Some on babble think the constitution is irrelevant to the discussion on denominational schools, particularly it seems those who want to end the public funding of Catholic schools in Ontario. . One reason is they focus on the BNA Act, 1867 AKA the Constitution Act, 1867 and see this as an antiquated irrelevant document dealing with out of date issues, such as the Catholic Protestant divide in Canada, that might have some relevance in 1867 but is outdated nowadays. Surely, they say, we have moved on to a more tolerant diverse inclusive society where such things as public funding for denominational schools, particulary Catholic schools in Ontario, are no longer warranted. Exanples given include the relatively recent ending of public funding for denominational schools in Newfounland and Quebec and it is argued Onatrio needs to get modern, get with the times and move past that outdated irelevant constitution.
The constitution of Canada is more than the BNA act, 1867 and includes many other documents, much case law and various conventions and unwritten law and it is very relevant to any discussion on denominational schools. . The Consitution is a "living tree" as said in the Persons case, which dealt with the rights of women to be considered "persons" in what most would consider a "modern" and "progresive" way, and as was said in the Reference Re Same Sex Mariages that dealt with same sex marriages in a "modern" and progressive way.". . Not only can our constittuion deal with denominatioal schools in a modern way, it must be involved in any attempt to change the denominationaL shools systems. See Quebec and Newfoundland cases.
Some who want to end public funding for Catholic Schools in Ontario have some knowledge of what happened in Quebec and Newfoundland with regard to denominational schools so you would think they regard the consttition as relevant to the discussion. Howver they tend to see and cite these cases as proof of how easy it would be to end public funding for Catholic schools in Ontario. Some even go so far as to suggest a Premier of Ontario with a legislative majority could easily g et a one sentence bill passed, the Feds would rubberstamp it and that would end the problem.- after all they say, wasnlt how this was done in other jurisisdictions? In this perspecttve the Constitution is just a litle procedural hiccup to be overcome in aheiving the desired goal and not worth sepending much time worrying about.
.In fact things were not that easy in Quebec and Newfoundland . There were years of debate, referenda, court challenges.. If we take the `960's Quiet Revolution in Quebec as the beginning of the end of denominational schools, we would also have to discuss a 40 year period the rise of a "modern" Quebec with a distinct sense of its identify including the strength of separatism and frequent cosnittioional issues. See Referenc Re Quebec Secession . . Tying it to the situatuion in Ontario, a reaonable estimate iis that it would take a decade of debate and divison, including litigation and frequent reference to the Constituion before we could see a profound change in the denominational school system. here. Any such change pased by the legisalture would likely not so much be rubber stampted by the feds as be part of a political debate across the country. particualry if there wree are legal and democratic proces issues raised. Fro exampel if t\oen or more oppositon parties oppsoed the legislation, there had been no maningufl consultation with the Catholic or other communities, no referendum, and a court challenge works its way up to the Supreme court.
This ties in to the Manitoba Schools Question and the third reason why some who want to end public funding for Catholic Schools in Ontario don't want to talk about the consitution -They consider they can just ignore or break the constitution when it comes to denominational schools.The immediate repsonse is that it is not as easy as some may thing to do that and the consequenes can be horrendous. What happened to Manitoba is considered one of the most divisive isues in Canadian history, exacerbated the English/French Protestant/Catholic divide to the point governments fell and Quebe separatims is strong today. it is also illegal, immoral and undoabl ,today. See Quebec and Newfoundland.
The botom line, regardless of how much those who want to end pulbic funding for Catholic schools in Ontario want to avoid consitutional discussion and legal process. they are going to have to deal with such issues if they have any hope of adhieving their objective.. The more they ignore consituional questions and legal process they more they are likely to be marginalized and irrelevant to the debate going on about a more moden inclusive school system. .
So. let's talk constitution.