Hlusko hosts Burlington MPP Education Debate: FORMAT

Burlington Riding MPP Candidates Education Debate Tue May 27th at Nelson HS. Doors open at 6:30pm, Debate starts at 7pm, Microphones off at 9pm. Thanks to moderator, Ken Boichuk, and Nelson principal, Karen Hartman.

In alphabetical order, the candidates participating are:


Jane McKenna, PC  Eleanor McMahon, Lib     Jan Mowbray, NDP


  • Opening Statements
  • Debate Questions shared in advance with the candidates
  • Questions from the Public
  • Closing Statements



  • Candidates will speak in the order determined by a draw at the beginning of the evening.
  • Opening Statements will be limited to 5 minutes. Answers are likewise limited to 5minutes, but brevity will be appreciated. We ask that candidates do not interrupt each other.
  • The timer will announce when there are 15 seconds left and when time is up.
  • There will be two microphones on the floor for questions from the public. The moderator will rotate taking questions from one microphone to the other.
  • The public is asked to avoid making statements. The moderator will stop public members on the 1minute mark if they have not asked their question. The public is limited to one question and then must join the back of the line to ask a second question.
  • The audience is encouraged to clap after each Opening Statement. Thereafter, the audience is asked to refrain from clapping until the end of the evening
  • My goal for the evening is for each candidate to feel safe and welcomed. I hope we learn more about how each candidate would represent the Burlington Riding’s education needs as the MPP


  1. Opening Statement (maximum 5 minutes): Please outline your party’s education platform and how it will impact student success and well-being in Halton.
  2. Question: What are your party’s priorities for Labour Relations? Will you propose changes to collective agreements? 2012/13 was a very unpleasant year for public school board students. We were fortunate in the HDSB that very few schools withheld extra-curriculars to the extent that other school boards did. However, the threat of sanctions resulted in many grade 8 students choosing the catholic system for high school for September 2013. What will you do to ensure successful outcomes for all students as the new bargaining process proceeds in 2014?
  3. Question: Will your party change the school closure (PARC) policy? The HDSB’s Long-Term Accommodation Plan (LTAP) warns that 6 Burlington high schools may undergo a Program & Accommodation Review study (PAR) due to the projected 2735 empty pupil places. Communities all over Ontario have closed schools due to declining enrolment. When a school board sells a closed school, the only way currently a community can keep the green space is for the municipality to purchase the land at fair market value. This puts more strain on the local taxpayer. How will your party protect green spaces?
  4. Question: How would your party fund growth versus renewal in Halton? On May 7th, 2014 the Ministry of Education seized $4.3 million of HDSB proceeds of disposition that the HDSB was voting on that evening to use to improve aged facilities and make them more equitable spaces for students. Instead, the provincial government directed the HDSB to put these proceeds of disposition toward the build of new student pupil places even though on March 6th MPP Kevin Flynn had already announced $17.3M for the builds. Moving forward, how will your party fund Halton’s growth? Will your party expect that the building of new pupil places based on student growth should come from the sale of older schools with enrolments below 65%?
  5. Question: What is your party’s position on class size? Please answer specific to FDK, gr1-3, gr4-8, and high school.

Other Questions I expect that you may be asked:

What is your party’s position on standardized testing? The Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) 2011/12 annual report indicates expenses of approximately $30 million. How can you justify this annual expense? Have you considered the financial benefit of switching to a random sample model?

What is your party’s position on the value of extra-curricular activities for students? Should they remain voluntary for teachers?

How will your party encourage apprenticeships?

Will your party continue to fund the FDK model of 26:1 with a full-time teacher and a full-time early childhood educator?

Will your party release a Physical & Health Education curriculum that reflects the needs of today’s students?

What will your party do to make sure that ministries and community agencies will work together in an integrated way to help children and youth and their families get timely access to community based services?

With constantly evolving technology, how will your party support the needed infrastructure, hardware and curriculum focus to ensure that our students develop the skill sets to be successful in a highly connected, global work place?

How would your party increase student achievement and improve the learning environment for First Nation, Métis and Inuit students?

What steps will your party take to ensure all school boards are treated equally and fairly with provincial funding?

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