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Eric Mang served as a political aide in the Harris government in Ontario and the Campbell government in British Columbia. His politics have since shifted left. You can read more at www.ericmang.com.

A publicly-funded Catholic school system is unjust

| October 7, 2010

It's time to bid adieu to the publicly-funded Catholic school system.

Year after year, secularists make a valiant effort to raise this point with provincial governments, and provinces, especially in Catholic-rich Ontario (currently helmed by a Roman Catholic Premier who's married to a Catholic school teacher), want nothing to do with what they perceive as a political and constitutional nightmare.

In Ontario -- where the Catholic school system was controversially extended by former Premier Bill Davis to cover grades 11 to 13 -- religious school campaign promises are hazardous to one's political ambitions.

In the 2007 Ontario general election, Conservative leader John Tory pondered public funding for religious schools funded on the taxpayer's dime.

There was a hue and a cry and John Tory kissed his aspiration to be Premier goodbye.

As much as I disagree with the public funding of faith-based schools, Tory had a point. Either we fund none or we fund all. Premier McGuinty stammered and dodged his way through a CBC interview that asked him why if he was opposed to Tory's plan, did he continue to support the Catholic system? Only the Ontario Greens had the courage to openly declare its support for a single, secular, public system.

I understand the historical and constitutional underpinnings of why we have two separate school systems, but to put it bluntly, those days are over. Canada is no longer a binary nation of Catholic and Protestant, of English and French. We are many faiths and no faiths and myriad cultures.

The United Nations' human rights committee declared that public money for Catholic schools but not for other religious schools is discriminatory. The UN was right.

And that the constitution is sacred and can't be meddled with is poppycock. Of the thirteen provinces and territories, only seven allow publicly funded faith-based schools. A province can hold a referendum, as Newfoundland and Labrador did in 1997, and upon a successful vote and a constitutional amendment, the deal is done. Newfoundland witnessed upheaval and protests, but it's over and the world didn't end and the moon didn't crash into the Earth and they have a single, publicly-funded system.

The third largest "belief" in Canada is no belief (and incidentally, if you want to know about the world's religions, ask an atheist or agnostic). This is a broad category and covers free-thinkers and agnostics and atheists and deists and so on. These Canadians, which represent the fastest-growing group, are united in their devotion to secularism. And I should note that there are certainly religious Canadians who also support secularism -- one of the more progressive movements being the United Church.

So why do we continue with this divisive system? Moreover, when a majority of Canadians strongly disagree with women wearing a niqab -- a vast majority support the Quebec government's ban on wearing niqabs when accessing public services -- where is the ire toward public funding of a separate Catholic school system, especially when many teachings and doctrines of the Catholic Church run contrary to a progressive and civilized society.

The Catholic Church, through its leadership, marginalizes and discriminates against women (females may not be ordained as priests and in May 2010 a number of Catholic students were bused into Ottawa for an anti-choice rally on Parliament Hill), it's openly bigoted toward homosexuality, its lies about condoms have helped foster an AIDS epidemic particularly in poorer parts of the world, and its protection of priests who have raped and sexually abused children is beyond contemptible.

Let me conclude with full disclosure and a defence. First full disclosure: I am an atheist, but my absence of belief in gods does not preclude me from arguing against an unfair and anachronistic system. The defence: we must put politics aside (with 34% of Ontarians claiming to be Catholic, politicians from the three major parties won't touch this issue) and ask ourselves whether the continued public support for Catholic schools is just and if those public schools are an ideal expression of our society.

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Comments

This concept of democracy and equality is pushed in Canada yet some Canadians are referred to as visible minorities which i feel is just a racist term and it contributes to a system that is bias, i feel the only reason we are called visible minorities is because this white or catholic or conservative majority does not want to distinguish between colored Canadians that were born here versus those that had migrated to Canada, when it reality many immigrants to Canada are whites and any colored Canadians will never feel privileged to be in Canada rather would feel it is a birth right so they are less likely to feel obliged by Canadians as a whole and can be vocal unfortunately we are never given the opportunity to express how we feel on television or radio, instead having some fob talk how great these white people are and just how great education is in Canada taught by mostly catholic or jewish educators as part of a integral canadian educational system.


It is unfair to take public funds and give it to catholic schools whereas as public fund belong to public schools and the fact public students drop out while catholic students are able to further their education in "public" colleges and "public" universities, not private like TFC, a clear indiction of a bias system that claims equality, fairness yet due to it's catholic majority will dip into public funds including northern lights, vpi that has the power to distribute funds as part of second career where you might have to get OSAP and live with debt.
They gyp the rest of the Canadian society, what's worst is being subjected to catholic or jewish educators just their smirk and grins give them away and applying to them is very discouraging especially for non-christian, non-immigrant colored males, why would they want us to come out with a degree whereas getting in line for an AZ license is much more practical way of life in Canada and blue collar work is always encouraged by these educators.
This system is designed to be racist, prejudice it is why the Canadian education seems to be geared towards woman and immigrants, you can tell by profession, tittles and degrees obtained with in the last ten years in Canada, wether it is the ministry of whatever or some fortune 500 company so we have not kept woman back as men, we have not put limits on immigration yet we are subjected to things that happened outside of canada, to a point where some immigrant christian canadian feels like i owe them something or why am i here. As well as these universities and colleges who brag about how many indians they educated and how they have been helping the society, while we have tons of uneducated males in our society including their own white people.

Nikab in Quebec is not wanted, it's perfectly fine because France is all about sexual expression so why to go there and make that an issue? instead of this stone face old english society where females act snobbish and create a lesbian pushed woman rights movement helping in lowering the fertility rate of Ontario and discouragement for a men's ability to learn and multiply and find his niche, contributing to the need of inbreeding for immigrants marrying their cousins and mimicing this white female society, so who cares about a Muslim girl who can't wear hikab in Quebec? Muslim guys need to have degrees and solid careers just to get married to them and many Canadians don't get married or have kids so when the hell did a hikab become so important when they want money and security in life? as any other female in our society they have proven to be people with limited or no faith and the fact most of those bishops, fathers, priest were raping little boys and nuns were creating lesbians by separating the girls form boys, i can totally understand why the french people would not want this kind of behavior led by the woman in their society because i know being a single heterosexual male in ontario most of my life that as a Canadian i would appreciate Quebec's way of life.


Although Education is serious meaning if today we are discouraged, intimidated or denied education by educators then tomorrow we can deny their children as well by removing these colleges and universities and building new ones and if these whites or catholics don't like it they can always go back to rome, europe or their mother russia etc but we are born here we are here to stay and so long as they push the lies of democracy to the world we need to let the world know how unfair they are with in our own country before they exploit egypt or syria or any other countries they make a concern mostly due to the christian populations of those countries who are running out of their towns and most likely will migrate to Canada where they would feel like i owe them something or i am a threat to my homeland.


Also a 75 million dollars per fighter jet plan spent by Canadian government "ministry" of defense, yet people get laid off, taking public funds and handing over to private school system like catholic schools while public education fall behind taking in immigrants while canadian born citizens can't work the high position they serve because canada could not produce educated citizens and this so called 100 fold with in programs provided by public colleges and universities for Canadians is a joke you figured 13% tax would have created more schools.


So you end up with no solid career, no education paying 13% tax in this country which is a joke, i no longer care about it's people and as far as America except for those catholics and jews that kept me back, any little bit of education i have gotten has been due to America and i feel thankful for the opportunity they had given me whereas they would let these skinheads chase us around with bats and our principles, police and local municipality happened to be related who went to the same church that would harass the hell out of people leaving hundreds of expelled collared students and drop outs with rap sheets except for those who escaped CANADA other then colored non-christian females of course who seemed to have made it in Ontario !

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