September 4, 2018
Today, I called on the Ontario government to reverse its recent cut to an important music education program that benefits at-risk kids in communities like Scarborough. In a letter to the Ontario Minister of Education and the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, I urged them to restore funding to Sistema Toronto. As stated on their website, Sistema “provides musical and intellectual opportunities to children in vulnerable communities, with the end goal of transformative social change. We build stronger communities by enabling at-risk children to overcome poverty, grow, and thrive as engaged citizens and future leaders.”
If you agree, please add your voice by writing to the Ministers (their contact info is below) and tell them that this cut will only harm kids in our community who need help to pursue their talents and a bright future.
Here is the text of the letter:
September 4, 2018
Hon. Lisa Thompson MPP
Minister of Education
Hon. Sylvia Jones MPP
Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport
As the Member of Parliament for Scarborough-Guildwood, I write to express my disappointment that the province of Ontario will be withdrawing $500,000 in funding from Sistema Toronto. Sistema Toronto is a critical music education program for at-risk children across the city, especially in communities like Scarborough. I echo the concern expressed by Mitzie Hunter, MPP for Scarborough-Guildwood, at this short-sighted action.
Sistema provides several very important services to young people in vulnerable communities.
Firstly, it provides invaluable access to music education for those who may be unable to afford such opportunities. The talent and passion for the arts these students possess benefits everyone. They deserve our support to pursue and practice their art, which is so often inadequately supported by the current education curriculum.
Secondly, arts education has proven to increase scholastic performance, enhance emotional and social skills, and dramatically increase the likelihood that children from low-income families will graduate and obtain a degree.
Third, programs like Sistema offer at-risk youth a better path than might otherwise be available to them, helping to address other social issues in our communities that cannot be solved by traditional community services alone.
While the grant represents a significant amount of Sistema’s funding, it is a small fraction of the resources of the Ontario government. This decision may be pennywise but is pound foolish and will harm not only children in Scarborough, but communities across the city.
I would urge you to reverse this decision and restore the necessary funding to Sistema so that they can continue to ensure our young people have the support they need to successfully pursue their talent and inspiration. Ultimately, this will be to the benefit of everyone in our city and province.
Hon. John McKay P.C., M.P.