- Published on Thursday, 09 September 2010 07:14
- Written by John Draper
- Hits: 3651
Humanist Canada is supporting a Protest Rally on September 13th against Ontario's dual education system in which both Public Schools and Catholic religious schools are funded with Public School tax dollars. The intention is to try and bring public attention to bear on what is an unfair and discriminatory practice on the part of the Province of Ontario. The rally will take place on the first day of an Ontario Government Education Summit taking place at the Royal York Hotel, September 13th and 14th.
The rally is being held in cooperation with CFI, Secular Ontario, Civil Rights in Public Education and others. The key question is: Why should Public Tax Dollars, which should go to funding public education in Ontario, be split so as to fund two different education systems in Ontario, one Public, the other Catholic Separate? A partial answer to this question is that it's in Canada's Constitution. Yet, that fact did not stop Manitoba, Quebec and Newfoundland from opting out. Three Canadian provinces have said no to separate schools. Ontario can too!
The issue has general public support in Ontario but Dalton McGuinty and the Liberal Government seems to want to avoid the issue - probably because of fear of alienating the Catholic vote who mostly vote Liberal. It was not too long ago that his rival, John Tory, got beaten in a vote because he wanted to allow funding to schools of other faiths. The political lesson? Don't touch the subject!
In a recent letter to Humanists in Canada, Humanist Canada treasurer Bill Broderick asks that as many as possible should participate in the rally. He offers the following list of reasons as to why Ontario should opt out.
- In Ontario, Roman Catholicism is the only religion that has access to funding from Public Education Taxes. This is discriminatory. No other religious schools can be funded from Public Education Taxes.
- Canada has twice been criticized by the United Nations Human Rights Commission for allowing this blatant discrimination which favours only the Roman Catholic Church.
- The present system is wasteful. We're funding Public and Separate School Boards when all we really need are Public School Boards. Our Public Schools are crying because of inadequate funding. There are not enough Education Tax Dollars to adequately fund all schools in Ontario under the present divisive system.
- Maintaining four different kinds of School Boards is expensive. We have English Public, French Public, English Catholic, French Catholic. It's estimated that by eliminating the Catholic Boards, we can save up to $500 million a year, maybe more. That's money that could go into our schools and into education instead of into maintaining duplicate boards.
- Funding religious schools is funding religious discrimination. Catholic school boards hire only Catholic teachers. Non-Catholic teachers are not accepted in the publicly- funded Catholic schools of Ontario. But Catholic teachers can be and are hired everywhere in the education system. That's rank discrimination on the basis of religion.
- Students in Ontario are segregated into Public and Religious schools. Religious schools pass along their religious biases and prejudices, homophobia and other forms of intolerance, to impressionable young minds!
- A common misperception is that Catholics fund Catholic schools and non-Catholics fund Public schools. This is not true. All Education and other taxes go into a single pool out of which all the schools, public and religious, are funded
- When John Tory proposed to extend funding to all faith-based schools in 2007, an Ipsos-Reid poll of Ontarians found that 62 percent of respondents opposed the idea that "Government extend full funding to these faith-based schools and others of a similar nature."
- Modern democracy rests upon the separation of church and state. It is unethical that any religion should have access to government and government funding. Canadian citizens embrace many religions and a growing number embrace none at all. Today, those claiming no religion number 25 percent.
- To read more about this event and also the HUMANIST PERSPECTIVES article "Canada's Dirty Little Secret" which outlines the problems of our current education system, please visit the following website: www.CanadasDirtyLittleSecret.com
See also this article in Humanist perspectives: Canada's dirty little secret.
The Cobourg Atheist strongly supports this initiative and has regularly featured articles on the subject.
Below are listed some of them.
Catholic Schools in Ontario
Faith based schools in U.K.
- Religious schools give children a prejudice - Video documentary by Richard Dawkins
- Faith Based Schools Divisive - UK Report
- Mixed-religion schools reduce sectarianism
A particpant in the rally has sent this letter to several newspapers for publication:
Many Quinte-area readers probably saw some of the television news coverage on Monday or read the Globe and Mail report on Tuesday about the protest rally in Toronto against the separate school system in Ontario held on Monday, September 13th. Two of us from Belleville and Bancroft participated in this rally which was held in conjunction with an Ontario government international education summit meeting being held in the Fairmont Royal York Hotel on Monday and Tuesday. Over 100 persons participated in the rally, some coming from as far away as Ottawa and Niagara.
The rally was organized by the One School System Network, a coalition of some fourteen different organizations both secular and religious, which are concerned about education quality and improving education in Ontario.
Why are we protesting the separate school system in Ontario?
We are protesting because the separate school system wastes hundreds of millions of education dollars at a time when many of our schools are underfunded, programs are being cut, schools are being closed, and because Canada has twice been censured by the United Nations Human Rights Commission for violating the equality rights of its own citizens by virtue of the publicly-sanctioned religious discrimination in the Ontario school system.
Canada today is a far-different country than when it was founded in 1867. At our country's founding, only two religions were recognized: Protestant and Catholic. Today Canada is a cosmopolitan multi-cultural country with many religions. Also, fully one-quarter of Canadians have no religious beliefs at all. It is patently unfair that one religion should receive public education funding while others cannot.
It is our hope that religious discrimination in education can be eliminated in Ontario. Three provinces have said no to funding religious education: Manitoba, Quebec and Newfoundland. Ontario can too.
Let's have a publicly-funded school system in Ontario that discriminates against no one on the basis of religion.