Thompson vows to place rural lens on education



By Barb McKay


Lisa Thompson has pledged to make rural issues a priority in her new role as Minister of Education.


The Huron-Bruce MPP was assigned the cabinet position on June 29 and told The Independent last week that she immediately got to work on the province’s education file. She will also sit on Ontario’s Treasury Board.


“I was certainly honoured and humbled and I am putting my best foot forward,” she said of her appointment.


Thompson said a cabinet meeting was held the same day that Ford announced the new ministers, followed by a briefing with staff. She said she is focused on improving efficiency and is establishing 30-, 60- and 90-day timelines for priorities so they can be accomplished in a proper sequence.


Thompson said she remains committed to seeing through on the PC’s campaign promises around education through. Those include placing a moratorium on school closures, reviewing the current math curriculum to determine how it can be improved and reviewing EQAO. Thompson will also revert the sex education curriculum back to the previous curriculum and initiate what she said will be a fulsome consultation process to establish a curriculum that is best suited for today’s environment.


Though her new post will keep her busy, Thompson said her priorities remain with her local riding and rural issues.


“First and foremost I represent the residents of Huron-Bruce,” she said. “The voters placed their trust in me and I work for them.”


She stressed that she will be placing a rural lens on every policy.


A number of rural MPPs have been well-positioned in the new cabinet, including Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson who is Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, and Oxford MPP Ernie Hardeman who is Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Thompson said that says a lot about the type of government Premier Doug Ford wants to lead.


“Based on the make-up of Doug Ford’s cabinet and the people he has chosen to sit around the table with him, he is committed to rural Ontario,” she said. “Collectively, rural Ontario should be very confident in Doug Ford’s government.”