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On funding school boards

John Tory and his Progressive Conservatives in Ontario are promising to fund all faith-based school boards if elected:

The leader of the Opposition wants to extend public funding to institutions of other faiths, such as Islamic, Hindu, Jewish and Christian… There are some 53,000 students attending religious schools outside the public system and they deserve the same support children who attend Catholic schools currently get, Tory said. All religions should be treated fairly and schools should reflect Ontario’s diversity in the 21st century, he added. The promise to extend public funding to religious schools who agree to be part of the public system was included in the Conservative election platform.

Some will see this as a shameless attempt to pander to the ethnic and faith-based vote. Perhaps it is, but I must remind my readers that twice in the last 8 years, the UN has cited Ontario for being discriminatory in its funding practices (or non-funding practices) of these school boards outside of the public and Catholic school board system (h/t Michelle)

Essentially, the choice is either to fund all of these, or fund none of them. I have already stated that there would be a big can of worms opened if someone tried to re-open the Constitution to remove the right of Catholic school boards to receive funding. Quite frankly, my choice is to fund all of on this point, I agree with John Tory’s idea. I also reject we’re going to cause religious or ethnic segregation by doing so. On the contrary, I believe it will help cultural diversity, and I believe the funding would help make these schools accountable to the province for what they are teaching their students; teaching tolerance and respect of multiculturalism should be one guideline set for these schools to receive or to continue to receive funding.


57 comments to On funding school boards

  • The Green Party is the only party to support one school system (which isn't really one system since we would still have arts-based, sports based, gay-lesbian High School, Native school, etc) and is not expected to win the next election!

    Catherine, in response to your point that "only taxpayers with children" should contribute to education defeats the whole point of an education system. What faith-based schools are about is religious and cultural communities. Why should the Muslim, Hindu and Jewish communities pay education taxes if their schools are not subsidized like the Catholic schools. All communities' resources are stretched to support other programming, seniors centers, etc and are forced to support schools that should be funded through that community's tax base.

  • catherine

    I thought the Green Party was taking the position of a single public school system. 

    It is true that we pay in taxes for many things we don't use.  Most people don't advocate moving to a system where only taxpayers with children in public schools cover the cost of such schools. 

  • It is my understanding that any religion registered with the government (the federal government has an actual registry of recognized Canadian religions) would be eligible to apply to have their school be part of the public school system so long as all regulations and guidelines are met.
    Our present Premier's family has benefited from the Catholic school system for many generations. It is insulting that he would not support other faiths wanting the same type of education for their children!

  • Alexander

    Catherine, no parties are talking about discontinuing funding Catholic schools, so among the available options PC decision is most honest. At least, all faiths will be treated the same way. If society doesn't mind funding a school for homosexual kids, it should have less problem to fund people with faith.

    This is not really a government mission to replace parents to decide what type of education their kids they are going to get. Public funds include educational taxes paid by parents, so it is not fair to rob them from their use as they see appropriate.

    Yes, public schools don't teach atheism as a subject, but they do impose a set of moral values not compatible with family values for many parents. I am not saying one is right and another is wrong, but tastes do differ.

    Besides, there are enough problems with public education to make it the only one available to public – competition is always good for the business.

  • catherine

    Interesting discussion.  I wonder if atheist schools would qualify — that is schools for parents who want their children to actively learn that there is no supreme being overseeing our actions and that religions are wrong.  Public schools don't teach that.  Otherwise the Conservative platform would seem to favour those who  believe in any supreme being(s) over those who don't.   The Conservatives have lots of issues to sort out.  I hear they are worrying about schools like Upper Canada which has an Anglican past but doesn't actively teach one religion anymore — would this qualify or not?  The only position that makes sense to me is to discontinue funding of any religious schools and have a single public school system.  Whether one wants to give some financial aid to parents who opt out of the public school system is then a separate question, and depends on what other demands there are for public funds, but presumably this would be at a lower level than the full support given to the public system, where one's belief (or lack of belief) in the supernatural doesn't matter.

  • Mike:

    I might remind you that Catholic School Funding is protected under the Constitution. If the can of worms is bad trying to reopen that for Senate Reform, I think it will be double that if you try to open it to revoke Catholic school funding.

    Since we have been cited for discrimination by the UN for refusing to fund those school boards not Catholic or public, and since the revoking of Catholic school board funding is untenable, then we must remove the discrimination the other way – by full funding. It's the fair equitable thing to do.

  • Alexander

    Hi Mike,

    Public school is not an option for us for two reasons:

    1. I want my kids to learn our holidays, like Passover, etc. Some of them are week long, and Jewish schools make breaks during that time. For public school, it would be difficult to cautch up. No Saturday activities, no non-kosher food on premises, modest code of dress is impossible to implement in all-inclusive. I would not call it ghetto – you don't call a corporation a ghetto just because they have their own policies.

    2. Attending two schools daily, one for secular subjects and one for ethnic/religion is not practical: buses, timing, etc.

    I am with the same boat with you about taxes. Working crazy overtime + never could afford a real vacation – in order to pay for the school.

    BTW, current faith-based and private schools operate in a much more efficient way that public schools: tuition in many of them is about the same as cost of education in a public school, but the number of subjects and the quaility of learning is much higher. Non-public schools don't have such bureucracy, no strikes. Competition drives the world.

    Liberals say things must remain as they are, and you are unhappy with current public education anyway. Do you think double-charging 7% of Ontario families will provide enough money for the rest 93% of student population?

    I support your point of not paying educational taxes by those whose kids do not go to public school, or by choice. That would be fair, I agree. May be that would be a way John Tory will implement the reform. At least he tries to do something which would be more fair to us.

    With all the uncertainity of his promises, I have no choice as to support PC.

  • "To clarify my position: I do NOT ask you to pay for teaching religion, I will pay for it myself. I am asking government to pay ONLY for math, gym and other secular subjects when they taught in Jewish school, because I paid my taxes, as you did."Then you are talking about our pre-existing public schools, where you are allowed adhere to any personal diet and dress code already.

    "and plan to study Jewish subject: Hebrew, Jewish Bible, Jewish Literature and Philosophy"

    Ah, but how is this not teaching religion?

    As for 2, then your school is quite enlightened. I could not send my kids to the Catholic school that was literally a block from my house because we weren't Catholic and even getting our kids on a waiting list, Catholic children get put to the top and my kids get bumped. It is very difficult for non-Catholics to get jobs in the Catholic board. And despite people being able to direct which board their taxes go to, it is not self-sustaining – a great deal of taxes from non-Catholics goes to the Catholic system.

    Our public schools teach the basic facts of math and science and are totally inclusive of all religions.  If you want to ghettoize yourself and your children and separate from others and include subjects based on your religious views and myths, go a head, but pay for it yourself.

    My taxes are high enough. My children are getting poorer educations, I am paying more and more for basic supplies because our current public system is underfunded. Any you wish to spend more of my tax money on schools that teach religions I do not subscribe to? THAT is not fair.

    We should stop paying for Catholic schools as well and put our education tax dollars into making a good, inclusive public system. If you feel that the public system for teaching math and science and literature  plus your own home and church\temple teaching of religion is not good enough, you can choose to send you children to a 'Jewish School' or a Catholic School or an Evangelical School or a Muslim Madrassa. But you pay for it yourself, over and above.

    That is fair. I would support you not having to pay school taxes at all if your children do not use public school, but no one is proposing that.  So, I support funding no school based on religion.

    So if you already pay for the math and science to be taught at public school and you are willing to pay for the religious learning yourself anyway, why can't your kids go to public school during the day and attend the religious classes you pay for after school and on the weekend? Public schools will already make allowances for dress and diet.

    Isn't that fair?

  • Alexander

    Hi Mike, here are the answers:

    1. I guess you could, provided you adhere to the diet and dress code: non non-kosher food, modest closing, etc and plan to study Jewish subject: Hebrew, Jewish Bible, Jewish Literature and Philosophy, etc. Some non-Jews attend Jewish schools.

    2. As a fact, Jewish schools often use non-Jewish teachers for secular subjects. Including a guy from India, Muslim guy, a number of Catholics, etc.

    To clarify my position: I do NOT ask you to pay for teaching religion, I will pay for it myself.

    I am asking government to pay ONLY for math, gym and other secular subjects when they taught in Jewish school, because I paid my taxes, as you did.

    Do you think that would not be fair?

  • Alexander,

    Can I as a non-Jew go to your school? Could a Muslim family? Would you hire non-Jewish teachers?

    If you want that stuff in your school, pay for it. I would love for you not to pay school taxes if you did, but sadly you can't. If you want to have religious based schools beyond math, science and languages, pay for it yourself. Not with my tax dollars.

    You are asking me to fund the teaching of religious doctrine, one that I probably do not agree with. You  in turn are funding math and science, and no religious doctrine.  If religion is so important, teach it at home, or at synagogue or temple.

  • MB

    Where John Tory made the mistake was promising funding for religious schools.  What he should have done was promise choice for families.  Tory's funding proposal won't help parents who send their children to Montessori schools.  It won't help parents who want to send their children to Mandarin immersion schools; athletic, arts, and science schools.  Unless these schools can offer 20 minutes of daily vigorous yogic spritual activity, they won't qualify for funding because they are not offering religious instruction.

    Would the religious schools be allowed to charge a tuition on top of the funding that they would receive from the taxpayers?  Could they avoid offering special education because the costs are higher?  Would they be required to accept any student within their geographical area?

  • Alexander

    Mike, I agree that religious subjects have to be paid by parents.

    Now, religious parents pay educational taxes, like everybody else. That's enough to teach their kids math, gym etc.

    My question to you and to others, like slg:
    Why do you care, if my kids learn math in a public school, or in a Jewish school, as long as it cost the same to the goverment?

    Why does it bother you that my kids learn Hebrew as part of extra curriculum? (I am happily paying for it).

  • I'm with slg and the others on this.

    We should not even have funding for Catholic schools, let alone all religious schools. If you want a school that teaches religious components, tenets or from a religious perspective, pay for it yourself.

    Otherwise your kids go the the perfectly fine public schools where various religions can be discussed and studied in social studies.

  • Alexander

    Slg, please do not pretend to be a genius. Nobody can learn native for him/foreign for the country language + literature + religion in one day of week. Your native language was English, public school covered Shakespear, so it was easier for you. Works for you, doesn't work for me. Understand?

    So, my kids need more time, and I am ready to pay for everything religion-related. That's fine with me.
    You did not answer my posted question. If you are honest person, please do:

    Why do you care, if my kids learn math in a public school, or in a Jewish school, as long as it cost the same to the goverment?

  • Gila

    Let's go back in time to when Conservative Bill Davis was the Premier of Ontario in the 1980's. It was his government that started the process of funding the Catholic school board with public funds. This continued when Peterson, Rae, Harris, Eves, and McGuinty. So for John Tory to come out and say he will change the system is just another example of a political leader saying what people want to hear. His plan calls for a commission to be set-up and headed by Bill Davis. The commission will report back in 2010 as to their findings. So if Tory gets elected this October it will take 3 years before something is done. But wait in 2011 we will be heading to the polls again, without any solution. How much will this commission cost the taxpayers?

    Parents send their kids to faith based schools for a reason, they of course pay for this, but also receive tax credits for sending their kids to private schools. It would be a bold move for a leader to stop funding the Catholic school board, and just fund the public system, and on the other hand one could just fund every faith based school across the province. Are you willing to pay more in taxes to fund faith based schools. If John Tory get his way it will cost billions to fund all types of schools and not just the $ 500 million he projecting. Where does it stop! Maybe we should have faith based universities funded by the government.

  • slg

     I do fund education (public) through my taxes.  I do not feel I am responsible for someone's religious beliefs, way of life.  They make that choice.

    Gee, going to school and Sunday school has worked very well for hundreds of years – now it's not working?

    Sunday school doesn't work when the courses are many? Dumbest statement of the day.

  • Jay

    So I see James Curran still thinks only of self entitlement. His only fall back is the British North American Act. So. Thats from a period far removed from what we have today. The BNA is not an excuse to fund everyone's personal beliefs. There will be no end. Everyone with a different religious take will want a board. Scientologists and the works.

    These schools will teach hate. Its in their scripture and a religious school teaches scripture.

    James tell me all about the program the Catholic school board currently has with regard to teaching teens about condoms, birth control, etc. Also tell me about any programs the catholic church has for helping homosexuals deal with being gay in a straight community.  They teach abstinence and completely ignore the homosexuality issue except for some advise on how to live how Jesus supposedly want you to.

    I can tell you that the Muslim community has documents on their Toronto website on how to "fix" being gay That will be in their schools should they be given a public board. Its as much a part od their dogma as it is evangelical and catholic.

    James I deal with schools, both public and catholic, and my husband is a teacher. You have a very superficial and uninformed picture of what is taught in schools as opposed to what should be taught by law.

    Once these boards get to this point you will see the push to include Creationism/Intelligent Design. As long as they teach the tiny bit of evolution that they are expected to,  they can spend as much time as they want on these lies.

  • Alexander

    Slg, you confirmed that my statement is in fact true by recognizing that you did have to supplement your public school with Sunday Church school.

    For many people religion is a way of life: diet, holidays, language, history, etc. One public school obviously cannot offer all these courses on all faiths to all students. "Sunday" school simply doesn't work when the subjects are many.

    I would be glad to pay for these special courses out of my pocket. The question is, why do I need to pay second time for subjects common to all schools, like math, gym, buses, etc?

    I understand why Liberals and Teacher Union are against it. What difference does it make for you, if my kids learn math in a public school, or in a Jewish school, as long as it cost the same to the goverment?

  • Slg: I respect anyone who calls for no funding or funding for all (the status quo should not be an option!). You obviously support funding for none, right? Which party supports your view?

  • slg

    Alexander – public schools are for atheists?  LOL.  I come from a Christian family that goes back to the early pioneers of Canada – I know my heritage very well actually.  I went to "Sunday" school, etc.  Your statement is silly.  Hmmm….the public schools I went to never taught atheism – they taught math, history, sciences, English, etc. 

    Reason for going to school- reading, writing and arithmetic.  Reason for going to Sunday school, synagogue/temple, etc.  – to learn your religion.

    If schools are "segregated" then perhaps the churches/synagogoes/temples, etc. should start paying taxes.


  • Re: "wacky" religious schools; it is my understanding that any religion that is a registered religion with our federal government will be eligible for school funding.
    It is obvious to me that there is NO public support for the status quo – people support funding for all or funding for none. How then, is it possible for the NDP and Liberals to support continued funding for Catholics only?!? They should not be allowed to sit on the fence on this issue – we must demand that they choose all or nothing!
    Steve Fishman: Please explain why you support the Liberals when they fund your Catholic neighbours, with books, busing and arts programs included, while you seem content to pay twice: tuition and education taxes?

  • Alexander

    Scott, as I am having kids in Jewish schools and have to pay for the bus, math lessons, etc which is double dip to my taxes. I consider the current situation very unfair. This is #1 issue for me, and just because of that I am voting for PC, no matter what other 99% issues are. School fees kill my budget.

    Slg, public schools are already designed for atheists, or for people that don't want their kids to know some specific heritage. I want more for my kids. I am paying taxes as well, so I already pre-paid school for my kids. This is not decent for Liberals + Teacher Union worried about their own business to rob me from what I am entitled to. Though they can, if they get the majority. 

    The issue here is not about religion, this is about parent choice vs government choice for the schools for my kids.

  • Bruce Gilboord

    John Tory’s announcement for ending official religious discrimination in education funding in Ontario   Both my father who was a Canadian W.W. II hero and our national Fathers of Confederation would be profoundly embarrassed by the confusing rhetoric coming from the provincial Liberals on the offer to include faith based schools in the public system.   They advocate a certain animosity to religious minorities or perhaps even a secular supremacy with the exception of Roman Catholicism. This is the faux-liberal vision of multi-cultural Ontario.   Ontarians of minority faiths pay taxes for education but are banned from receiving the benefit of education for their children unlike our Roman Catholic neighbours. In fact under the current scheme Public and R.C. schools are actually subsidised by an extra ½ billion in taxes paid but education service that are denied to faith based minorities.   Our current taxation and education system as ruled by a United Nations special human rights committee found Ontario to be in violation of a fundamental treaty in its practise of official religious discrimination.   John Tory has pledged to fix it. He has the votes of all fair minded and intelligent citizens. This is the way to go, John! 

  • My question to you Disparishun, is whether its smart to vote for a party because you agree with them on a single issue, when 99% else of what they offer might be terrible for the province (in your political viewpoint).

  • Disparishun

    [quote comment="6109"]How do you figure they are apples and organges?  In one instance the government believed that people were too racially segregated in their  schools as a consequence of residential choices, and moved to increase diversity; in the other the government is pursuing a policy that will mean that catholics go to one school, protestants to another, muslims to another, jews to another, etc. and then the half or so of us left go to another. [/quote]

    They are apples and oranges because school bussing was about ensuring that certain cultures — class privilege — did not get perpetuated, whereas funding faith-based schools is exactly about providing education that allows cultures and faiths to grow and live on, rather than forcing assimilation.  We believe in not perpetuating class privilege.  We believe in perpetuating Hinduism.  See how they're different?

    It allows amazes me how hypocritical white Canadians are.  They announce to every passerby at how they embrace multiculturalism.   Then they shout down anyone who would dare propose a system in which that multiculturalism can flourish.  Apparently multiculturalism is about learning how to add interesting foods to menus; if you want to retain your culture, you can go back to where you came from.

    Well, no thanks.  As the above poster states, anyone who thinks that the automatic result is ghettoization, lack of integration, etc. is talking out of stereotypes, not actual knowledge.  Guess what: when you go to university, when you play local hockey, when you enter the job market — whatever, you are integrating with just about everyone.  The difference is that you know something of a particular culture and you can share it with them, rather than being embarrassed about looking different and having some vague sense of some weird culture you'd prefer nobody knew about.

    This is an excellent proposal.  It is the first time I have seen an Ontario party take multiculturalism seriously.  I've never voted for the Conservatives at either level of government, but am considering it now.

  • Chris

    I am an atheist conservative.  I believe that religion divides rather than unites.  I support a well-funded public school system with no reference to religion.  This is a big issue for me.  I am also a big fan of John Tory.   However, I think he is wrong on this.  I find this type of politics very disappointing and oh so very Liberal.  Now I don't know who to support although I do know it won't be our promise-breaking, tax-raising premier.


  • Hi scott,

    I also posted about this, I support John Tory in this idea. Even though I do not agree with faith based schooling and would rather everyone go to public school, if we are funding one system we should fund all.

  • Simply amazing. I attended a Catholic school my entire life. Jay's claims of teaching hatred is ridiculous and proposterous. I have never once heard one of my teacher's in the Separate Schoold system say a word about dispising homosexuals. That is just bullshit. Frankly if my children ever state anything to that effect from their current school I'll pull them out myself. The next call would be to the Board of Trustees and you could bet your ass I'd be there with bells on to express my disbelief….along with a few hundred other Catholic parents. As for SLG's point, we all pay property taxes which include school boards. All land owners. With or without kids. In this Province you are able to select what board you choose to support. The assertion of having to pay for Catholic education is proposterous. It's an option. And, you must choose in order to vote in municipal elections for school board trustees. In addition, you must choose if you are a French/English school supporter. As for the relative not being hired by the Catholic Board?  I know many a teacher that decided to suddenly get baptized to get a job on the board. It works both ways. One of the criteria for our children to attend their school is to supply a baptismal certificate or copy thereof. I don't know where it's all going to end, but I know where it began…the BNA Act. An Act to guarantee Catholic education. I'll hazard a guess that if Canada was as diverse back then as it is now with respect to religion, all religious groups may have been treated equally.

  • I agree with KC that funding wacky schools could get to be a problem. Where is that line? Who draws it? I can see perhaps some funding but the majority of funding for schools should be for secular schools for all religions.  If it's going to be done there has to be a good accreditation process and funding levels should be based on it.

  • Neale Gifford

    I am a firm believer in a strong, well-funded public education system for all faiths and groups. Mixing and mingling help foster an appreciation for diversity and understanding of what makes different people tick. There is a danger of fragmenting the system and creating an elitism. "We have God on our side." The debate on creation is os only one of many divisive issues. Can you imagine a Ministry of Education curriculum which suggests evolution be taught? The evangelic Christians would most certainly object. Also, another issue is the rights of the homosexual community. With several religious groups believing that this is sin? There are other issues I’m sure. We have enough trouble funding our existing system without fragmenting the money further. Several school boards are operating under financial strain. Even now those who choose a faith-based system not only pay a tuition for their own schools but also pay property taxes toward a public system. What of childless couples, or seniors who no longer have children in the system?Roman Catholic schools were funded up to grade 10, the rest they paid for separately. That changed in 1985.Just how does a government allocate funds around faith-based systems when they cannot provide adequate funding for the existing system? Divide up all the money according to population rankings? What about teacher qualifications? Would they be consistent right across the entire education system? Resources? Teaching materials? How about non-Catholics in the separate system today? The ideal is a practicing Roman Catholic. While non-Catholics may teach they cannot be promoted to positions of authority like department heads of principals.These are but a few of the questions that require debate and discussion before such a change is implemented. So politically appealing, but the nuts and bolts?It’s worthy of discussion and debate.

  • Parents that send their kids to faith based schools, and pay for them do so by their own choice. I understand that all parents want what's best for their kids, and want to pass on their religious beliefs. However for the government to fund this is not right. These schools are private because they don't want to be run by the province. What's next, full funding for post-secondary education by the Conservatives?

    John Tory is just trying to cater to the voters and I predict that if he get's elected he won't keep this promise as with everything in his platform he still has not given us the full cost of his programs. Vote Liberal!!!

  • jay

    I see it as shameless pandering otherwise why not offer a referendum on it and separate it from election. Seems to me the choice is John Tory and religious schools and thats it. What about people not interested in the notion of religious schools but want to vote PC? He's tying his wagon to to the more fundamental religious folk.
    I don't want my money going to any school that teaches hatred towards homosexuals or any other group . I can think of 2 potential new boards and a current one that currently does.

  • KC

    I really can't for the life of me see how diversity is encouraged by putting kids into schools where they are only among their "own kind".   By that logic diversity could be encouraged by publicly funded white, black and mixed schools in the US.  Sounds ridiculous when it is put that way.  

    I never said all kids will go to segregated schools but if proportions equal to attendance rates in the Catholic population go then slightly less than half the population will go to segregated schools.   The consequences for inter-religious (I dont use the word "faith" for religion) harmony could be massive.  It could make the political consequences of abolishing Catholic schools now seem miniscule.

    I agree with SLG that the equality rights of religious folk isnt the only right at stake here.  I believe The whole idea of funding religious schools offends my freedom of religion.  I am forced to pay taxes to advance someone elses religion.  Thats not right either.

  • slg

    Fairness – give every kid a chance for an education – other than that, religion is not my responsibility.

    Speaking of fairness – my brother was a French teacher and the Catholic School Board wouldn't hire him because he wasn't Catholic – but, they expect to be hired by others.

    I refuse to believe that I am unfair because I don't feel I'm responsible for religious beliefs other than respecting them for their right to their own beliefs – but financially support it – no, no.  

  • KC

    Scott – I dont understand you or Michelle's line of reasoning.   How on earth does separating kids, essentially isolating them amongst people of their own religion encourage diversity?  It does precisely the opposite.  It just boggles my mind. 

    I never said everybody will go to a segregated school, I said a substantial number will.  If half of all Catholic kids go to Catholic schools now then I will assume that approximatly half of all kids will go to their own religious school under Tory's plan.

    As for the political cost of eliminating Catholic schools–I would submit that it will be nothing in comparison to the cost to our society of cleaning up the mess created by the religious segregation of our school system.
    Also I think there are more rights at stake here than just the equality rights of religious groups;  what about the freedom of religion of all the non-religious taxpayers who have to pay for this nonsense?  As if it isnt bad enough that we have to subsidize the Catholic religion now we will have to subsidize the rest too?  That sounds like a pretty significant infringements of my freedom of religion.   

  • (PS – Tory isnt getting my vote either, but on this issue, I think he's correct.)

  • So Slg, you would prefer we remain in discriminating against these folks as cited by the UN?

    I believe its an issue of fairness and equity. As someone who i know is a progressive, surely you can see that

  • slg

    My husband and I have no kids.  We are babyboomer age now and for all these years we have been paying for education in our property taxes.  I don't mind doing the good citizen thing and aiding the youth in getting an education, but to pay towards someone's religious beliefs angers me to no end.  They have clergy, family, churches/mosques/temples, etc. to teach their religious beliefs – this IS NOT my responsbility.

    Hey, what about atheists – why should they pay for this?  Perhaps an atheist school for kids to learn atheism is their parents are?

    This is also "segregation".

    Perhaps those who pay for education in their property taxes and have no kids should get a reduction in their taxes instead of it costing more to push religion.  I can't imagine how much this proposed policy would cost taxpayers.  John Tory is trying to get the ethnic vote.

    He's not getting mine – this being one of many reasons.  I AM NOT responsible to pay for someone's religious beliefs!  

  • KC: As Michelle says at her site, and which I also believe: Supporting faith-based education is support for guaranteeing that cultural diversity may be retained and integrated within Ontario and Canadian society. I also think the US and Canadian situations are historically different.. and I have no fear of egregation taking place up here.  I also think you're being overblown in your statement this means that everyone will go to their own religious based type school if they get funded. I dont believe that to be the case and I dont believe that will happen.

    If you want to try advocating rescinding a Constitutionally enshrined right for the Catholic school board, be my guest.. but you ensure that whoever tries that stunt will immediately get defeated at the next election, regardless of whether it can be constitutionally done or not.

  • KC

    How do you figure they are apples and organges?  In one instance the government believed that people were too racially segregated in their  schools as a consequence of residential choices, and moved to increase diversity; in the other the government is pursuing a policy that will mean that catholics go to one school, protestants to another, muslims to another, jews to another, etc. and then the half or so of us left go to another.   If the latter is not "segregation"–active segregation at that, not naturally occuring segregation as a consequence of peoples choices–I dont know what is.   

    Tory's proposal does not "increase diversity" it detracts from it.  It remedies an unfairness yes, but an unfairness that could be corrected by other means (ie rescinding funding for Catholic schools).   If you are so concerned about diversity the best way to accomplish that is one system where people of all races and religions attend, where tolerance of peoples differences is actively encouraged and where religious teaching is left in the home. 

  • I dont consider the funding makes it “segregation”, Kyle, is the simple answer. I said I believe it helps in cultural diversity. The other simple answer is I believe the SCOTUS decision and this debate to be apples and oranges.

    As for the number, why should I believe its suspect? If the Ministry of Education is itself estimating the 53 000 number (which I dont know yet as I havent examined their website) , why should they be mothballing that number low, particularly when the governing Liberals are opposed to Tory’s proposal? The number itself is rather irrelevant in my view. The point is.. do we fund them or dont we. Do we continue to discriminate or don’t we. My answer is we don’t.

  • KC

    Scott – You have to admit that the number is suspect.  Why are people of other religions so much less likely than Catholics to send their kids to publicly-funded schools of their choice?  It just doesnt make any sense to me.  Obviously the number wont be as high as with the Catholics because people are somewhat attached to the status quo.  My guess is they are using lowball tactics which is  smart, but deceptive.

    Im curious why you are so comfortable with the ghettoization that this move could cause yet you were up in arms at the SCOTUS's move a couple weeks ago.   If there are 4 million Catholics in Ontario and 650,000 students in public Catholic schools then my guess is that at least half of all Catholic parents send their kids to those schools.  Imagine if half of all religious Ontarian students went to a school that was entirely composed of people of their own religion!  The consequences of that could be huge regardless of what is taught about tolerance of others' belief. 

    We're talking about active government action causing massive segregation yet you were so critical of a SCOTUS decision affecting a small number of kids that marginally increased "diversity". 

    How do you explain the inconsistency?

  • KC. I'm not sure which of the 2 duplicate posts you wanted kept.. so I hoped you dont mind the one I did delete 🙂

    As for the 53 000 number, I dont think Tory is making that # up. That number seems to be used by other faith-based organizations who advocate funding as well.. so it must be a number that is accurate or estimated by the Ministry of Education, or something. It shouldn't be that hard to locate.

  • KC

    Scott – I hope they (wacky religion schools) do pop up so we can take the opposite tack and make all public schools secular.  I dont see any reason why the state needs to be in the business of publicly funding religious schools.   People have parents for that and if they feel so strongly they can pay to send them to private schools.    I dont demand separate hospitals of my religion, or separate streets, or anything else for that matter. 

    As for the 53,000 number, I call BS.   If there are 650,000 people attending publicly funded Catholic schools then Tory's projection is just ludicrous.  There are approximately 4 million catholics in Ontario, 4 million protestants and about a million and a half "others".   Unless you can think of a good reason why people of other religions are less likely to send their kids to a publicly funded religious school of their own than Catholics then I am going to assume that a heck of a lot more than 53,000 are going to make the switch.  Heck, given the size of Ontario I imagine their are at least 53,000 people JUST in private religious schools.   Is Tory assuming that no one else will opt in?  I doubt it.   Thousands of parents would probably prefer to send their kids to X religious school but dont have the money or arent willing to spend the money on a private school.  When a public option comes open….  I think Tory is fudging the numbers a bit here (which isnt surprising in an election campaign).

  • KC: The 53 000 number comes from John Tory’s statements, so I would presume he has his facts on the numbers straight if he’s coming out with that specific of a comment.

    As for the “fringe religions”, you’re being a bit facetious with your examples, but if they met the specific guidelines I suggested earlier for funding (ie. teaching of respect, multiculturalism etc. and whatever else was deemed a standard to be met) then I don’t particularly have a problem with it. If they can prove they’re being discriminated against by not being funded, then we should fund them all. (I don’t expect “wacky religions” to sprout up with school boards as a result of this decision anyhow, by the way).

  • KC

    Scott – I didnt say you think one religion is better than another.  Did you read what I said?  I asked you whether you would extend funding to fringe religions like scientology, etc.   My second question was contingent on your answer to the first.  If you werent willing to extend funding to fringe religions THEN I wanted to know how you figured some religions (mainstream religions)  are more deserving of funding than others (fringe religions).  You didnt answer my first question and until you do I have no information upon which to say that you favour one over the other.
    Mike – Where are you getting the 53,000 number from?  From what I know of the religious breakdown of society, and assuming that people from all religions are equally likely to send their kids to a publicly funded religious school if one is available than I say that number is nonesense.  

  • Kyle: I dont know where you got the idea that I believe that “one religion is better then others”.? That is the farthest thing from what I believe. Where you get the idea that I believe that from my view of advocating equal funding for all faith-based religious schools is beyond me. Quite frankly, if I rejected that, THAT would be an indicator I believe one religion is better then the other, wouldn’t you think?

  • Mike

    PC Leader John Tory deserves great respect for standing up for principle, in his pledge to extend fair funding to non-Catholic faith-based schools.  With only 53,000 children affected, compared with over 650,000 attending fully funded Catholic schools, his initiative is clearly a matter of fairness rather than votes.  It is disappointing that Premier McGuinty has stood up to oppose the provision of fairness for non-Catholic minorities, particularly in light of the fact that his father, the late Dalton McGuinty Senior, was such a passionate advocate for public funding for independent alternative schools, including all faith-based schools.  These schools already exist today, and bringing them into the public system will increase integration, and ensure appropriate regulation, while solving a longstanding gross unfairness.  The families in question pay full education taxes so money is not an issue.

  • KC

    Scott – My understanding was that amendments to the constitution affecting only one province could be done with the consent of that province and the feds.    I could be incorrect on that and dont have the time to research it but that was my understanding that Ontario could de-fund catholic schools with little constitutional rancour.

    I agree with you that it should be all or none, but I certainly prefer none.  Frankly Im lost as to how you thought that forcing kids to drive to schools hours away to encourage diversity of race is ok, but a state's decision to have a secular school system with one goal being the integration of religions is not ideal. 

    Im curious what is your position with respect to non-traditional (ie "wacky" religions?)  Do they get funding?  Should we have a Jedi school board?  Scientologists?  Hippy spiritualists?  Or are you one of those who thinks that the mass memberships of the major organized religion give them a credibility lacked by others?  And if so how do you justify imposing your view that one religion is better than others?  What is the line? 

  • […] On funding school boards By Scott Tribe Perhaps it is, but I must remind my readers that twice in the last 8 years, the UN has cited Ontario for being discriminatory in its funding practices (or non-funding practices) of these school boards outside of the public and Catholic … Scott’s DiaTribes – […]

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