In Ontario, in education, it still pays to be Catholic.

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OL12 OL12's picture
In Ontario, in education, it still pays to be Catholic.

In Ontario, in education, it still pays to be Catholic.  This situation has the explicit and public support of the ONDP brass, although most of the party membership, I'd wager, do not share their views.

The following letter was submitted to the Niagara Falls Review in response to the article Mother loses fight for kids' school bus, printed September 17, 2009.

Printed September 25, 2009:

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Little sympathy for family with busing problems

I CANNOT BRING MYSELF to have much sympathy for Tammy Mott. As a member of Ontario's pre-eminent faith under law, she is guaranteed a choice of publicly funded schools wherever she chooses to live in this province and ultimately, that choice provided her with busing for her children. Non-Catholics are often not so lucky.

Like Ms. Mott, I live within walking distance of a school, albeit a public one, not Catholic. That school was so overcrowded during my childrens' kindergarten years the school board bused kindergarten-aged kids 90 minutes a day to a community far away for the 2 1 /2 hour school day.

I found that unacceptable and tried to enrol my children in the local Catholic school, where I was turned down cold on account of the non-Catholic "colour" of my faith.

I ended up paying a private school nearly $20,000 a year for two years to escape an overcrowding situation that my Catholic neighbours could escape for free by going to the Catholic school that had rejected my children.

After reaching grade school age, my children walked the 1.5 kilometres from their babysitter's house to their school for six years.

She lived just within the 1.6-km busing limit for grades 1 to 6 in the Ottawa public school board. Again, I could not have switched to the Catholic school, where my children would have been bused, even if I had wanted to.

In Ottawa, parents of public high school students living in the urban transit area must pay $626 per child per year for bus passes while the Catholic board furnishes those same passes to their high school students for free.

Ms. Mott should count her blessings. In Ontario, it still pays to be Catholic. One day, hopefully in my children's lifetimes, the rest of us will enjoy equal respect and consideration from a religiously neutral provincial government.

Leonard Baak, President,
Education Equality in Ontario
www.OneSchoolSystem.org

 

Lord Palmerston

Catholics are too high a percentage of the electorate for the NDP to take a principled stance on this issue.

OL12 OL12's picture

According to the 2001 Census, the last to include religious data (the next is 2011), Catholics are 34% of the Ontario population.  In Newfoundland and Quebec at the time of the elimination of public funding for Catholic schools, they were 37% and 83% respectively.

Many Catholics do not support our wasteful and discriminatory system:

 

  "Our continued status as part of the publicly funded education system is not only dependent on legislation (provincial and federal), but it is also dependent on the political commitment of the prevailing government of the day, and the political will is in no small way influenced by prevailing public opinion.
     Survey results of a Vector Poll for the Canadian Opinion Coalition, conducted in June, 2001, presented a very disturbing challenge to Catholic education from within. The results stated that 56% of Catholics who responded to the poll indicated that they believed a unified school system (Catholic and Public) would cost less to run and save money, while 52% of the Catholics polled said that a unified board would be more accountable and provide better education." - from an undated document entitled "Preserve The Legacy Of The Enduring Gift Of Catholic Education", posted on a separate school board web site.

Fidel

The thread title should read, "In Liberal-Tory Ontario, in education, it still pays to be Catholic" And especially if you're one of the 22% of registered voters propping-up old line party dictatorships here. Democracy is the right's most hated institution still.

Lord Palmerston

I realize that - but the argument you'll hear is that just because a majority of Ontarians support such a stance, doesn't mean they'll cast their vote on it, but Catholic school suppoters definitely will.  Some of these Catholics are NDPers and if they bolt they won't be able to come into power and do all these bold, amazing, progressive things.

Lord Palmerston

[url=http://www.rabble.ca/news/andrea-horwath-can-fresh-face-change-ondps-for...'t expect the party to change its position under Horwath[/url]

Quote:
"I co-chaired that [last] campaign and I watched that train wreck up close and personal and I don't believe we need to spend our time shooting guns at each other on the convention floor. I'm sure there will be some kind of resolution we'll debate but I believe that we need to look at education from the perspective of where are the common pieces and a common piece is the fact that we're still operating under the Harris funding formula; a common piece is that we know that there isn't enough ESL being provided in our schools, there's not enough special ed teachers for kids with special needs, our schools are physically crumbling as we speak, the closure of community schools instead of reopening them to the community so they can become hubs of recreation, of public health and all kinds of other services; the closing of rural schools, pulling out the last bastion of any kind of community activity from these rural communities. Those are the kinds of things that we have common ground on; those are the kind of things that we can build from on common purpose as opposed to the politics of division which I'm so sick and tired of. After Harris and now even McGuinty he's following in the same footsteps in terms of the politics of division that Harris had except maybe a little bit more subtly. I've gotta tell you I don't have time for the politics of division; I have time for the politics of building."

Fidel

Lord Palmerston wrote:

I realize that - but the argument you'll hear is that just because a majority of Ontarians support such a stance, doesn't mean they'll cast their vote on it,

It was the defining issue of the last two weeks of the last election campaign. The two third rail parties and their friends in the newz media made it so. And it resulted in one of the lowest voter turnouts in Ontario's history. The ONDP is attacking in the correct manner, we just need more resources and to get the message and vote out. I'd love to see the two third rail parties and those in so-called news media buried for their efforts. We can't let the bozos do it to us again.

Lord Palmerston

To quote Barney Frank, on what planet do you spend most of your time?

Fidel

Well I wasn't on that exoplanet where 22% of registered voters and jokers in the newz media were in the last week of the election campaign. Sorry.

janfromthebruce

Well, one solution to bussing favourism is for board's to be forced to form consordiums (for bussing for eg) and that those consordiums be arms length from their respective boards thus no political interference. All walking distances should be the same for all boards without privelege for some.

In fact there is movement now for consortium's at arm's length of boards so this nonsense can end. That said, there is movement for coternimous board's to build schools together to "serve all students." Eg. Brantford.

I agree with Leonard - it is stupid to bus kids all over the place when their is a "school close by." That said, one may see more of this as northern and rural boards close half filled schools and bus kids to the next community where there is a public school.

Many parents just want their kids to attend the local community school - whether public or separate - so they enrol them in the half-filled separate school - who can keep open because of getting a lot more money per student - wait out the public local school, and than reap the reward - filling up with the public school children that they need (no discrimination as they need those warm bodies) to keep their separate school humming.

Personally, the province should make board's automatically hold accomodation reviews when schools trigger under 80%. This would force all board's to act in "good faith."

IMPV

Fidel

And dont forget that reduced school busing would be green policy and good for the environment, too.

Lord Palmerston

Fidel wrote:
It was the defining issue of the last two weeks of the last election campaign.

No it was Tory's plan of funding "faith based schools" vs. the status quo position of "no funding for religious schools (unless they're Catholic)."  Although support for one system is a very popular position among Ontarians, none of the three major parties would take that stance.

janfromthebruce

they prefer the slow death approach. Which in the end leaves less $$$ for kids and their educational needs. But that's the way the cookie crumbles, so pushing in other ways makes sense - equitable funding for all kids - no special privelege based on school Boards' religous/non-religous dsscripter.

Advertising dollars by outsiderd not allowed for any school board - get rid the catholic church's bucks for pushing their schools, while public schools cannot do this as they don't get money from the prov. That would also level the playing field.

It's about leveling the playing field so we all "play fairly." I'm sure catholic boards would support that as fair.

Fidel

Lord Palmerston wrote:

Fidel wrote:
It was the defining issue of the last two weeks of the last election campaign.

No it was Tory's plan of funding "faith based schools" vs. the status quo position of "no funding for religious schools (unless they're Catholic)."  Although support for one system is a very popular position among Ontarians, none of the three major parties would take that stance.

So you're saying that four million plus voters stayed home not because they felt their votes would be wasted by an inefficient 19th century electoral system, but because none of the three parties have clear policy for school funding? Ontarians are more fickle than I could have imagined.

janfromthebruce

Fidel that was not what LP was saying - please don't suggest something that isn't what was said - it lowers your credability when you post elsewhere.

Fidel

LP is suggesting that tackling the third rail issue of school funding would be a popular policy among Ontarians. Okay, and he did not say that it would do anything positive for voter turnout. And LP did not suggest that of those 22% of registered voters who elected McGuinty to a false majority, that very many of them would switch to the NDP if the NDP writes a clear policy for one system fits all school funding. I'm not trying to be sarcastic just wanting to understand this issue of school funding and why I should care when so many other issues are smoking on the backburner.

Perhaps both you and LP are right, and this is exactly the kind of can of political worms the ONDP need to pry open in order to stir Ontario voters from their slumber. So let's go for it. I am now of the opinion that we need to shake it up by quite a lot in Ontario, and this could well be the ONDP's most potent weapon in the next election. I'm not crazy about it, but we really must check the electorate for vital signs.

janfromthebruce

thanks Fidel - I was concerned that you might respond negatively to me - thanks for coming back so thoughfully. I know there are lots of pressing issues, least of all the economy.

That said, the two biggest files are health care and education under prov. jurisdiction.

mahmud

Fidel wrote:

LP is suggesting that tackling the third rail issue of school funding would be a popular policy among Ontarians. Okay, and he did not say that it would do anything positive for voter turnout. And LP did not suggest that of those 22% of registered voters who elected McGuinty to a false majority, that very many of them would switch to the NDP if the NDP writes a clear policy for one system fits all school funding. I'm not trying to be sarcastic just wanting to understand this issue of school funding and why I should care when so many other issues are smoking on the backburner.

Perhaps both you and LP are right, and this is exactly the kind of can of political worms the ONDP need to pry open in order to stir Ontario voters from their slumber. So let's go for it. I am now of the opinion that we need to shake it up by quite a lot in Ontario, and this could well be the ONDP's most potent weapon in the next election. I'm not crazy about it, but we really must check the electorate for vital signs.

Holy Cow! Cause for celebration. Fidel acknowledged a flaw in ONDP stand (or lack thereof) and would agree on correcting it. Let us hope Fidel is sober.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Other than the fact that the constitution would need to be amended to reverse the rights of the catholic schools I can't think of ant reason to chance the status quo.  Apparently changing the constitution in Canada is a bit of a big deal.

Education

Legislation respecting Education

93. In and for each Province the Legislature may exclusively make Laws in relation to Education, subject and according to the following Provisions:—

(1) Nothing in any such Law shall prejudicially affect any Right or Privilege with respect to Denominational Schools which any Class of Persons have by Law in the Province at the Union:

(2) All the Powers, Privileges, and Duties at the Union by Law conferred and imposed in Upper Canada on the Separate Schools and School Trustees of the Queen's Roman Catholic Subjects shall be and the same are hereby extended to the Dissentient Schools of the Queen's Protestant and Roman Catholic Subjects in Quebec:

(3) Where in any Province a System of Separate or Dissentient Schools exists by Law at the Union or is thereafter established by the Legislature of the Province, an Appeal shall lie to the Governor General in Council from any Act or Decision of any Provincial Authority affecting any Right or Privilege of the Protestant or Roman Catholic Minority of the Queen's Subjects in relation to Education:

OL12 OL12's picture

kropotkin1951 wrote:
Other than the fact that the constitution would need to be amended to reverse the rights of the catholic schools I can't think of ant reason to chance the status quo.  Apparently changing the constitution in Canada is a bit of a big deal.

With respect to education Kropotkin1951, it is not difficult to change the Constitution at all.  Vested interests often try to suggest that it is to discourage even discussion of the possibility.  They point to earlier Constitutional conferences like Meech Lake and say "See, look -- it is darned near impossible!".  But they are not comparing apples to apples (and I think a lot of them know that).  Some Constitutional changes, like those affecting one province, are much easier to achieve and are governed by a different and much more streamlined amendment procedure.

Education is solely a provincial responsibility and the feds have established a precedent of not interfering with the will of the provinces.  Three provinces have so far eliminated denominational separate schools with Ottawa's blessing (Quebec, Newfoundland, and Manitoba).

The Constitutional change to pave the way for the elimination of publicly funded Catholic schools in Ontario can be accomplished through a simple bilateral agreement between Ottawa and Ontario (the route taken by both Newfoundland and Quebec in eliminating Catholic schools).  No other provinces need to be involved, unlike other sorts of Constitutional changes, which involve greater consensus.   To go the bilateral route, all the Ontario legislature need do is pass a motion asking Ottawa to amend the constitution to erase the "obligation" (I say "obligation" in quotes because as obligations go, this one is really quite illusory).

Ontario could also choose to eliminate the Catholic system unilaterally as it was done in Manitoba, whose constitutional "obligation" reads identically to Ontario's and proved to be not so obliging after all. 

We've covered the constitutional issue ad nauseam in other discussions on this forum.  See "Is there a principled, progressive case for continued support for funding separate schools?" and "Why the constitution is relevant to discussion of denominational schools".  The Constitution is not that relevant really; Peter, the author of the second post, just wants people to believe it is a big scary obstacle because he likes Catholic privilege and wants to protect it (no doubt he's Catholic and likes the view from the top -- damn the cost and the consequences).  They can't justify Catholic privilege any other way, so they just say "It would be too hard to change".  They are blowing smoke out their ass.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I didn't say it can't be done I just pointed out the obvious that it takes a constitutional amendment and they seem to be very hard to pass. I am very sorry that this has been discussed before but quite frankly that is because it is the relevant point otherwise it might have been changed ages ago.

In BC they went the other way and they fund every denominational school not just the catholics including the school on Bountiful.  I think it is a major mistake and has the potential for ghettoizing people but I can still imagine the political blow back if a party in BC tried to run on a platform of no more money to denominational schools. You would have every organized religious group in the province fighting against it.  I suspect that the catholics in Ontario would also put up a fight that most politicians would prefer to avoid.

 

http://www.bountifulschool.org/

abnormal

OL12 wrote:
I found that unacceptable and tried to enrol my children in the local Catholic school, where I was turned down cold on account of the non-Catholic "colour" of my faith.

Interesting since my nephew went to a Catholic school through his entire primary and high school careers (in Ontario).  This despite being non-Catholic (and the schools knew it).  But my brother and his wife were adamant that the public school system was broken and they couldn't afford private schools.

Quote:
I ended up paying a private school nearly $20,000 a year for two years ...

Where do you find a private school for multiple children for $20,000 a year - day school tuition is typically that much per student.

Fidel

I had classmates in Catholic school who were not Catholic. The all-public school down the road had no room for them, or at least that was what they were told. They were "Indian" and wards of the CA.

And in my hometown you could be bussed anywhere if there was no room at the school down the road, or even if you simply lived on the wrong side of a ward boundary. There was no bending the rules then for the sake of the environment let alone convenience. And there were two primary schools in our neighborhood. My older sister didnt attend either one and walked well over a mile most school days to a Catholic school where there was room for her. It was quite a mess.

OL12 OL12's picture

abnormal wrote:
Interesting since my nephew went to a Catholic school through his entire primary and high school careers (in Ontario).  This despite being non-Catholic (and the schools knew it).  But my brother and his wife were adamant that the public school system was broken and they couldn't afford private schools.

Schools operate most cost-effectively when enrolment nears design capacity -- that is, if a school was designed for 600, then it is most cost-effective to operate it with that many students.  When school boards have too many half-empty schools, the per pupil costs of education go up and the quality of education declines.  In Ontario, this has always led co-terminous Catholic and public school boards to "poach" students from each other (to use the term employed by Liberal MPP Dave Levac, a former Catholic school principal and chair of the Ministry of Education's Declining Enrolment Working Group).  They want to protect the quality of education in their boards and avoid uncomfortable decisions involving closing schools.  Damn the effect on their friendly neighbourhood co-terminous board -- they really don't care.

Catholic elementary schools typically only admit non-Catholics in declining enrolment areas, where a few warm-bodied non-Catholics can bring the enrolment level of a school up to a more cost-effective level and protect the quality of education for the other [Catholic] kids.  It is the other [Catholic] kids who matter.  The door is almost universally slammed in the faces of non-Catholic children in areas where school enrolment approximates design capacity.  The non-Catholic kids are "cash cows" in declining enrolment areas, welcome for the holy enrolment grants that come with them, but spurned where the extra money is not needed.  It is sickening really.

Catholic high schools are not supposed to discriminate in grade 9 and up ("open access" policy), so you will see more non-Catholics there, particularly when the only high school or the closest high school in a community is a Catholic one.

The absolute right of Catholic school boards to discriminate against non-Catholics in admissions up to grade 9 means that non-Catholics are very rare in Catholic elementary schools -- except where they need those "cash cows" for the holy enrolment grants that come with them.  "Cash cow" children are typically needed in rural, urban, and northern communities where the population of school aged children is and has been in decline.  Non-Catholics are pretty much non-existent in Catholic elementary schools in growth areas (and if you ask, you'll often find that at least one of the parents was baptized Catholic with a "right" to enrol their children -- the case in my non-Catholic Church).

The Hamilton Catholic District School Board is only 7% non-Catholic (2006 figures), vs. 66% of the Ontario population that is non-Catholic.  Most of that 7% is likely skewed towards the high school level, where "open access" is supposed to apply.  Few to no non-Catholics are likely to be found in their elementary schools.

Yes, you can find the odd non-Catholic kid in a Catholic school in Ontario, but they aren't wanted.  They are allowed in for the money that comes with them.  They are barred (at the elementary level) or discouraged from applying (at the high school level) where that money is not needed.

Oh, to be Catholic in Ontario is a blessed thing.  You bear the same tax burden as your neighbours according to your income, not your faith, but you and yours alone are guaranteed a choice of publicly funded schools.  You get a two for one deal.  All that Charter of Rights and Freedoms rubbish about equality is just that -- rubbish.

All animals [Ontarians] are equal, but some are more equal than others.  If you believe that, then the status quo in Ontario's school system probably doesn't bother you at all.  But if you believe that, well ... I don't want to say.  It's not a nice thought.  I hope you don't believe that and are willing to help look for a solution.

 

janfromthebruce

One needs to come to terms with 2009 and not remember the days of long ago to see what is happening in Education in Ontario. Declining enrolment is happening all over the place. Why do you think the Ministry is pushing schools as community hubs - we have half filled buildings.

And what community partner would make the most sense? Well, it would be a partner with interest in public education? Geez, now that would be too smart - sharing buildings for starters and why not programs?

OL12 OL12's picture

kropotkin1951 wrote:
I didn't say it can't be done I just pointed out the obvious that it takes a constitutional amendment and they seem to be very hard to pass.

As I said earlier, only certain types of amendments are hard to pass -- like those affecting multiple provinces.  Amendments concerning areas of sole provincial concern, like education, are easy to pass.

The amendment removing denominational school rights in Newfoundland was proclaimed into law by the Governor General barely four months after being requested by the Newfoundland legislature.  Politically, the Quebec amendment went even more smoothly, despite Catholics being 83% of their population (way more than Ontario, where 34% of the population is Catholic).

The idea that education amendments are hard to pass is a fiction, no, an outright lie, peddled by Catholic education vested interests.  I have to be charitable and assume that some of the people peddling this mistruth may be genuinely ignorant, but I believe many are deliberately making false comparisons between difficult and easy amendments, counting on public ignorance of the Constitution and our constitutional history (Newfoundland and Quebec have already removed denominational school rights).  Very deceptive -- and thus not very Christian.

kropotkin1951 wrote:
I suspect that the catholics in Ontario would also put up a fight that most politicians would prefer to avoid.

Look at the poll results quoted above, which were from a newsletter to Catholic parents in the Halton Catholic District School Board:

Halton Catholic District School Board wrote:
"Our continued status as part of the publicly funded education system is not only dependent on legislation (provincial and federal), but it is also dependent on the political commitment of the prevailing government of the day, and the political will is in no small way influenced by prevailing public opinion.
     Survey results of a Vector Poll for the Canadian Opinion Coalition, conducted in June, 2001, presented a very disturbing challenge to Catholic education from within. The results stated that 56% of Catholics who responded to the poll indicated that they believed a unified school system (Catholic and Public) would cost less to run and save money, while 52% of the Catholics polled said that a unified board would be more accountable and provide better education."

A non-Catholic (Peter Jones) who ran for Catholic school trustee in Brantford the last election on a one school system platform (eliminate Catholic boards) garnered almost 1 in 5 votes from Catholic ratepayers.  He was very open about his position.  Many Catholics are pro one school system, but won't speak out for fear of retribution against their kids.  Give them a secret ballot, however, and they will speak their mind.

I think if you had a public debate on the future of Catholic schools, that is, if a major party actually proposed it, you'd find few Catholics willing to wear the "religious bigot" label they would inevitably wear while trying to argue "More rights for us -- we are more equal than others".  The media was almost universally pro one school system in the 2007 election and will be again when the issue next comes up.  The status quo is indefensible.  Few people would want to publicly defend it -- that is a hopeless task.

The suggestion that there would be a general Catholic insurrection if the end of Catholic schools was proposed is therefore nonsense.  They are not a bunch of bigoted goons.  No such insurrection took place in the other provinces that eliminated Catholic schools -- and they had a greater proportion of Catholics in their populations.

Catholic education vested interests peddle crazy myths like "the Constitution is hard to change" and "there would be a Catholic insurrection" because they can't justify their preferential treatment or the wastefulness of dual overlapping systems.  They want to discourage and scare people.  They are grasping at straws -- lies actually, in desperation.

oldgoat

Quote:

Holy Cow! Cause for celebration. Fidel acknowledged a flaw in ONDP stand (or lack thereof) and would agree on correcting it. Let us hope Fidel is sober.

.

Mahmud that's just the sort of thing that's really unhelpful and contributes to getting these threads off the rails.  Thanks for restraining yourself in the future.

oldgoat

Quote:
"there would be a Catholic insurrection"

.

Ya gotta wonder just what that would look like.

 

As I have posted in related threads, I really think a single quality publically funded public school system is an idea whose time has come. I believe a party with the will to do so, and the skills to really put put out the message in a clear and convincing way (at the moment that's nobody) would be pleasantly surprised at the polls.

Sunday Hat

There is a party that ran on that. The Greens. They won 0 seats.

mahmud

oldgoat wrote:
Quote:

Holy Cow! Cause for celebration. Fidel acknowledged a flaw in ONDP stand (or lack thereof) and would agree on correcting it. Let us hope Fidel is sober.


.

Mahmud that's just the sort of thing that's really unhelpful and contributes to getting these threads off the rails.  Thanks for restraining yourself in the future.

Ok oldgoat. I retract, apologize and come to the core subject.

The spineless ONDP position is an example of sacrificing the principles of equality and fairness for political expediency. 

Lord Palmerston

Sunday Hat wrote:

There is a party that ran on that. The Greens. They won 0 seats.

Good point.  People should just give up now.

Sunday Hat

Maybe. At the very least they should stop claiming it's a political winner when there is no evidence that it is.

Fidel

mahmud wrote:
The spineless ONDP position is an example of sacrificing the principles of equality and fairness for political expediency.

All parties are forced to play by the unwritten rules of political expediency. It's a product of our obsolete electoral system. And Howard Hampton was the only leader of the three main parties to publicly endorse MMP during the last election campaign. If you prefer the millions of wasted votes and paternalistic governments taking Ontario voters for granted, and their non-transparency when governning by what amounts to dictatorial rule, then you should make good and sure not to vote NDP. It's your guarantee that politicians will be forced to continue playing to a fickle and politically conservative phony majority of voters electing governments in this province.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Sunday Hat wrote:

There is a party that ran on that. The Greens. They won 0 seats.

They increased their popular vote from 3% to 8%. The fact that they didn't win any seats is an artifact of our phony voting system.

Sunday Hat

Truly. In a fair voting system this incredibly resonant issue would have taken them from fourth place to fourth place.

janfromthebruce

Quite right Spector. The Greens were coming from a place of weakness and for the most part very poorly resourced local campaigns and volunteers, and yet they got 8% of the vote. In fact they came very close to unseating a popular con MPP in Owen Sound. The local green candidate gardnered the support of normally lib supporters, NDP supporters, and also some cons (who didn't want to fund all religion schools).

I also know that the green candidate was supported by people who work in the education field because it is those people who know that propping up 4 school systems is not in the best interests of kids and their educational needs in Ontario.

OL12 OL12's picture

 

Lord Palmerston wrote:

Sunday Hat wrote:

There is a party that ran on that. The Greens. They won 0 seats.

Good point.  People should just give up now.

 

And the Greens had their best showing ever in 2007, going from 2.82% popular vote to 8.02%.  In terms of gains, they had the best showing of all parties.  That's what happens when you get onside with an idea like one school system that is supported by the majority of the population.   You draw new support from across the political spectrum.

Poll after poll in the 2007 election showed that most Ontarians want one school system more than the status quo or the extended funding proposal of the Tories, but support for new parties grows slowly.  It takes time to shake a fringe label, but now that the Greens are outpolling the ONDP in many areas, perceptions are changing.  They will attract better and better candidates and their policies will become more coherent and credible.

And what of the sorry ONDP?  They had perhaps their most dismal showing ever in the 2007 election.  One thing the ONDP has going for them is a better policy apparatus, but they could have had a much stronger platform with the addition of one policy -- one school system.

Failure to embrace a one school system policy was a huge opportunity lost for the ONDP in 2007.  Will they blow it again in 2011?  I predict that as soon as one of the big three parties adopt a one school system policy, the other parties will follow.  They could not afford to head into an election being portrayed as defenders of waste and unjustifiable privilege for a favoured few.  It is so easy to argue the merits of one school system, while it is impossible to convincingly argue the merits of the status quo.  It is immoral, unjust, and fiscally and environmentally irresponsible.

The Greens' one school system proposal was largely if not mostly responsible for their outstanding success in 2007.  To suggest that it contributed to a failure on their part is ridiculous.  They made tremendous gains.

Canada will likely be censured by the UN Human Rights Committe again next year for the discrimination in the Ontario school system (on the occassion of their sixth periodic report on how they give effect to the rights in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights).  What parties in Ontario will be standing on the side of the righteous when that happens?  Will the ONDP be among them?  Or will they blow a golden opportunity again?

Lord Palmerston

Unfortunately, the current ONDP leader is quite hostile to discussing this issue.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Sunday Hat wrote:

Truly. In a fair voting system this incredibly resonant issue would have taken them from fourth place to fourth place.

And of course, in the [url=http://www.rabble.ca/babble/canadian-politics/ndp-afraid-t-word-taxation... Hat theory of political campaigning[/url], the worst sin of all is to lose.

To avoid this, a party must forget about promising to do what's right, and instead do what it thinks is popular.

OL12 OL12's picture

Lord Palmerston wrote:
Unfortunately, the current ONDP leader is quite hostile to discussing this issue.

You're not intimidated by grumpy people like Horvath, are you LP?  Please say it ain't so.  I thought, from previous discussion threads, that you were on our side.  Been whipped into line by the ONDP brass?

Horvath is indeed hostile to even discussion of this issue, but so what?  Does she own the Ontario New Democratic Party?  Or has it become the Ontario New Autocratic Party on her watch?  Her position on the one school system issue is incredibly bigoted, hypocritical, and weak -- and especially outrageous coming from one of the privileged elite (she is a Catholic).  Yet my comments on her drivel can wait for detailed dissection in another post.

Lord Palmerston

OL12 wrote:
You're not intimidated by grumpy people like Horvath, are you LP?  Please say it ain't so.  I thought, from previous discussion threads, that you were on our side.  Been whipped into line by the ONDP brass?

Not at all.  I'm no NDP partisan cheerleader.  I hope people continue the fight for one school system inside and outside the NDP. 

And I've been pretty disappointed with Horwath's leadership so far.

OL12 OL12's picture

Lord Palmerston wrote:
Unfortunately, the current ONDP leader is quite hostile to discussing this issue.

That's quite something isn't it?  The leader of a "democratic" party can be hostile to even discussing an issue? How can that be? Is that right? The suppression of free and open dialogue is not a characteristic of "democratic" parties.

That idea escaped me on first reading your post and just struck me now. Are ONDP members OK with that? Maybe they are used to it by now -- Hampton and the party brass have quashed free and open dialogue on the one school system issue for years.

Sunday Hat

The ONDP had a whole leadership campaign devoted to debate of this issue. The candidate who championed the issue came fourth - out of four. So, if we want to fly the democracy flag I'd say we had the debate and the people have spoken. Pretty decisively.

But, as M. Spector notes, I have a predilection for effective organizing that actually makes gains for people. A lot of people prefer masturbation. Stroke on!

mahmud

Fidel wrote:

mahmud wrote:
The spineless ONDP position is an example of sacrificing the principles of equality and fairness for political expediency.

All parties are forced to play by the unwritten rules of political expediency. It's a product of our obsolete electoral system. And Howard Hampton was the only leader of the three main parties to publicly endorse MMP during the last election campaign. If you prefer the millions of wasted votes and paternalistic governments taking Ontario voters for granted, and their non-transparency when governning by what amounts to dictatorial rule, then you should make good and sure not to vote NDP. It's your guarantee that politicians will be forced to continue playing to a fickle and politically conservative phony majority of voters electing governments in this province.

ًWell the ONDP well knows that unlike on the Catholic funding issue, the MMP game is stacked. Cons and Libs enjoy it too much to change it. If political expediency is part of the political game, are lack of vision and plain stupidity too?

Machjo

OL12 wrote:

I found that unacceptable and tried to enrol my children in the local Catholic school, where I was turned down cold on account of the non-Catholic "colour" of my faith.

Let me get this straight. The school is publicly funded but is not accessible to the public? Hmmm....Undecided

Doesn't it make sense that any school that accepts public money must needs be universally accessible?

Machjo

Fidel wrote:

 Democracy is the right's most hated institution still.

On the contrary. The majority group, be it ethnic or religious, loves democracy (not to be confused with justice) because it legitimizes a 50% + 1 majority dictatorship and suppresion of the minority. let's not forget that democracy is only a means to an end and is neither good nor bad in its own right. It's but a tool which put in the wrong hands could be used as a weapon.

Machjo

By the way, if the issue is too hot for the ONDP to support officially, then would it not be possible for the ONDP to at least adopt no policy on it and leave it up to each individual MP to decide for himself whether to support this religious apartheid? At least it would prevent the ONDP from adopting an explicitely discriminatory stance.

Fidel

mahmud wrote:

Fidel wrote:

mahmud wrote:
The spineless ONDP position is an example of sacrificing the principles of equality and fairness for political expediency.

All parties are forced to play by the unwritten rules of political expediency. It's a product of our obsolete electoral system. And Howard Hampton was the only leader of the three main parties to publicly endorse MMP during the last election campaign. If you prefer the millions of wasted votes and paternalistic governments taking Ontario voters for granted, and their non-transparency when governning by what amounts to dictatorial rule, then you should make good and sure not to vote NDP. It's your guarantee that politicians will be forced to continue playing to a fickle and politically conservative phony majority of voters electing governments in this province.

ًWell the ONDP well knows that unlike on the Catholic funding issue, the MMP game is stacked. Cons and Libs enjoy it too much to change it. If political expediency is part of the political game, are lack of vision and plain stupidity too?

It wasnt the NDP who created this school system. And it's not an NDP in government in Toronto today and grossly under-funding elementary schools at lower per student amount than secondary schools by comparison.

If you enjoy games of political expediency and about a fifth of eligible voters choosing your government, and you enjoy underfunded elementary schools in Ontario, then make damn good and sure not to vote NDP. I guarantee you'll get more of the same.

OL12 OL12's picture

Sunday Hat wrote:
The ONDP had a whole leadership campaign devoted to debate of this issue.

Really?  The whole campaign was devoted to the one school system issue?  I don't think so, but it certainly was something people wanted to discuss.  It was probably one of the few issues that made the media pay any attention at all -- probably because they saw it as the ONDP considering an issue where they could make a difference and and issue that could make a difference for the ONDP.

Supporters of one school system had to fight to even get to debate whether to get to debate the issue at the January 2007 policy conference.  They failed to get a full debate on the issue.  In their annual report shortly after, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association wrote:

OECTA wrote:
The New Democrats held their convention in January. Prior to the convention, the Association became aware of a resolution promoted by a small group within the party calling for one public school system in Ontario, in effect spelling the end for publicly-funded Catholic schools. In-depth preparation and lobbying in a number of forums allowed OECTA to deal successfully with the issue at the convention, although it will continue to require attention.

Sunday Hat wrote:
The candidate who championed the issue came fourth - out of four. So, if we want to fly the democracy flag I'd say we had the debate and the people have spoken. Pretty decisively.

And the largest donors for the other three?  The Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association.  What a surprise.  See this post giving details of that.  All Michael Prue wanted to do is let the debate happen -- to let the party be democratic. The Catholic teachers worked hard to make sure he didn't get the chance. The desperately want to prevent the issue from seeing the light of day or getting to a debate.

What were they afraid of?  They don't want a big three party to give expression to the majority desire of the electorate for one school system or the jig is up for them.  They are terrified of that possibility because it spells the end of a system where they have always enjoyed a greater number of job opportunities.

We haven't touched on this yet in this discussion, but it is worth noting at this point that one third of the publicly funded teaching jobs in Ontario are effectively closed to two thirds of the population -- the non-Catholics.  One must be a practicing Catholic with a letter from a Catholic priest to be hired by a Catholic school board.  Non-Catholic teachers are as rare as hens teeth in Ontario Catholic schools.  Those that you can find are in temporary positions and are ineligible for advancement or promotion.  The ones I've met and spoke to are all dying to find a position in a public board and get out of there.  They want a secure and stable career.  Can anyone blame them?

Catholics pay the same taxes as anyone else, but have 50% more job opportunities than their non-Catholic neighbours.  Sweet.  Another bonus deal for Catholics.  And the ONDP is party to OECTA's efforts to keep that sweet deal for Catholics -- to their shame.

OL12 OL12's picture

Machjo wrote:
Let me get this straight. The school is publicly funded but is not accessible to the public? Hmmm....Undecided

Welcome to aparthied brother -- Ontario style!

If you are a white (Catholic) kid, you get to go to the white (Catholic) school and teach there when you grow up.  If you are black (non-Catholic), we have a different school for you.  Of course, if the black (public) school in a given area has better facilities, programs, or test scores, white (Catholic) kids can still go there if they want.  White (Catholic) kids can also teach at the black (public) schools when they grow up.  The reverse, black (non-Catholic) kids getting into white (Catholic) schools, is only possible if the white (Catholic) school is underenrolled and desperate for a few more holy enrolment grants.  Blacks (non-Catholics) teaching at white (Catholic) schools is out of the question unless they are desperate and unable to find a white (Catholic) teacher.  When black (non-Catholic) teachers are hired, it is bye-bye blackie as soon as a qualified white (Catholic) teacher can be found.

That's the way it has been in Ontario since 1841.  Let me hear you say "Amen", white (Catholic) parents and teachers.

This all has the support of the ONDP and Ontario's other big three parties.  Only the Greens can see the wrong in it.

Sunday Hat

OL12 wrote:
Catholics pay the same taxes as anyone else, but have 50% more job opportunities than their non-Catholic neighbours.  Sweet.  Another bonus deal for Catholics.  And the ONDP is party to OECTA's efforts to keep that sweet deal for Catholics -- to their shame.
It's a papist conspiracy! We won't be governed by Rome! Quickly! To the Orange Lodge!

 

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