Liberal leadership candidate with no legislative experience offers a progressive approach to serving the public.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 13th, 2019



It is a continuing process – no sooner have you elected one level of government than you have to consider who you want to lead you at another level.

The provincial Liberals who were almost wiped off the map in the provincial election of June 2018 are now in the process of determining who the next leader of that political party will be.

At this point there are five people running for that job.

Mitzie Hunter

Mitzie Hunter, former Wynne government Cabinet Minister re-elected in June of 2018.

Kate Graham, a candidate for a seat in the legislature during the 2018 election. She did not win the seat but wants to be selected by the party membership as their leader.

Alvin Tedjo, also a candidate in the June 2018 election – he was defeated.

Steven Del Luca

Steven Del Duca, a member of the Wynne government Cabinet. Del Luca was not re-elected in June 2018.

Mitzie Hunter, a member of the Wynne government cabinet is after the job. She was re-elected in the June 2018 election.

Michael Coteau was re-elected as a member of the legislature in June 2018. He was a Cabinet Minister in the Wynne government.

Steven Del Duca was a member of the Wynne government cabinet who was not re-elected in June of 2018

Alvin Tedjo is the focus of this story. He ran in Oakville North Burlington and was soundly defeated by the Conservative candidate – she got almost twice the number of votes as Tedjo.

That has not deterred him from wanting to lead the Liberal Party.

Tedjo BEST

Home for the Tedjo family is Burlington.

He is the father of three children who are all attending Catholic schools. Alvin and his wife are both practicing Catholics who believe that the two educational organizations should be merged.

His plan is to create one English language school board and one French language school board.

“For students, this change means the convenience of attending their closest school, less time on the bus and access to an optional religious curriculum. For teachers and early childhood educators, it means smaller class sizes, availability of more resources and the freedom to teach in any publicly funded school,” said Tedjo.

Charles Pascal, a former Ontario Deputy Minister of Education and professor at OISE*/University of Toronto has previously said, “When it comes to publicly funded education in Ontario, it’s time to let go of our “separate ways” so we can come together. Providing Catholic education with public money is an anachronism waiting to be brought to an end by a courageous Queen’s Park legislature.”

From a fiscal standpoint, Tedjo argues that his plan to merge the school boards will result in substantial savings to the province. This figure is an estimated $1.6B dollars per year that would be reinvested back into public education for ongoing improvement.

“Quebec, Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador have already done this. It’s time for Ontario to make a change and stop spending precious education dollars to maintain twice as many school boards as we actually need,” said Tedjo.

“Under the current system, the government is quite literally wasting billions of dollars to keep children apart. I firmly believe that a better solution is to have all of our kids – Catholic and non-Catholic – Learning Together,” said Tedjo.

Tedjo talking

The Tedjo family grew to three children in four years, which meant that they had two of them in childcare at a time for four consecutive years.

Tedjo wants to see massive changes to our child care system.
He tells the story of how when he and his wife Rebecca started having children they worried about things most first-time parents worry about: are we ready, will we be good parents, how are we going to survive?

“We also knew that we had to try and get a spot at a daycare as soon as possible, enough friends and family had told us that. Living in Toronto at the time we went on the city’s waitlist. We eventually gave up and found a different solution that made sense. We did eventually get a call back, only it was two years later while we were expecting our second child.

The Tedjo family grew to three children in four years, which meant that we had two of them in childcare at a time for four consecutive years. “Between our reduced income during parental leave, and the cost of childcare at $17,000 per child ($34,000 per year), those years were tough. We calculated that we were better off financially with Rebecca going back to work as a registered nurse full-time than we would be if she stayed home, but not by much.”

We only stopped paying for daycare last year when our youngest started full-day kindergarten, and we couldn’t help but feel like it was a bit late for the government to start supporting children, where childcare before that magic age of four cost us as much as sending an 18-year old off to college or university.

Tedjo claims that childcare has become so unaffordable that 80 per cent of Ontario families with children under four years old cannot afford the cost of licensed child care. He adds that there are only enough licensed spaces to accommodate 23 per cent of kids under the age of four. This is just not good enough. Many families are paying mortgage-level fees to access licensed childcare, and many more families can’t afford childcare at all.

The solution to this problem is right in front of us. High-quality universal licenced childcare can support better education outcomes for school aged children, improve social cohesion, take pressure off the family budget, and above all else, boost Ontario’s economy by giving families, and particularly women, the option of returning to the workplace sooner, leading to increased economic productivity as well as additional tax revenues for the government.

Tedjo in red jacket

Tedjo: The solution to the child care problem is right in front of us.

The plan will take time — it’s a big project with no quick fix. After the review, we will start to deliver universal childcare in phases. As we implement phase 1 and build out the capacity to support and provide preschool aged children with childcare, we will work with our partners on expanding universal childcare to toddlers (age 1 ½–2 ½ years old).

In the short term, this expansion will require investments. In the long run, increased employment for parents, particularly for mothers, will contribute to the growth of Ontario’s economy. The taxes associated with their spending power, improved educational outcomes for children, and decreased costs to social programs will provide a return that makes this plan an economic winner, as well as the right thing to do.

The consensus among experts and economists is that for every dollar invested in quality early childhood education, there is a $2.40 return to the economy.

A study by Deloitte estimates that by addressing the wage gap, Ontario government revenues from personal and sales tax could increase by $2.6 billion. The same study also estimates that government spending on social assistance, tax credits, and child benefits could decrease by $103 million, due to the projected increase in families’ income.

Electoral reform is a big issue for Tedjo as well but he wasn’t prepared to talk about that at this point.

Transit has to be changed radically if we are going to get people out of their cars. Policy position on this objective are to follow.

Tedjo plans to implement the Basic Income pilot program that was in place when the Liberal government was defeated.

Tedjo believes our social safety net; ensuring our elderly don’t live in poverty, and making sure our children have the basic necessities of life, is something Canadians are proud of. This is where the Universal Basic Income (UBI) comes in.

Fighting poverty isn’t a partisan issue, at least it shouldn’t be. And it’s not an idea owned by progressives either. There have been nearly 500 studies on basic income, including pilots in Ontario and around the world.

Ontario’s Universal Basic Income would add over $10 billion to Ontario’s economy, create up to 80,000 jobs, and save the Ontario government hundreds of millions of dollars in administration costs and red tape. UBI grows the economy and unlocks opportunity for those stuck in the poverty cycle.

Basic income

The early end of the pilot Basic Income Guarantee program in Ontario was ended months after the Ford government took office.

This basic income would replace programs more difficult and expensive to administer, like Ontario Works and ODSP, while retaining additional benefits and supports for people with disabilities. This brings dignity to our system, so people don’t need to justify the need for food, clothing, or shelter every two weeks.

The benefits of a universal basic income are well established. It provides a safety net for workers who lost their jobs that is less expensive to administer and easier to access than our current system.

And, like every other politician, Climate Change is right up there at the top for Tedjo.  He would bring an immediate end to all the time and money he thinks is being wasted on court battels and go along with what the federal government Climate Change policy. Tedjo did not say if he would create model for Ontario. “It is too early to make that decision” he said.

In the game of politics endorsements can mean something – but not always. Frequently a candidate can get an endorsement from someone who is either a member of the legislature or planning on running and would like to be considered for a Cabinet position.

Hugh Segal, an intellectual giant within the Progressive Conservative movement, has endorsed Alvin Tedjo.  Segal, the former senator and chief of staff to Progressive Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Premier Bill Davis, has fought for a universal basic income in Canada for over 40 years. THAT is an endorsement well worth having and speaks volumes about what Tedjo is setting out to do.

Tedjo wants change at just about every level. Not change for the sake of change but change to bring about a society that meets the needs of everyday people.

The Liberal government that was defeated in June of 2018 was not in touch with what people needed and not keeping in touch cost xxx

Tedjo in sweater

Tedjo: “People are feeling uncertain about their future. For many, the cost of living is going up, but their salary isn’t keeping pace. We also face a rapidly changing economy where artificial intelligence, automation entrepreneurship and clean technology will be increasingly important.

Tedjo believes that “People are feeling uncertain about their future. For many, the cost of living is going up, but their salary isn’t keeping pace. We also face a rapidly changing economy where artificial intelligence, automation entrepreneurship and clean technology will be increasingly important. Even so, the current government is making short-sighted decisions to cut the programs that will help us prepare for what’s coming.”

The Liberal Party will choose a new leader in March of 2020. Then they have to rebuild and put their vision out there and prepare for the 2022 provincial election. The Doug Ford government isn’t all that popular today but they have shown some capacity to change.

Three years in the world of politics is the equivalent to a century. Alvin Tedjo is the local lad who is after the brass ring – we shall watch his progress.

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4 comments to Liberal leadership candidate with no legislative experience offers a progressive approach to serving the public.

  • Hans Jacobs

    60 years ago, I attended North Essex High School in Belle River (before moving to Oakville halfway through grade 10). The school’s population included a majority of Catholic students and many spoke French as their first language. There was a Catholic elementary school nearby, as well as a public school, but NEHS was a public school.
    Once a week, a priest came into the school and taught classes in religion. Those of us who were not Catholic had a “spare” period.
    Students whose first language was French had an option to take classes called “Special French” (to study French only; i.e., their other classes in English) instead of the regular classes for those with no French language experience.
    If offering these simple extra options/accommodations created any problems, I was never aware of them. It was surely much more economical and better for social integration than creating and operating separate school systems.

  • Hans Jacobs

    It would make more sense to win an election before trying to win the leadership.

  • Steve

    LOL progressive conservatives. Two words antithetical to each other. Should be named progressive NDP party. Now that fits well.

  • Perryb

    The next Provincial candidates for Burlington will be filling a vacuum.

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