Right up until the writ dropped this past Sunday, Stephen Harper was doling out money to entice Canada’s electorate, including $150-million for improving public infrastructure such as arenas, parks and community centres through the Canada 150 Infrastructure Program. Now in campaign mode, he made his first big-ticket promise this week – a home renovation tax credit that would cost an estimated $1.5-billion/year by providing a 15% tax credit to homeowners for any renovations worth between $1,000 and $5,000.
We, the voters, must ensure that our elected politicians at every level of government prioritize spending to align with our values. In a nutshell, we must ask for what we want.
As a Canadian, you very likely value quality public eduction – and its associated societal and economic benefits. Certainly, if politicians asked, you would tell them that you want to see public schools in a state of good repair for the 5-million Canadian children who spend 6-hours/day in these buildings.
Unfortunately, the sad reality is that public schools across this country are crumbling. While there are examples of state-of-the-art public schools, an unacceptable number of public schools across the country need massive repairs. In Ontario schools alone, there are $15-billion of outstanding repairs and in Vancouver, public schools need approximately $1-billion of seismic upgrades to ensure they are safe in case of earthquakes, and there are hundreds of millions of dollars in outstanding maintenance in public schools across British Columbia
So, as this federal election unfolds and you have an opportunity to speak with candidates, let them know you consider public schools to be a critical element of our societal infrastructure – certainly on par with arenas, community centres and parks but also on par with transit, roads and healthcare. Let federal candidates know that you want money to be spent on repairing and rebuilding Canada’s public schools. We know that traditionally in Canada, the Federal government hasn’t provided any funding for building or repairing public schools. However, since it seems there is money in the Federal coffers these days, if you value public schools – now is the right time to ask. If you don’t ask – you don’t get!