Is there a principled, progressive case for continued support for funding separate schools?

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Lord Palmerston
Is there a principled, progressive case for continued support for funding separate schools?

Besides winning elections of course. 

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Nope.  Not principled nor progressive, anyway.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

This looks like a repeat of this thread: [url=The">http://rabble.ca/babble/central-canada/socialist-case-funding-catholic-s... socialist case for funding Catholic schools[/url]

Fidel

I've got a question: How many terms in phony-majority power would it take for team Pinocchio and his slackers with opinion pollsters on speed dial, and who sometimes double as cabinet ministers,  to make law in Ontariario this wildly popular policy?

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Fidel wrote:

I've got a question: How many terms in phony-majority power would it take for team Pinocchio and his slackers with opinion pollsters on speed dial, and who sometimes double as cabinet ministers,  to make law in Ontariario this wildly popular policy?

 

I dunno but you do a poor job of helping Andrea.  Unless the NDP is a party of bigots.  You keep losing Fidel, wake up Rip van Fidel.

Lord Palmerston

I don't know...Andrea Horwath is "sick and tired of the politics of division."  She is doing her part in defending this hypocritical and opportunistic stance.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Ya, I know LP,  Cry

joshmanicus joshmanicus's picture

Horwath and her people (as well as the other leadership candidates) seem to be very uninformed as to the gravity of the situation which sits before them.  At present the Ontario Tories are almost certainly redrawing their plans to gut the public school system.  Trying to maintain the status quo with an improved funding formula won't cut the mustard when it comes time to clank swords with a revamped "gut the public school system" ploy brought forth by the Tories (and possibly even the Liberals?).

I think more people on the ONDP executive (you know who you are) need to stop sitting on your hands and start taking this threat to public education more seriously.  The fact of the matter is that the Catholic schools will not be feasible in the long run and the sooner the ONDP realizes this, the better.

The reason I say that the Catholic schools are not feasible is because they represent an anatogonism to logically minded people.  Logically minded people can look at the situation we have before us at present and see there is an obvious double standard in our funding formula which favours Catholic schools.  As has been repeated over and over on this particular forum, why is it that only the Catholics get public funding for their schools?  If we aren't prepared to rid ourselves of the Catholic schools, then the only logical conclusion is that we must start funding other religious schools as well in order to be consistent.

To be honest with you, I don't particularly relish the idea of having this fight.  I'd much prefer to look the other way and bury my head in the sand while all of the other christians, muslims, jews, hindus, etc. all sit on the wrong side of our cowardly double standard.  The problem is that necesity dictates that I take a stand and that I take a stand which is in keeping with my own personal principles.  I am a socialist and as such, I am unable to appreciate any reason as to why we need to publically fund religious schools.  If we can fold the current Catholic schools into the public boards (perhaps deliniated along linguistic lines?), we can remove the antagonism and affirm that Ontario believes in public education, not private education with partial state funding.

Over the long haul, this should take the wind out of the push for religious school funding.

 

Blah.  Over the course of that rather long winded mini-polemic I can't help but feel as if I've missed hitting upon my central point.  That is -- funding religious schools will end up destroying the scool system creating more and more education boards which will have to be funded, needing more and more bussing to more and more locations, and also seeing students go to school farther and farther away from their homes.  This will detract from the overall quality of the public school systems which will eventually become like the public systems in the US.

Ugh.  I'm so foggy headed from all of this cold medicine.  Do you people understand what I'm trying to say?

 Critique.  Discuss.  Etc.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

One aspect of the debate I've never heard discussed is that Roman Catholicism - like other Christian denominations, including the one I belong to, Anglicanism - might be in decline.  If  indeed Roman Catholicism is in decline, then, logically, wouldn't one have to assume the demand for Roman Catholic schools (and their funding) would also be in decline?

madmax

Quote:

Lord Palmerston 

I'm still waiting to hear why from madmax why he thinks a LibDem '05-type showing would be "disastrous" for the ONDP.

Picked this up off the other closed thread. Refresh my memory.

Tommy_Paine

 

No.

Michelle

Church attendance is not the same thing as school attendance, Boom Boom.  Lots of people don't attend church, but send their kids to Catholic school.

wage zombie

No.  There is no principled, progressive case for continuing to fund Catholic schools.

The case for continuing to fund them is a pragmatic case.  The ONDP, as a political party, needs to pick its battles and right now the membership generally feels that this is not a battle worth fighting right now.

Given that that's the objection to taking this issue on, it seems to me that the following arguments don't really speak to that objection:

a) The ONDP executive is out of touch

b) The ONDP is the Christian Catholic Supremacist Party

c) The ONDP is too cowardly to stick up for principles

d) The ONDP is being logically inconsistent because if they're willing to publically fund Catholic schools then they should be willing to publically fund all religious schools

e) The UN said we have to

f) through z) of the many pseudo arguments being tossed around.

Speak to the objection, which is the perception that we won't be able to take this issue on in a successful way.  Otherwise you're wasting your time.  Browbeating will not get you what you want here.

Sorry for the lecture.  I'm just trying to help you move your political objectives forward.  Right now it doesn't seem like that's happening.

madmax

Haha

This is the thread that keeps on going. If only I could harness it and power up the energizer bunny. 

There are a few people here, who really and truly cannot let this subject go.

But dare we talk about people laying in stinking diapers? Dare we talk about the privatizing of our health care system? Or should we waste our time talking about the massive job crises in Ontario?

Hell no, the people on babble continue to talk about religious funding, or the Separate school choices. 

It is a small, rowdy, non stop group that believes if they repeat it enough times, they will shame the NDP into driving off a cliff.

Each day I am in the coffee shop, (One of which just went bankrupt last week), people are talking about Jobs and health care. They are talking pensions, their future, and about some totally disconnected politicians talking about absolutely stupid shit.  A few weeks back, the laughter at the coffee shops was that 2100 people just lost their jobs, and the NDP was debating the school system.  "The NDP has their heads up their ass again" Do they have a clue what "working people" are? No wonder just about every party uses the term, working people, and the "working people" don't identify with the NDP.  Hell, I have to wonder if the people on babble even see the exploitation of people by temp agencies.

What is interesting is since the election of Andrea Horwath, people are talking about the NDP again, and it is the issues that she is bringing forth that are catching attention with the general public. The NDP is being heard again. 

But having seen that these threads are the most popular on babble, you can't argue with success.  The few who care about this issue, are here, ready to duke it out, and you won't find life in this issue on any other forum on politics anywhere.  Just here on babble. 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

If you're looking for a raging debate about improving health care and EI benefits and saving jobs, babble's not the place. Those are things we all more or less agree on. People who want to privatize health care and export jobs to China and Mexico don't get a lot of traction around here.

No, raging debates on babble normally centre around - wait for it -differences of opinion among "progressives". Those differences of opinion are more likely to be found around principles and tactics rather than the core issues of social and economic welfare.

In the case of funding religious schools, there have actually been very few babblers who have tried to defend it in principle. Most of the defenders of separate school funding, like you, don't rely on principled arguments about why it's "good", but rather rely on what they consider to be pragmatic considerations of what is practical, or popular, or good for the NDP. Most of the opponents of continuing the public funding of separate schools say that putting aside your principles for partisan political or tactical reasons is ultimately self-defeating, because if you don't live by your principles, what is there to distinguish you from the other political parties?

I think it's an important debate. Maybe in the Tim Hortons they don't give a shit, but here on babble it's the kind of thing we ought to be discussing.

joshmanicus joshmanicus's picture

The thing is that we're going to have to talk about it sooner or later.  From what I gather, the executive never really conceded that the issue should be debated.  All they did was say they'll put together a committee on the issue and report back (If my perception here is not correct, then please do clarify things for everyone folks).

Actually, I`d like to ask a question addressed to Peter J. Cassidy, but if you know the answer, then please feel free to provide the answer.

Who is it that`s going to be on the ONDP`s team of people working on the public schools funding quesitonÉ

Lord Palmerston

madmax wrote:
Dare we talk about the privatizing of our health care system?

So why not start a thread called "the privatization of healthcare is bad" and we can all chime in and say "I agree!"  You lambast others for not discussing the "real" issues - you're free to start your own threads, you know.

Fidel

M. Spector wrote:

If you're looking for a raging debate about improving health care and EI benefits and saving jobs,

 ... or raising minimum wage to at least $10 dollars/hr for 1.2 million adult workers in this province, or the fact we have more children living anywhere below poverty here in Ontario, or the fact that we need to update our obsolete electoral system, or abolish that abomination of democracy, the senate, then youre cruisin for it.

madmax

M. Spector wrote:

If you're looking for a raging debate about improving health care and EI benefits and saving jobs, babble's not the place.

Well said.  You made your points.

 

Lord Palmerston

wage zombie wrote:
The case for continuing to fund them is a pragmatic case.  The ONDP, as a political party, needs to pick its battles and right now the membership generally feels that this is not a battle worth fighting right now.

Given that that's the objection to taking this issue on, it seems to me that the following arguments don't really speak to that objection:

a) The ONDP executive is out of touch

b) The ONDP is the Christian Catholic Supremacist Party

c) The ONDP is too cowardly to stick up for principles

d) The ONDP is being logically inconsistent because if they're willing to publically fund Catholic schools then they should be willing to publically fund all religious schools

e) The UN said we have to

f) through z) of the many pseudo arguments being tossed around.

Speak to the objection, which is the perception that we won't be able to take this issue on in a successful way.  Otherwise you're wasting your time.

Since you've ruled out calling the ONDP the unprincipled, opportunistic and hypocritical party that it is, I'd say read all the polls done during the 2007 election - when religious school funding was at the main issue and the ONDP decided to stick to the status quo - which showed that a majority of Ontarians believed that no religious schools, including Catholic, should receive public funding.   The people of Ontario are far ahead of the major political parties, including the NDP.

madmax

Lord Palmerston wrote:

madmax wrote:
Dare we talk about the privatizing of our health care system?

So why not start a thread called "the privatization of healthcare is bad" and we can all chime in and say "I agree!"  You lambast others for not discussing the "real" issues - you're free to start your own threads, you know.

 

Babble isn't the place to have left wing discussions.

Perhaps that is why public health, which was once a sacred cow to the general public, is now taking a backseat to privatization. People are now accepting privatization because the left has nothing to offer to the debate. People can come on babble and see that a public health care thread debates and job loss debates don't exist. Then they can go to a regular mainstream forum and read all the benefits of private health care. and the benefits of more globalization and free trade. (thread hijacking over) 

Support for one public system, exists as it always has, in Conservative, Rural Protestant dominated ridings.  Ridings that would unlikely vote NDP if they supported one system. 

I find the thread title interesting. What was the "Principled Progressive Case" that the NDP and Liberals promoted in the 70s for the expansion of Separate school funding? If both the Liberals and NDP supported Bill Davis's decision in 1985, why should they change their positions today?

Did all three parties make a mistake? Or is this more the Rural Conservatives who rejected Bill Davis reliving their dream on babble, through minority NDP and Green Party Single School advocates?

 

 

Fidel

"Is there a principled, progressive case for continued support for funding separate schools?"

If there is, our 22 percenters with absolute power in Toronto are having none of it. Low-key Pinocchio is too busy dealing us in for multi-billion dollar long term arrangements behind closed doors with nukular power contractors in Canada and the US.

madmax

Lord Palmerston wrote:

 I'd say read all the polls done during the 2007 election - when religious school funding was at the main issue and the ONDP decided to stick to the status quo - which showed that a majority of Ontarians believed that no religious schools, including Catholic, should receive public funding.   The people of Ontario are far ahead of the major political parties, including the NDP.

 

WHO did this Majority of people vote for?  The majority voted for the Liberals, then the Tories, then the NDP.

In other words, it wasn't a ballot question. 

People believe in public health care too, that doesn't stop them from Voting Tories or Liberals who are dismantling public health care faster then jack the bear. 

Are you trying to suggest that the NDP could have won seats, a vast number of seats if they choose to dismantle the Catholic School System, based on your polling data?

Pure Nonsense.

The debate would go like this.

Liberal: We must fund both systems. Its great.

Tories: We must fund  Religious Schools. Its Principled

NDP: We must fund one system and not discriminate

GP: We must fund one public education system.

End of story. People would leave the debate, go home and the election results would be no different then what they were.

Much like BABBLE, the election became a debate that everyone could have an opinion about, but few people really gave a shit about, especially after the election. The LIberals won, and the public then felt ripped off, because they knew they'd been had, by being drawn into a frivolous debate, and the real issues, issues that continue to harm them today, were lost and ignored. The Liberals got off the hook.

Sorry, but if this was such a big issue with the 70% support that it had, the GP would be siting with a Majority, let alone not winning a single seat. 

Fidel

madmax wrote:
Liberal: We must fund both systems. Its great.

And theyre not even doing a good job of that with maintaining Mike the Knife's funding gap-canyon between primary and secondary schools in Ontariario. Theyve got more important things to worry about, like a little kick-back and graft with blowing $40B-$70B on a bottomless nukular money pit. God help us when the bills come rolling in. The next NDP government will likely be saddled with another Liberal-Tory nuclear power megafiasco as was the case in 1990-91.

wage zombie

Lord Palmerston wrote:

Since you've ruled out calling the ONDP the unprincipled, opportunistic and hypocritical party that it is...

I've ruled that out as an effective tactic for getting the ONDP to take up your cause.

But feel free to continue to bash the ONDP, maybe i'm wrong.  Maybe being called unprincipled, opportunistic and hypocritical will make Dippers friendlier to what you're saying.

When someone calls me a fuckhead i'm actually less inclined to work with them...but hey maybe i'm the anomaly here. 

Fidel

dbl post

Fidel

I had no idea the NDP was in government or supporting conservative governments of the 1970's. It's new to me. If we try hard enough, I supopse we can pin blame on the ONDP for all kinds of things the Tories did with support of the Liberal Party over the last 50 years.

Lord Palmerston

madmax wrote:
Support for one public system, exists as it always has, in Conservative, Rural Protestant dominated ridings.  Ridings that would unlikely vote NDP if they supported one system.

What an absurd statement, even by your standards.  [url=http://www.thestar.com/comment/columnists/article/255197]53% of Ontarians support one school system, according to an Ipsos Reid poll, and only 23% supported the status quo of funding Catholic schools.[/url]  Since one-third of the province is Catholic there are plenty of Catholics who disagree.  Why should the ONDP pander to this 23% minority, most of whom would never vote NDP to begin with?

Quote:
I find the thread title interesting. What was the "Principled Progressive Case" that the NDP and Liberals promoted in the 70s for the expansion of Separate school funding? If both the Liberals and NDP supported Bill Davis's decision in 1985, why should they change their positions today?

They were wrong.

madmax

Fidel..... My information on the NDP position supporting Catholic School funding comes from WikiPedia. When you vote with the government you support it.  Bill Davis decision was supported by all parties, according to wiki.

Quote:
One of his last major acts as premier was to reverse his 1971 decision against the full funding of Catholic schools, and announce that such funding would be provided to the end of Grade Thirteen. Although the policy was supported by all parties in the legislature, it was unpopular with some in the Conservatives' traditional rural Protestant base, and many would stay home in the upcoming election because of this issue.

madmax

Lord Palmerston wrote:

madmax wrote:
Support for one public system, exists as it always has, in Conservative, Rural Protestant dominated ridings.  Ridings that would unlikely vote NDP if they supported one system.

Quote:

What an absurd statement, even by your standards. 

So absurd, that I will repeat it again.  Support for one public system, exists as it always has, in Conservative Rural Protestant dominated ridings.  These ridings are Unlikely to vote NDP if they supported one public education system.,

 

Quote:

[url=http://www.thestar.com/comment/columnists/article/255197]53% of Ontarians support one school system, according to an Ipsos Reid poll, and only 23% supported the status quo of funding Catholic schools.[/url]  Since one-third of the province is Catholic there are plenty of Catholics who disagree.  Why should the ONDP pander to this 23% minority, most of whom would never vote NDP to begin with?

  I was giving you 70%, regardless its only 53% (That makes your argument even weaker, you realize).  How many of these 53% voted for the only party to support a single public system?  And if you recall 53% is virtually identicle to the voting percentage in the 2007 Provincial Election which was ONLY about education funding. The answer is the GPO got 8%. 8% of that 53% that opposed the direction of the other 3 parties.

Quote:
I find the thread title interesting. What was the "Principled Progressive Case" that the NDP and Liberals promoted in the 70s for the expansion of Separate school funding? If both the Liberals and NDP supported Bill Davis's decision in 1985, why should they change their positions today?

They were wrong.

And what If I agree with that and never supported Bill Davis in extending funding to the Catholic System? 

Fidel

madmax wrote:

Fidel..... My information on the NDP position supporting Catholic School funding comes from WikiPedia. When you vote with the government you support it.  Bill Davis decision was supported by all parties, according to wiki.

 

It's a third rail issue for politics in Ontario. I refer to it as a legacy issue, because for several decades, the two old line parties were either in power or in opposition(support) role of government of the day.

And it is a diversion from the real issues. We cant, or should not, run public services according to a neoliberal business model. Rightwing neoliberal policies are proving disasterous around the world where implemented.  

Federal-provincial investment is lacking for a lot more than just public school funding across Canada. You have to wonder why this issue is given so much attention by certain posters compared to their lack of opinion on other issues of public funding which are as important and even moreso.

madmax

Fidel, I agree with you.

peterjcassidy peterjcassidy's picture

Iy may help to understand some of the history of these rights This article  is from an Alberta viewpoint.

http://www.acsta.ab.ca/publications/dimension/fall2006/legally_16.htm

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  Catholic School constitutional rights, as guaranteed in Alberta and Saskatchewan by virtue of the Alberta Act, 1905, and the Saskatchewan Act, 1905, have significant differences from those rights as guaranteed in Quebec and Ontario at the time of Confederation, those rights granted and rescinded in the 1880s in Manitoba, granted in Newfoundland and Labrador in 1949 and rescinded in 1997, and those rights as they are currently exercised in the Northwest Territories, subject to ongoing litigation in those Territories. One of the significant problems with delivery of Catholic education in Canada has been the different treatment, constitutionally, of Catholic education rights as between provinces, and therefore, the different level of constitutional protection, method and mode of delivery of that education as between provinces, based upon the legislated Catholic education status quo in place in the jurisdiction at the time of constitutionalization.

Catholic education in the Maritime provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, were based almost exclusively on verbal understandings and "gentlemen's agreements" before Confederation dating from the Emancipation Act (U.K., 1829). As a result, Catholic education in the Maritime provinces was characterized at Confederation with tolerance of Catholic education, sometimes supported by education grants, with a recognition of "de facto" Catholic schools, but no constitutional protections.

The situation in Newfoundland and Labrador was again significantly different from that which was constitutionalized in Alberta. Term 17 of the Terms of Union between Newfoundland and Canada, 1949, provided for denominational schools with a right to receive public funds provided for education, in accordance with scales determined on a non-discriminatory basis by the legislature. Those rights extended to the Roman Catholic, Salvation Army, Seventh Day Adventist, United, Anglican, Congregational and Presbyterian denominations. The Pentecostal Assemblies obtained the same rights in 1987. However, Term 17 was amended by public referendum in 1995, replacing 27 denominational school boards with 10 interdenominational boards, and making all denominational constitutional rights "subject to provincial legislation that is uniformly applicable to all schools", with some ability to designate uni-denominational schools. The Newfoundland Supreme Court issued an injunction against the closure of Catholic schools, except upon consent of Catholic schools representatives, which led to a second referendum in 1997, allowing Term 17 to be completely rewritten so as to eradicate publicly-funded Catholic schools in the province, prevent the teaching of denominational religious programs and provide for a government-drafted religion program.

In Quebec and Ontario, Catholic school protection is traced to the Common Schools Act, 1841 in Upper Canada, and the Education Act, 1846, in Lower Canada. In what was to become Ontario, Catholic education constitutional rights set forth and protected those specific rights set out in the Scott Act, 1863, by which all separate school boards were to be Roman Catholic, five heads of families, being Roman Catholic, were entitled to call a meeting for the establishment for a separate school for Roman Catholics and to elect Roman Catholic trustees, separate school trustees were entitled to form a body corporate, which in turn could form "separate school unions". The trustees of each separate school section or union section were entitled to "impose, levy and collect school rates or subscriptions" for separate schools, all separate school supporters were to be exempted from the payment of common school rates, and be entitled to a pro-rata proportion of annual grants by the Legislature and "all other public grants, investments and allotments for Common School purposes."

Arising out of the 1846 legislation in Quebec, unique systems of education were established for the cities of Montreal and Quebec City, where there were two elected boards of denominational school commissioners, each autonomous, and neither designated as the majority or minority, public or separate. The school system in Quebec outside of the cities of Montreal and Quebec City was based on a system of Protestant dissentient schools, whereby the members of the minority faith in rural Quebec were entitled to "collectively signify such dissent in writing" and elect three trustees to operate a dissentient school board. Arguably, therefore, in Quebec, there was no constitutional protection for minority school boards for the cities of Montreal and Quebec City, but only in rural Quebec. It was this Education Act, 1846, amended and consolidated by the Education Act, 1861, that was constitutionalized for Quebec at Confederation.

One of the principle issues debated by the Fathers of Confederation at the Charlottetown conference of 1864 and the London conference of 1866/67 was the "denominational school issue", and it is generally agreed that Confederation would not have been achieved in Canada without the protections accorded to denominational schools in both Quebec and Ontario. The result of this "Confederation compromise" was section 93 of the Constitution Act, 1867, which protected those rights already legislatively protected in those two provinces.

....

peterjcassidy peterjcassidy's picture

A  starting point would be looking at how those rights were established and changed. This is an excerpt from an article from an Alberta Catholic School board trustee.

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To attempt to bring clarity to this riddle, Catholic School constitutional rights, as guaranteed in Alberta and Saskatchewan by virtue of the Alberta Act, 1905, and the Saskatchewan Act, 1905, have significant differences from those rights as guaranteed in Quebec and Ontario at the time of Confederation, those rights granted and rescinded in the 1880s in Manitoba, granted in Newfoundland and Labrador in 1949 and rescinded in 1997, and those rights as they are currently exercised in the Northwest Territories, subject to ongoing litigation in those Territories. One of the significant problems with delivery of Catholic education in Canada has been the different treatment, constitutionally, of Catholic education rights as between provinces, and therefore, the different level of constitutional protection, method and mode of delivery of that education as between provinces, based upon the legislated Catholic education status quo in place in the jurisdiction at the time of constitutionalization.

Catholic education in the Maritime provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, were based almost exclusively on verbal understandings and "gentlemen's agreements" before Confederation dating from the Emancipation Act (U.K., 1829). As a result, Catholic education in the Maritime provinces was characterized at Confederation with tolerance of Catholic education, sometimes supported by education grants, with a recognition of "de facto" Catholic schools, but no constitutional protections.

The situation in Newfoundland and Labrador was again significantly different from that which was constitutionalized in Alberta. Term 17 of the Terms of Union between Newfoundland and Canada, 1949, provided for denominational schools with a right to receive public funds provided for education, in accordance with scales determined on a non-discriminatory basis by the legislature. Those rights extended to the Roman Catholic, Salvation Army, Seventh Day Adventist, United, Anglican, Congregational and Presbyterian denominations. The Pentecostal Assemblies obtained the same rights in 1987. However, Term 17 was amended by public referendum in 1995, replacing 27 denominational school boards with 10 interdenominational boards, and making all denominational constitutional rights "subject to provincial legislation that is uniformly applicable to all schools", with some ability to designate uni-denominational schools. The Newfoundland Supreme Court issued an injunction against the closure of Catholic schools, except upon consent of Catholic schools representatives, which led to a second referendum in 1997, allowing Term 17 to be completely rewritten so as to eradicate publicly-funded Catholic schools in the province, prevent the teaching of denominational religious programs and provide for a government-drafted religion program.

In Quebec and Ontario, Catholic school protection is traced to the Common Schools Act, 1841 in Upper Canada, and the Education Act, 1846, in Lower Canada. In what was to become Ontario, Catholic education constitutional rights set forth and protected those specific rights set out in the Scott Act, 1863, by which all separate school boards were to be Roman Catholic, five heads of families, being Roman Catholic, were entitled to call a meeting for the establishment for a separate school for Roman Catholics and to elect Roman Catholic trustees, separate school trustees were entitled to form a body corporate, which in turn could form "separate school unions". The trustees of each separate school section or union section were entitled to "impose, levy and collect school rates or subscriptions" for separate schools, all separate school supporters were to be exempted from the payment of common school rates, and be entitled to a pro-rata proportion of annual grants by the Legislature and "all other public grants, investments and allotments for Common School purposes."

Arising out of the 1846 legislation in Quebec, unique systems of education were established for the cities of Montreal and Quebec City, where there were two elected boards of denominational school commissioners, each autonomous, and neither designated as the majority or minority, public or separate. The school system in Quebec outside of the cities of Montreal and Quebec City was based on a system of Protestant dissentient schools, whereby the members of the minority faith in rural Quebec were entitled to "collectively signify such dissent in writing" and elect three trustees to operate a dissentient school board. Arguably, therefore, in Quebec, there was no constitutional protection for minority school boards for the cities of Montreal and Quebec City, but only in rural Quebec. It was this Education Act, 1846, amended and consolidated by the Education Act, 1861, that was constitutionalized for Quebec at Confederation.

One of the principle issues debated by the Fathers of Confederation at the Charlottetown conference of 1864 and the London conference of 1866/67 was the "denominational school issue", and it is generally agreed that Confederation would not have been achieved in Canada without the protections accorded to denominational schools in both Quebec and Ontario. The result of this "Confederation compromise" was section 93 of the Constitution Act, 1867, which protected those rights already legislatively protected in those two provinces.

peterjcassidy peterjcassidy's picture

 

Funding for Catholic high schools has been a century long battle for equality. "Tiny vs. The King.”

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Created by an act of the Ontario Legislature in 1871, Ontario’s high schools would emerge as one way in which young Ontarians could be moulded to meet the demands of their burgeoning urban industrial society. Because they had not existed as such at the time of Confederation, Catholic high schools were not eligible for provincial grants. Before Confederation, however, some Catholic schools offered instruction to older students under the auspices of the common school. Later, several Catholic schools offered fifth book classes (closely resembling grades 9 and 10) and were in a legal position to do so after 1899, when the government broadened its regulations regarding schools that offered a “continuation” of the curriculum beyond what is now grade eight. In reality, however, Catholics could direct their taxes only to public high schools and, if they so desired, could pay tuition fees to have their children receive a full high school education in “private” Catholic schools, usually run by religious orders. After decades of Catholic lobbying and sectarian fighting over this injustice, the Catholic bishops and the Ontario Government agreed that a test case be brought before the courts to establish whether or not Catholic high schools were entitled to government funding under the terms of the BNA Act.

In 1925, Catholics in the Township of Tiny (Simcoe County) launched the legal challenge poetically named “Tiny vs. The King.” By 1928, the highest court of appeal in the British Empire — the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council — offered a bittersweet decision on the Catholic high school issue: Catholics, due to the pre-Confederation precedents and the subsequent development of the “fifth book” continuation classes had just claims to funding for grades nine and ten; but Catholics had no constitutional right to funding beyond that, although the Provincial Government was at liberty to grant it, if it desired. -------------------

peterjcassidy peterjcassidy's picture

Fudnign for Catholic schools has always been tied in to the issue of funding for Frecnh (typically Catholic) schools. We lost in Manitoba won in Ontario

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The disappointing result of the Tiny Township case came at a time of financial crisis and faltering morale within Ontario’s Catholic schools. Since 1912, English-speaking and French-speaking Catholics had been torn apart by the Ontario Government’s attempt to eliminate “bilingual schools,” the majority of which came under the jurisdiction of Catholic school boards. Regulation 17 restricted French-language education to grades one and two, and Regulation 18 threatened to withdraw provincial funding from any boards that violated the new restrictions on French-language education in the upper grades. Fearful of the maelstrom of linguistic and religious politics that swirled about the bilingual schools issue, the Government of Premier James P. Whitney terminated its negotiations with the Ontario Catholic bishops on issues of financial relief for separate schools. The bishops were shocked that the intensity of the language issue scuttled what they thought was an imminent agreement with the Government. The Catholic community was frustrated, divided and angry; on the one side, Francophone Catholics desperately tried to preserve their distinctive schools while, on the other, their Anglophone co-religionists appeared more supportive of the Department of Education’s effort to anglicize and “improve the quality of education” in the bilingual schools. In 1927, after nearly fifteen years of litigation, appeals, protest and even the suspension of the Ottawa Catholic School Board, the Ontario Government relaxed Regulation 17, and limited funding for French--language education was preserved. Few at the time would have imagined that, within sixty years, Francophone children would enjoy state-supported Catholic education from junior kindergarten to grade 13.

peterjcassidy peterjcassidy's picture

Tax refrom and Political action and reaction

 

=================================================As it had so many times in its history, the Catholic community rallied to save its schools. By the 1930’s, the mantle of leadership in the fight for Catholic education was passed from the clergy to the laity. Martin J. Quinn, a Toronto businessman, organized the Catholic Taxpayers’ Association to lobby the Provincial Government to secure the equitable distribution of corporate and business taxes to Catholic school boards. With chapters in over 400 parishes across the province, the CTA helped to elect Mitchell Hepburn’s Liberals in 1934, and subsequently his government passed the much-sought legislation in 1936. The victory on the corporate tax issue, however, was short-lived. In December 1936, a wild by-election fight in East Hastings, reminiscent of the sectarian explosions of the 1850’s, spelled disaster for the Liberals and convinced Premier Hepburn that the fair distribution of business taxes to Catholics would defeat his government in the next general election. The bill was withdrawn and the Catholic community’s hope for economic justice was dashed.

peterjcassidy peterjcassidy's picture

Hope. assessment and amalgamation.

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The Hope Commission

In 1950, the offer of the Hope Commission (Ontario’s first Royal Commission on Education) to fund Catholic schools fully to the end of grade six, but not to subsequent grades, was indeed tempting. Such ideas posed an interesting dilemma for Catholic leaders: an abbreviated but equally and fully funded system at the primary-junior level or a complete system from kindergarten to Grade 13, only partially funded, and ever-struggling at the secondary level. The Catholic commissioners, after much deliberation with the Ontario bishops, decided to dissent from the Commission; they submitted a brief minority report, highlighted by historian Franklin Walker’s readable and concise (less than 90 pages) outline of the history and constitutionality of Catholic schools. In contrast, the overdue and oversized (900 pages plus) majority report of the Hope Commission was generally ignored, as was its demand for a scaling back of government funding to separate schools. The system would survive but would continue to struggle, given the many demands placed upon it by a growing and increasingly upwardly-mobile Catholic population.

 

Working Together towards One Goal

Given the demographic, economic, and social pressures facing the Catholic schools, Catholics once again rallied for justice. The Ontario Separate School Trustees’ Association (OSSTA), the fledgling Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) and the English Catholic Education Association of Ontario (ECEAO) worked hard as individual groups and, at times, cooperatively, to better the situation of their schools. Cooperative lobbying efforts bore fruit in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s when the Ministry of Education initiated such programmes as “equalized assessment,” the “growth-needs factor,” and the Ontario Foundation Tax Plan (1963) to “have-not” boards. Many separate school boards gleaned additional funds by means of these progammes. In 1969, rural boards were amalgamated into larger county-based units with the hope that larger boards would have access to more funds, be more efficient, and provide improved progammes and facilities. Together, the funding provided by the Foundation Tax Plan, and the opportunities created by board restructuring, meant a new influx of cash into Catholic elementary schools.

 

peterjcassidy peterjcassidy's picture

I

Davis I, Blair and Davis II

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On the election of 1971, the Progressive Conservative Government of William Davis won a healthy majority, sustained, in part, by its public refusal to extend funding to Catholic high schools. When this same government proposed changes to Ontario’s tax laws that would see Catholic high school property subject to taxation, it appeared that Catholic high schools were about to sing their death song. In 1976, the Blair Commission traveled the province to assess the reaction to the tax plan and was greeted at each stop with formidable submissions by the Catholic “partners.” Through the combined efforts of clergy, trustees, teachers, parents and students, the tax plan was scrapped and Catholic high schools dodged a bullet.

Ironically, in 1984, William Davis surprised his own caucus when he announced that there would be extended funding to grades eleven, twelve and thirteen in Ontario’s Catholic schools. Davis regarded the decision as “justice” to Catholic schools; the cynical saw the Government fishing for Catholic votes. Within three years, having faced and survived constitutional challenges, Ontario’s Catholic schools finally enjoyed extended funding from junior kindergarten to the end of grade thirteen. Funds poured into the Catholic system and the landscape of Ontario bore the imprint of new schools, complete with facilities, equipment, and comforts scarcely imagined in previous generations.

peterjcassidy peterjcassidy's picture

Extending full fuding to Catholic schools was  challenged in the Supreme Court. Catholic rightrs were upheld

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            Per Dickson C.J. and McIntyre, Wilson and La Forest JJ.: Bill 30 was a valid exercise of the provincial power to add to the rights and privileges of Roman Catholic separate school supporters under the combined effect of the opening words of s. 93 and s. 93(3) of the Constitution Act, 1867. Prior authority supports this interpretation of s. 93(3). The purpose and history of s. 93 also supports it. Protection of minority religious rights was a major preoccupation during the negotiations leading to Confederation. The basic compact of Confederation with respect to education was that rights and privileges already acquired by law at the time of Confederation would be preserved and provincial legislatures could bestow additional rights and privileges in response to changing conditions.

 

                  Bill 30 was also a valid exercise of the provincial power to return rights constitutionally guaranteed to separate schools by s. 93(1) of the Constitution Act, 1867. Roman Catholic separate school supporters had at Confederation a right or privilege, by law, to have their children receive an appropriate education which could include instruction at the secondary school level. The Scott Act gave separate school trustees the same powers and duties as common school trustees. The exercise of these rights was not a mere practice tolerated by the educational authorities. An adequate level of funding was required for this right to be meaningful and the Scott Act provided for proportionate funding.

 

                  Even if Bill 30 were supportable only under the province's plenary power and s. 93(3), it is protected from Charter review. Rights or privileges conferred by post‑Confederation legislation under s. 93(3) are not "guaranteed" within the meaning of s. 29 in the same way as rights or privileges under s. 93(1). It is clear from the wording of s. 93(3) that post‑Confederation legislation referred to in that subsection may be subsequently amended or repealed by the legislature which passed it in a way which affects rights or privileges initially granted by it. The rights or privileges protected by s. 93(1), on the other hand, cannot be prejudicially affected. However, both are immune from Charter review even without s. 29 because the whole of s. 93 represents a fundamental compromise of Confederation in relation to denominational schools. The section 93(3) rights and privileges are not guaranteed in the sense that the legislature which gave them cannot later pass laws which prejudicially affect them but they are insulated from Charter attack as legislation enacted pursuant to the plenary power in relation to education. The protection from Charter review in the case of s. 93(3) lies not in the guaranteed nature of the rights and privileges conferred on denominational schools by the legislation passed under it but in the guaranteed nature of the province's plenary power to enact such legislation. The Confederation compromise in relation to education is not displaced by the Constitution Act, 1982.

 

peterjcassidy peterjcassidy's picture

 

Funding and centalization-loss of Catholic character?

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In our own time, both the Catholic and public education systems have witnessed an unprecedented “revolution” of institutional and curricular change. In 1995, school councils were instituted to bring parents and teachers together for the local management of their community schools. Shortly thereafter the Progressive Conservative Government reduced the number of school boards, in addition to cutting the number of school trustees, while placing a cap on their salaries. In 1997, in a move that may have startled Ryerson himself, the Provincial Government suspended the right of trustees to raise taxes for schools and placed educational funding exclusively in the hands of the Province for the first time.

In Ontario’s educational history, funding is no longer a shared responsibility between the local community and the central government. For Catholics, however, the new financing model means equality of funding for Catholic and public schools. Those who have reflected upon the history of their schools have realized that, finally, justice has been accorded to Catholics, under the terms of the Constitution (BNA) Act. Not all Catholics, however, have been in favour of the changes; teachers and others have seen this new centralization as jeopardizing the ability of Catholics to control and manage their own schools. There is some fear that the Provincial Government will take an increased role in dictating to Catholic schools, perhaps to the detriment of their distinct denominational character. In the current ideological climate dominated by the proverbial “bottom line” and secular values, it is believed by some that the taxpayers of Ontario will be loath to support two education systems. In addition, the demise of publicly-funded Catholic schools in Quebec and Newfoundland has contributed to a growing uneasiness about the future of Ontario’s Catholic schoo

Unionist

Peter, are you having fun talking to yourself? Public funding for Catholic education is going to disappear. My advice would be to start getting used to that now.

 

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Perhaps, Peter and the rest could join us in the 21st century and like MLK from the 20th century advocate for equal rights for all.

peterjcassidy peterjcassidy's picture

Hi Unionist. I was attempting to add some substance to the discussion. It is not just a case of  public  funding for Catholic schools in Canada/o starting in 1867 and continuing on essentially the same for 122 or so years. Nor have our other public;y funded  schools been immune. There have been prodound changes and more will come. To reduce the discussion down to "Abolisj funding for Catholic schools-yes or no?"  is too simplistic.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

peterjcassidy wrote:
Hi Unionist. I was attempting to add some substance to the discussion. It is not just a case of  public  funding for Catholic schools in Canada/o starting in 1867 and continuing on essentially the same for 122 or so years. Nor have our other public;y funded  schools been immune. There have been prodound changes and more will come. To reduce the discussion down to "Abolisj funding for Catholic schools-yes or no?"  is too simplistic.

 

Why are cathocrits awarded priviilege when the UN say's it's discriminatory.  Doesn't catholic stuff say do unto your neighbour as you would yourself.  It did when I attended their cult.

Fidel

Unionist wrote:
Public funding for Catholic education is going to disappear.

Like tens of billions of dollars in disappeared federal txfers from Ottawa to the provinces since 1991. Why should social democrats pile on Catholic school funding when so many other public services have been defunded?

 Let our do-nothing Pinocchios in Toronto run with this issue. Let that other Bay Street party, and those practicing neoliberal ideologues reap all the rewards for at least one executive decision in Toronto to spite 1.2 million Catholic voters in Ontario. They deserve all the limelight for dealing with an issue they, too, apparently supported for 50 years in "opposition" to Tory governments in this province.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Too bad those 1.2 million voters aren't practising ones.

Unionist

It's very insulting to Catholics to suggest that they all want public money to teach their children Catholic dogma. It's the same discriminatory mentality that suggests that Muslims, Jews, and others would just love to send their kids to "their own" schools and teach them about Allah and Yahweh, only $$$ holds them back.

Those who argue this way reveal little about reality and much about their condescending and backward view of Canadians. That's why they would never willingly allow people to vote to abolish religious indoctrination in public schools.

Fidel

RevolutionPlease wrote:
Too bad those 1.2 million voters aren't practising ones.

They didnt all vote for the ONDP, we can be sure.

But some turn of events might inspire them to vote. In which case, Pinocchio and his wood carvers might hesitate to make any more an exective decision in this province than banning cell phone use while driving, or spitting on the sidewalk, or outlawing gum on buses, or whatever progressive maneuver theyve made lately.

Lord Palmerston

Unionist wrote:

It's very insulting to Catholics to suggest that they all want public money to teach their children Catholic dogma. It's the same discriminatory mentality that suggests that Muslims, Jews, and others would just love to send their kids to "their own" schools and teach them about Allah and Yahweh, only $$$ holds them back.

Those who argue this way reveal little about reality and much about their condescending and backward view of Canadians. That's why they would never willingly allow people to vote to abolish religious indoctrination in public schools.

Well said, Unionist.  Again, one-third of Ontarians are Catholic and only 23% support funding for Catholic schools only.  And in this 23% are apparently many non-Catholic babblers who have this delusional idea that Catholics are an oppressed group and won't feel comfortable in "Protestant" schools, and some others who support it because they're afraid their beloved party will lose votes.

Lord Palmerston

madmax wrote:
So absurd, that I will repeat it again.  Support for one public system, exists as it always has, in Conservative Rural Protestant dominated ridings.  These ridings are Unlikely to vote NDP if they supported one public education system.

53% (at least) of Ontarians support one system, so can it be mainly in conservative rural Protestant ridings?  I agree the NDP won't be picking up Haliburton and Leeds-Grenville as a result of supporting one school system.  But so what?  Support for one system is much wider than in conservative rural Protestant ridings so it is absurd for you to imply that small-town, Orange Order anti-Catholic bigots are its primary base of support.

Quote:
How many of these 53% voted for the only party to support a single public system?  And if you recall 53% is virtually identicle to the voting percentage in the 2007 Provincial Election which was ONLY about education funding. The answer is the GPO got 8%. 8% of that 53% that opposed the direction of the other 3 parties.

The election was not "only" about education funding, although it was an important issue, even if the ONDP wished it weren't.   Too bad they weren't listening to popular opinion.  The Greens massively increased their vote due to their stance on one school system, although most people didn't know much about the Greens as they weren't in the debates and didn't get nearly as much media coverage.   

Meanwhile only 23% support the status quo - yet you seem to be of the belief that the NDP will be wiped out if they take a stance that is principled, progressive and popular.  Most of this 23% I'm sure supports the Liberals. There is a small minority there that votes NDP and many of them would vote against the NDP.  However, there is that three-quarters of the population that thinks the current system is unfair.  They can be reached not only be support for one system but also by having that bold, dynamic, progressive economic platform to save jobs, pensions and home - the only thing they care about, according to many babblers.

Quote:
And what If I agree with that and never supported Bill Davis in extending funding to the Catholic System? 

And yet for you, how well the Orange Team does is more important than standing up for principles.

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