH A POTENTIAL
TEACHER STRIKE THE TEMPTATION
IS VERY STRONG TO SAY, WELL, WE
WON'T DO THIS LITTLE
MAINTENANCE THIS YEAR.
USE IT TO SETTLE THE STRIKE AND
WE'VE SEEN THAT HAPPEN IN MANY
CASES WHERE MONEY WAS NOT GOING
TO WHERE IT SHOULD BE.
SO I THINK THE PROVINCE...
KATHLEEN MAY KNOW, THEY MAY BE
DOING THIS.
IF THEY ARE GOING TO PUT THE
CHECK OUT THERE, THERE HAS TO
BE A PLAN, STANDARDS FOR HOW
IT'S SPENT SO MONEY DON'T END
UP IN OTHER PLACES.

Steve says WE GET CRITICIZED FOR BEING
TOO TORONTO FOCUSED ON THIS
PROGRAMME.
TO PLEAD MEA CULPA HOWEVER LETS
YOU USED TO REPRESENT A PART
OF THE PROVINCE THAT WAS MORE
RURAL THAN THE CITY OF TORONTO.
IS IT WORSE OUT THERE ONCE YOU
GO FURTHER AWAY?
The caption changes to "Sean Conway. Former Liberal Cabinet Minister."

Sean is in his mid-forties, clean-shaven and with short straight light brown hair. He wears glasses, a black suit, white shirt and striped tie.

He says THERE IS NO QUESTION THAT A
NUMBER OF SCHOOLS IN RUBBLE,
SMALL TOWN -- RURAL SMALL TOWN
FACE THE SAME PRESSURES.
COULD I FIND SOME EXTREMELY
GOODS EXAMPLES OF THIS.
PROBLEM.
BUT I WANT TO SAY THAT SOMEONE
TO SPEND FOUR YEARS AT THE
MINISTRY OF EDUCATION THERE ARE
A COUPLE OF OPENINGS I WANT
TO MAKE.
ONE REGARDLESS OF WHO THE
MINISTER, WHO THE GOVERNMENT
IS, WHEN YOU GET A BUDGET FOR
EDUCATION AND YOU SEPARATE OUT
THE OPERATING, THE PAYMENT OF
SAL RAYS -- SALARIES THEN
CAPITAL, IF YOU ARE A
POLITICIAN SURROUND BID A GROUP
OF WELL INTENTIONED
POLITICIANS, YOU MAY IN THE
AGREE BUT THE POLITICAL
PRESSURE THAT COMES TO PLAY ON
THE QUESTION WHICH HEAT CAN YOU
TAKE MORE OF?
THE SCHOOL THAT IS THERE, THAT
NEEDS REPAIR, OR THE HOWLING
GROUP OF PARENTS IN SOME NEW
SUBURB WHERE PEOPLE HAVE PAID,
3, 200,000 FOR HOMES BY THE
SCORE AND THERE IS NO SCHOOL.
AS JANET SAYS THERE IS A SEA
OF PORTABLES.
IN THE LAST NUMBER OF DECADES
WHAT HAS HAPPENED IS THE UNEVEN
DISPERSAL OF SCHOOL AGE
POPULATIONS HAS, HAS REALLY
CONFOUNDED THIS PROBLEM.

Kathleen says BUT, STEVE, THERE IS -- I
THINK IS A MORE SYSTEMIC
PROBLEM THAT HAS BEEN IN PLACE
FOR THE LAST NUMBER OF YEARS.
THAT IS THAT THERE WAS
UNDERFUNDING OF THE OPERATIONS.
THERE WAS ALSO UNDERFUNDING OF
CAPITAL.
OVER TEN YEARS, MAINTENANCE
PROBLEMS GET WORSE.
SO THAT IS WHY WE'RE PLAYING
CATCH UP NOW.
I WOULDN'T SAY 20 YEARS.
JOHN TORY IS SAYING 20 YEARS
BECAUSE HE DON'T WANT THE
PREVIOUS REGIME TO BE HELD
ACCOUNTABLE.
THE LAST TEN YEARS BECAUSE
SINCE AMALGAMATION, IN THE
TORONTO BOARD, THAT IS THE
PERIOD OF TIME WE'RE TALKING
ABOUT, THIS IS WHY WE HAVE TO
WE HAVE TO, WE HAVE TO...
(ALL TALKING AT ONCE.)

Cathy says I AGREE WITH KATHLEEN.
I THINK IT HAS TO BE, POINT
HAS TO BE MADE.
A LOT OF THE DISCUSSION IS
ABOUT CAPITAL.
WE ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THE
GOVERNMENT PUT SOME MONEY INTO
CAPITAL AND THEY ARE TRYING TO
MAKE STRIDES BUT THE REALITY IS
THERE HAS BEEN A CONTINUOUS
UNDERFUNDING OF THE PEOPLE WE
NEED ON A REGULAR BASIS IN THE
BUILDINGS.
THEY ARE NOT BEING REPLACED.
WE NEED THEM IN TO DO...

Janet says LET ME GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE, WHAT HAPPENED…

Cathy says THE ONTARIO HEALTHY SCHOOLS
COALITION WAS AT THE MEDIA
EVENT.

Dave says YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT.
I THINK JOHN DOES HAVE A POINT.
WHEN GOVERNMENTS ARE DOING
THINGS, WE'RE TALKING BIG BUCKS
IT'S -- IT'S HARD TO HAVE A
RIBBON COUNT CUTTING FOR A NEW
WINDOW.
IT'S HARD TO COMMUNICATE TO
PEOPLE WHERE YOU ARE INVESTING
SO IT'S EASIER TO BUILD NEW
SCHOOLS, EASIER TO START NEW
PROGRAMMES.
WE GOT TO DEAL WITH THIS BUT
THE POLITICS OF IT IS NOT
ALWAYS REWARDING.

Cathy says BUT IT STILL GETS UGLY IF YOU GET SUED...

Janet says THERE ARE NEEDS, IN TORONTO
SCHOOLS THERE ARE LEGITIMATE
NEEDS.
THERE IS NO QUESTION ONE OF
ITSELF PRIORITIES WE PUT ON WAS
TRYING TO CASH UP ON NEW
SCHOOLS IN AREAS THAT DIDN'T
HAVE A SCHOOL.
SO IT WASN'T A QUESTION OF THE
WINDOW OR THE ROOF.
THERE WASN'T A SCHOOL THERE.
WE ALSO CHANGED THE WAY CAPITAL
COULD BE SPENT BY SCHOOLS SO WE
WERE PROMOTING LONGER TERM
PLANNING BECAUSE THE WAY IT
USED TO WORK IS THE SCHOOLS HAD
TO LINE UP, YOU APPROVED THESE
FIVE PROJECTS THIS YEAR AND
THOSE SIX PROJECTS NEXT YEAR.
SO A SCHOOL BOARD WAS LEFT IN
THE CUE AS OPPOSED TO BEING
ABLE TO PLAN OVER TEN AND 25
YEARS.
AND WE PUT THAT IN PLACE.
IT IS SOMETHING THAT.
HAS IMPROVED THE WAY THERE HAVE
BEEN ABLE TO BUILD NEW, TO
REPAIR OLD AND I THINK I AM, I
THINK IT'S STILL IN PLACE AND
IT IS SOMETHING THAT THE
MINISTER RECOGNIZE SOMETHING
HELPING SCHOOL BOARD.
BUT THE OTHER THING THAT
HAPPENED LET'S GO BACK TO THE
OTHER AGREEMENTS, I'M NOT
CASTING ASPERSIONS WITH YOU THE
TORONTO BOARD MADE IN AN
ATTEMPT TO SETTLE A CUSTODIAL
STAFF STRIKE, THEY MADE A WAGE
SETTLEMENT PRICE THAT WAS
DIFFICULT TO AFFORD.
THEY PAID FOR IT BY ATTRITION
OF JOBS, OF CUSTODIAL STAFF.
THEREFORE YOU HAD FEWER STAFF
LOOKING AFTER...

Kathleen says THE REGULAR MAINTENANCE...
(ALL TALKING AT ONCE.)

Steve says OKAY.
KATHLEEN.

Kathleen says WE'RE GOING TO TALK ABOUT
LABOUR UNREST WE'RE GOING TO
HAVE TO TALK ABOUT THE
CONDITIONS IN PLACE.
ONE OF THE THINGS WE'VE
RECOGNIZED ALONG WITH THE
CAPITAL FUND SOMETHING WE'VE
INCREASED THE BENCHMARK ON
SCHOOL OPERATION BUSINESS 3 percent.

Steve says WHAT DOES THAT
MACHINE.

Kathleen says WE'RE PUTTING ANOTHER 76
MILLION INTO SCHOOL OPERATIONS
SO WE'RE RECOGNIZING THAT THE
SORT OF YEARLY, THE ANNUAL
AMOUNT THAT GOES IN IS NOT
ENOUGH.
THERE NEEDS TO BE AN INCREASE
THERE BUT IN, YOU KNOW, WHAT
SEAN IS SAYING IS CORRECT.
THERE ARE ALWAYS COMPETING
INTERESTS.
THE PROBLEM IS, STEVE, WE ARE
APPLYING CATCH UP ON THIS FRONT.
IT'S NOT...

Steve says IS DAVE RIGHT WHEN
HE SAYS.
LET'S BE REAL?
POLITICIANS PREFER RIBBON
CUTTINGS TO PUTTING MONEY INTO
FIXING -- FIXING THE CEILINGS
OF OLD ONES?

Kathleen says SURE, THAT IS NO EXCUSE FOR
NOT MAINTAINS SCHOOL WASH ROOMS
AND NOT MAINTAINING...

Dave says BUT IT IS A BIT OF AN
EXPLANATION OVER WHAT HAS
HAPPENED.

Cathy says LET'S TALK ABOUT WHERE WE
ARE NOW.
CAN WE TALK ABOUT WHERE WE
ARE NOW.
GO AHEAD.
YOU UP THERE ON THE 22 FLOOR,
THE REALITY IS OUR CHILDREN ARE
BREATHING IN MOULD BY IS TOXIC
AND THEY ARE BREATHING IN...
Dave says I'M NOT HERE TO DEFEND THAT.

Cathy says SO LET' START WITH WHERE WE
ARE NOW.
I NOW POLITICIANS, THIS
GOVERNMENT AND EVERY OTHER
GOVERNMENT NEEDS OPTIONS.
THEY NEED THE POLLS TO CLIMB
BUT THE REALITY IS AS A PARENT,
THIS IS WHY WE DO THIS, THESE
SCHOOLS ARE UNSAFE FOR SOME OF
OUR CHILDREN.
THAT MUST BE ADDRESSED
IMMEDIATELY BEFORE R OR THERE
WILL BE LEGAL ACTION.

Sean says LET ME SAY SOMETHING ELSE
THAT INFORMS THIS.
THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE IN
EDUCATION WHO ARE LOOKING AT
THIS AND THINKING, ALL RIGHT,
PARTICULARLY IN URBAN ONTARIO,
URBAN CANADA, WE HAVE GOT
SUBSTANTIALLY MORE SCHOOL SPACE
IN PARTS OF URBAN CANADA THAN
THE SCHOOL AGE POPULATIONS
WOULD JUSTIFY, PARTICULARLY
WHEN YOU COMPARE IT TO THE
SUBURBAN GROWTH AREAS.
SO PART OF THE OTHER PROBLEM
THAT NOBODY WANTS TO TALK ABOUT
PUBLICLY IS THE HOPE THAT ALONG
THE WAY SINCE RESOURCE ALSO NOT
BE INFINITE THERE WILL BE AN
ORDERLY CONSOLIDATION...

Cathy says I WOULD LOVE TO TALK ABOUT
THAT.

Janet says THAT IS RIGHT.
ONE OF THE THINGS WE TRIED
TO ENCOURAGE -- IT'S TOUGH TO
BE A TRUST EYE TO HAVE TO SAY
WE'RE GOING TO CLOSE A SCHOOL,
BUT THAT HAS DRIVEN SOME OF THE
PROBLEMS THAT SCHOOL BOARDS HAD
IN KEEPING THE UPKEEP.

Steve says I NEED TO FOLLOW UP
ON ONE THING YOU SAID.
IN THE ANSWER TO MY PREVIOUS
QUESTION YOU DID SAY FIX IT OR
ELSE THERE WILL BE LEGAL
CONSEQUENCES.
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

Cathy says WE BELIEVE, CHILDREN ARE
BEING, ARE, ARE ILL ON AN
ONGOING BASIS IN OUR SCHOOLS.
WE BELIEVE THAT IS NOT RELATED
TO CHILDREN NATURALLY PICKING
UP COLDS.
WE THINK THAT IS ACTUALLY
RELATED TO SOMETHING MORE
DANGEROUS.
WE KNOW THERE ARE BLOCKED FIRE
EXISTS.

Steve says DO YOU PLAN TO SUE
SOMEBODY?

Cathy says NO, WE'RE NOT FEAR
MONGERING.
THEY WERE DISTURBING REPORTS TO
GO THROUGH.

Kathleen says WHAT WE NEED...

Cathy says IT'S ONLY A MATTER OF TIME,
WE BELIEVE SOMETHING WILL GO
WRONG.
THAT IS SCARY.

Kathleen says WHAT WE NEED TO SEE OVER THE
NEXT 18 MONTHS WE SHOULD SEE
CHANGE IN THE SCHOOL.
I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO YOUR
REPORT NEXT YEAR OR WEATHER
WHENEVER YOU ARE GOING TO DO IT
BECAUSE I BELIEVE THERE WILL BE
A REDUCTION IN THE SERIOUS
MAINTENANCE PROBLEMS.
I BELIEVE THAT BECAUSE THE
INJECTION OF MONEY IS GOING IN
AND IT'S NOT ACCEPTABLE TO ME,
IT'S NOT ACCEPTABLE TO THE
MINISTER, TO THE GOVERNMENT FOR
KIDS TO BE IN UNSAFE
SITUATIONS.

Steve says DO YOU THINK BOARDS
ARE UNDER THE RISK OF BEING SUED
BECAUSE...

Kathleen says I'M NOT GOING TO GO THERE.
I HOPE THAT...

Cathy says I THINK –
THEY ARE NOT GOING TO DO IT
WILLY NILLY.

Kathleen says I, IF THERE IS AN UNSAFE
SITUATION THE BOARD PARENT WILL
DEAL WITH THIS.
OUR INTEREST IS TO GET THE
SCHOOLS FIXED.

Dave says ANOTHER MAJOR EXAMPLE OF OUR
AGE INFRASTRUCTURE.
WE HAVE WE'VE TALKED ABOUT THIS
BEFORE.

Cathy says CAN WE TALK ABOUT THE
CONSOLATION OF SCHOOLS BECAUSE
I THINK ONE OF THE THINGS THAT...
AT THE TORONTO PARENT NETWORK
IS NOT SHUTTING DOWN AND
CONSOLIDATING.
WE HAVE TO LOOK AT HOW THE
MINIMUMS I INDUSTRY OF HEALTH,
MINISTRY OF CHILDREN AND YOUTH
SERVICES ALL WORK TOGETHER IN
THE MUNICIPALITIES IT USE OUR
BUILDINGS DIFFERENTLY.
I DON'T THINK WE HAVE TO SHUT
THEM DOWN.
I THINK WE COULD USE THEM MORE
EFFICIENTLY.
IN THE UNITED STATES THERE IS
INCREDIBLE WORK BEING DONE TO
START COORDINATING IN THESE
HUBBS.
THERE IS AN...
(ALL TALKING AT ONCE.)

Janet says THAT IS HARDLY...

Dave says SOME OF OUR COMMUNITIES
WON'T HOLD WATER.
THERE ARE SCHOOLINGS THAT
SHOULD REMAIN OPEN BUT EVERY
TIME YOU LOOK AT COMMUNITIES
WHERE DECLINING ENROLMENT IS
VERY SIGNIFICANT SOMETIMES IT'S
THE STUDENTS THAT GET THE RAW
END OF IT.

Cathy says THERE HAS BEEN NO WORK ON
THAT THAT IS...

(ALL TALKING AT ONCE.)

Kathleen says CHILD CARE AND ADULT
EDUCATION, OUR BEST START
PROGRAMMES, DEALING WITH CHILD
CARE, THAT HUBB CONCEPT THAT IS
WHAT WE'RE WORKING TO.
ADULT STUDENTS IN THE PROVINCE
NEED TO BE IN OUR SCHOOLS

Steve says AT THE RISK OF BRINGING POLITICS
INTO THIS, I DO NOTE THE PAST
WEEK THAT THE FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT HAS CHANGED ITS MIND
AND DECIDED TO ALLOW MEMBERS OF
THE MCGUINTY GOVERNMENT TO GO
TO OTTAWA AND MAKE THEIR PITCH
TO TRY TO FIX THAT 23 BILLION DOLLAR
GAP THAT SEE TAKE TAX GOING TO
OTTAWA, NOT COME BACK TO
ONTARIO.
I GUESS., WHY DO YOU THINK THEY DID
THAT BECAUSE PRESUMABLY IF SO.
MONEY DOES COME BACK IT'S GOING
INTO THE SCHOOLS?

Janet says HEALTH AND EDUCATION WILL BE
THE TWO THINGS THAT WILL GOBBLE
UP THE MONEY.
THERE IS NO QUESTION WE'LL.

Cathy says POST-SECONDARY.

Janet says YEAH, POST-SECOND AS WELL.
INTERPRET IT BROADLY.

Steve says WHY DID THE FEDS
CHANGE THEIR MIND?

Janet says I THINK THE PRIME MINISTER
SHOWED A GREAT TENDENCY WHEN
CONFRONTED TO PRESSURE TO CAVE.
YOU -- SOMEBODY SCREAMS AND
SAYS...

Steve says YOU ARE -- SEAN, GO AHEAD.

(LAUGHTER).

Sean says I THINK ANYONE WHO IS
LOOKING AT THE WEATHER IN THE
OTTAWA VALLEY SEES PERHAPS SOME
STORM CLOUDS GATHERING OVER OLD
BITOWN AND PERHAPS THERE IS A
CHANGES IN ATMOSPHERICS.

Steve says YOU WANT TO COME BACK AS THE
WEATHERMAN, WHAT IS GOING ON.

Dave says I DO I THINK ANYBODY IS
GOING TO TAKE IT AS BEING
PARTICULARLY CREDIBLE.
ALL OF THE PROBLEMS GOING ON HE
HELD OFF ON THE CONSERVATIVES
ARE SETTING UP A MEETING WITH
THE MCGUINTY GOVERNMENT.
I THINK IT'S ALL SHOW.

Steve says LAST WORD TO YOU ON THAT.

Kathleen says ON THE BRIGHT SIDE MY HOPE
IS WE CAN HAVE A COLLABORATIVE
CONVERSATION ABOUT IT BECAUSE
IT'S NOT JUST OUR PROBLEM.
IT'S ALSO THE.

Sean says YOU CAN SPEND A LOT OF MONEY
HERE, I WOULD SAY TO THE
EDUCATION COMMUNITY, YOU WANT
TO MAKE SURE THAT THE MONEY YOU
SPEND PARTICULARLY EIGHT DIBBLE
RESOURCES YOU...

Steve says I THOUGHT YOU WERE THE
WEATHER MAN.

Sean says HOLD ON.
(LAUGHTER).

Steve says CATHY CANDY, KATHLEEN WYNNE,
YOU THREE STAND BY.
MORE TO TALK ABOUT, COMING UP
THE LIBERALS AT QUEENS PARK ARE
ACCUSED OF BRINGING DOWN A
SHROUD OF SECRECY. WATCH.

At a session in the legislature, John Tory says LET'S RUN DOWN THE FIST 37 FIRST THE PRESS SECRETARY
ORDERS LIBERAL MPP'S NOT TO
TALK TO THE MEDIA.
SECONDLY -- WE HAVE MONTHS OF
DELAYS.
MONTHS OF DELAY SOMETIMES TO
POINT WHERE THIS IS NO ANSWER
AT ALL IN DEALING WITH THE MOST
STRAIGHT FORWARD FREEDOM OF
INFORMATION REQUESTS AND IN
LAST COUPLE OF DAYS A MEMO FROM
THE CHILDREN'S MINISTER
INSTRUCTING MPP'S NOT TO
ANSWER QUESTIONS.
PEOPLE SEAR THAT WHAT YOU MEANT
BY SAYING YOU BELIEVED IN AN
OPEN GOVERNMENT AND YOU WOULD
OPERATE AN OPEN GOVERNMENT?

Dalton McGuinty is in his mid-forties, clean-shaven and with short straight brown hair. He wears a blue suit, white shirt and striped burgundy tie.

He says MANY I'M HERE FOR WETTER
HURRICANE, BETTER CHILDREN.
CHECK THE RECORD IN TERMS WHAT
HAVE WE'VE KWON.
WE BROUGHT, I THINK WE'VE DONE
MORE TO INCREASE TRANSPARENCY
AND ACCOUNTABILITY THAN ANY
OTHER GOVERNMENT.
TAKE A LOOK AT OUR FISCAL
TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY
ACT.
TAKE A LOOK AT ACT TO BROADEN
THE POWERS OF THE PROVINCIAL
AUDITOR.
TAKE A LOOK AT OUR -- ALL KINDS
OF OTHER THINGS.

Steve says OKAY.
CRITICS ARE ACCUSING THE LIBERALS
OF GOING INTO HIDING.
THEY SAY AS THE HEAT HAS RISEN
ON DALTON McGUINTY'S PARTY, A
CURTAIN OF SECRECY HAS COME
DOWN ON INFORMATION THAT SHOULD
BE READILY ABLE TO THE PUBLIC.
JANETTE, DO YOU FIRST, WE KNOW
GOVERNMENT'S LIKE TO KEEP
SECRETS.
MY QUESTION IS IS THAT
GOVERNMENT ANY MORE SECRETIVE
THAN ANY OTHER?

Janet says I THINK THE KEY QUESTION IS
THEY PROMISED THEY WERE GOING
TO BE DIFFERENT SO IT'S NOT A
QUESTION OF ARE THEY THE SAME
AS ANYBODY ELSE.
ONE OF THE MINISTERS WAS SAYING
THE RULES WERE LIKE THE LAST
GOVERNMENT.
THAT WAS ONE OF THE THINGS THEY
WERE GOING TO CHANGE WHEN THEY
WERE ELECTED.
ON THE ISSUE OF THE AUTISM
THING I WILL DEFEND THE
GOVERNMENT ON THIS ONE BECAUSE
THAT WAS A LEGAL SITUATION.
YOU HAD PARENTS OUT THERE THAT
WERE IN FRONT OF COURTS
POTENTIALLY SUING AND IT'S
IMPORTANT FOR THE
GOVERNMENT TO MAKE SURE THAT NO
ONE IS SAYING THINGS AND ATTEND
UP IN COURT.

Steve says THE MINISTER
SUGGESTED TO MMP'S THE BEST
THING THEY COULD DO WAS TO TURN
PARENTS TO OUR SENIOR POLICY
ADVISORS ISSUE

Janet says YOU CAN ARGUE
WHETHER IT WAS CLUMSILY DONE
BUT THERE WAS A GOOD INTENT

Steve says HAVING SAID, THAT
THE PEACE SECRETARY WILL WARN
LIBERAL STAFFERS NOT TO TALK TO
THE MEDIA BECAUSE THEY WERE
ONLY INTERESTED IN TELLING BAD
NEWS STORIES ABOUT US, IS THAT
A WISE THING TO PUT IN AN
E-MAIL?

Sean says PEOPLE WHO HAVE NOT BEEN IN
GOVERNMENT EVER OR FOR SOMETIME
AFTER A SHORT PERIOD IN OFFICE
THERE IS A DISCIPLINE IN POWER
DISCIPLINE WITH POWER.
ONE OF THE REALITIES THAT WE'VE
FACE AND REMEMBER HAVING BEEN
IN OPPOSITION FOR A NUMBER OF
YEARS THEN BEING PART OF THIS
THING CALLED GOVERNMENT, AND
REALISING IF YOU WERE GOING
INTO THE WEEKLY CABINET
MEETINGS THEY WERE GOING TO BE
PEOPLE LIKE STEVE PAIKIN AND A
BUNCH OF PEOPLE STANDING THERE
AND YOU HAD BETTER HAVE READ
THE MORNING PAPERS.
YOU’D BETTER UNDERSTAND
WHAT THE GOVERNMENT LINE ON
DEVELOPING STORIES WAS, BECAUSE
YOU COULD EASILY GET CAUGHT
WHERE ECKER WENT IN ONE DOOR
AND CONWAY SAID ANOTHER DOOR
AND SAID SOMETHING ELSE AND ALL
AFTER SUDDEN AT NOON...

Janet says THE PEACE SECRETARY IS
TELLING...

Sean says THIS STORY.

Janet says THAT IS A LITTLE DIFFERENT.

Sean says I THINK, I WOULD SAY...
(ALL TALKING AT ONCE.)
OH, TRUST ME, CAN I
PRODUCE ALL KIND OF EVIDENCE.
I REMEMBER IN MY NEARLY 30
YEARS GOING FROM A SITUATION
WHERE YOU COULD ROUTINELY AS A
MEMBER OF THE LEGISLATURE PHONE
GOVERNMENT DIDN'T AND TALK TO
MOST EVERY PERSON.
TO A POINT WHERE YOU PHONED
SOMEBODY IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE
AND THEY SAID, SORRY WE CAN'T
TALK TO YOU.
YOU MUST GO TO THE MPP LIAISON.
THAT WAS A RELATIVELY LATE
DEVELOPMENT IN MY CAREER.
I THINK PART OF IT HERE IS
GOVERNMENTS TRYING TO.
KEEP ON MESSAGE BUT I THINK
PRESS SECRETARIES SHOULD BE
CAREFUL THAT MANY THEY DON'T
OVER MANAGE ANY SITUATION

Steve says HERE IS MURRAY
CAMPBELL IN THE GLOBE AND MAIL.
THE MEMOS AND ALLEGATION POINT
IT A GOVERNMENT THAT IS SHOWING
THE DEFENCE L DEFENSIVENESS
THAT AFFLICTS ALL GOVERNMENTS
WHEN THE STORIES GET TOUGHER
AND PREVIOUS ADMISSIONS CAN'T
BE BLAMED."
DO YOU AGREE WITH THAT.

David says I DON'T KNOW YOU WHY ARE
ASKING ME THAT.
I REMEMBER AS I THINK OF THIS,
MID TERM, NOT DOING QUITE AS
WELL AS YOU WERE DOING IN THE
POLLS.
BY THE TIME WE GET TO MID TERMS
IF WE HAD BEEN WHERE THE
LIBERALS WERE...

Janet says THEY WERE 44 percent.

Dave says THEY FEEL THEY ARE UNDER
SIEGE.
IT'S MID TERM.
COMMUNICATION HAS
BEEN ONE OF THEIR PROBLEMS.
BEGIN TO BLAME THE PRESS AND
TRY TO GET THINGS UNDER
CONTROL.
THIS IS SOME OF THE EVIDENCE OF
THAT.

Janet says I THINK ONE OF THE THINGS
YOU ARE SEE SOMETHING WHEN
SOMEBODY HAS BEEN IN OPPOSITION
FOR A LONG TIME IT'S QUITE A
CULTURE SHIFT TO REALISE THE
BUCK STOPS ON YOUR DESK.
THEY'VE HAD THE EASY OUT FOR
LAST YEAR.
IT WAS THE GUYS' FAULT.
ALL OF A SUDDEN THEY'VE RUN OUT
OF EXCUSES, THE PROMISES THEY
MADE ARE PILING UP.
SO GOVERNMENTS AND THEIR PEOPLE
GET A LITTLE TESTY ABOUT THIS TIME
OF THE MANDATE.
VERY MUCH SO.

Steve says PART OF WHAT THE
CONSERVATIVES WANTED TO SEE AND
PART OF WHAT THEY PUT IN
THE CATEGORY OF UNDER THE
SHROUD OF SECRECY WAS A
MINISTER'S BRIEFING BOOK.
NATURALLY THEY DIDN'T WANT TO
GIVE THOSE UP AND SAID DALTON
McGUINTY SAID WE'LL GIVE YOU
OUR BOOKS WHEN YOU TELL US WHAT
YOU ARE GOING TO ASK FOR.
IS THAT SECRET TOE...

Janet says PERSONALLY I DON'T THINK A
MINISTER'S BRIEFING BOOK SHOULD
BE SHARED.
I DON'T.

Sean says I MAKE THIS POINT.
THERE ARE DAYS IN GOVERNMENT OR
IN POLITICS WHEN YOU ARE JUST
SORRY YOU EVER GOT INVOLVED.

Janet says IT'S A CURRENT PREMIER IS
FEELING THAT WAY.

Sean says THERE WILL BE DAYS WHETHER
YOUR NAME WAS DON OR BOB RAY OR
DALTON McGUINTY YOU ARE GOING
TO HAVE DAYS AND SOMETIMES YOU
ARE GOING TO HAVE WEEKS WHEN
YOU THINK NOTHING GOES RIGHT.
IN BC, THEY ARE HEADING INTO A
GENERAL ELECTION.
YOU KNOW, CAMPBELL IS LOOKING A
LOT BETTER NOW THAN HE DID FOR
MOST OF HIS MANDATE.
WHETHER HE WINS RE-ELECTION IS
AN OPEN QUESTION BUT THERE IS A
CYCLE.
WHAT YOU HOPE...

Janet says ALL AFTER SUDDEN WE'RE
TALKING ABOUT BC, NOT DALTON
McGUINTY.

Sean says I'M SAYING THERE IS -- THERE
IS A CYCLE TO THESE THINGS IN
MY EXPERIENCE, IN 1987 WE HAD
A FAVOURABLE CYCLE AS WE HEADED
INTO THE FIRST RE-ELECTION
CAMPAIGN AND IN 1990 IT'S NO
SECRET, OUR, THE WHEEL OF
FORTUNE TURNED POORLY FOR US.

Dave says IT'S A FINE LINE BETWEEN
DISCIPLINE AND I THINK THAT ANY
GOVERNMENT IN THEIR
COMMUNICATIONS SHOULD TRY
DISCIPLINE AND I GOT TO GIVE THE
HARRIS GOVERNMENT CREDIT.
THEY WERE GOOD AT DISCIPLINE ON
MESSAGE.
THE OTHER SIDE OF IT OF GOING
TOO HOARD ON CONTROLLING
INFORMATION.

Steve says TO BE CONTINUED.
DAVE KEENE, JANET ECKER, SEAN
CONNER, THAT IS 4th READING
FOR THIS WEEK.
I'M STEVE PAIKIN.
UNTIL NEXT SUNDAY.
THANK YOU.

Music plays and the end credits roll, as Steve and the rest continue the conversation.

Queen's Park Bureau Chief, Susanna Kelley.

Producer, Erica Balch.

Editor, Elizabeth Payne

Director, Michael Smith.

A production of TVOntario. Copyright 2005, The Ontario Educational Communications Authority.

Watch: Toxic Schools?