Catholic School funding main issue of Ontario leadership debate

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Stockholm

If in the next Ontario election, the so-called Green party wants to scrap all separate schools and the Liberals, PCs and NDP favour the status quo - I guarantee you that virtually no attention will be paid to this issue. The only reason that the so-called green position on shutting down all separate schools got any publicity whatsoever was that religious school funding turned into a hot button issue in the election campaign as a wole because of john Tory's position and the Liberals decisio to make it into a "wedge issue".

I think that if the ONLY party talking about this issue is the Green Party, it will be like the proverbial tree falling in a forest that no one hears.

Lord Palmerston

janfromthebruce wrote:
Does our party believe in equity, fairness, equality for all. 

Apparently not if they think such a radical idea will cost them seats.

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

quote:


"(In) the last four conventions this issue has been on the convention floor and (in) the last four conventions the party brass has refused to allow it to come forward -- that is not democracy," said Prue, a former East York mayor.

"All I'm saying to this party is that if the members want to discuss this issue, then the members should have the right to put it on the convention floor and to vote on it."


I agree with Prue on this. That doesn't mean it's a frontburner issue. Indeed, when we discuss it (as we should), it should be pointed out that it is a matter of principle, and not priority...

Give us two consecutive majorities, and we promise to get to it by the end of the second one.  Wink

Stockholm

I think its beyond dispute that if the NDP has a platform of "vote for us so we can padlock all separate schools" it would mean losing every seat in the province that has a significant separate school enrolment (ie: all of them). Some people may legitimately argue that this is an important enough principle to worth killing the party over - that is another debate.

 

i strongly suspect that very, very, very few people who don't have kids in the separate school system will change their vote to support a party that wants to padlock all separate schools. They might passively think that scarpping separate schools is a good idea - but they won't feel strongly enough about it to make it a vote determining issue. But the million or so people who have children in separate schools (not to mention the  Catholic teachers Union etc...) will probably vote 99% against a party that wants to shut down their kids school.

As I said, people can debate whether the principle at stake here is worth being wiped off the map for - but i have no doubt that there would be huge political consequences. in fact, if the NDP adopted a policy of scrapping the separate school system, i wonder if half the members of the current caucus would leave the party and we would lose official party status before the next election campaign begins. 

 

madmax

ENJOY  
  
  
NDP stumbles on faith-based school funding

Last Updated: 9th November 2008, 3:55am

Public funding for Catholic schools re-emerged yesterday at the first debate between candidates vying to lead Ontario's New Democrats, along with warnings about focusing on issues that could divide the third-placed party as it attempts to rebuild itself.

 

http://www.torontosun.com/news/canada/2008/11/09/7352386-sun.html

 

 

janfromthebruce

Stockholm wrote:

I think its beyond dispute that if the NDP has a platform of "vote for us so we can padlock all separate schools" it would mean losing every seat in the province that has a significant separate school enrolment (ie: all of them). Some people may legitimately argue that this is an important enough principle to worth killing the party over - that is another debate.

 

i strongly suspect that very, very, very few people who don't have kids in the separate school system will change their vote to support a party that wants to padlock all separate schools. They might passively think that scarpping separate schools is a good idea - but they won't feel strongly enough about it to make it a vote determining issue. But the million or so people who have children in separate schools (not to mention the  Catholic teachers Union etc...) will probably vote 99% against a party that wants to shut down their kids school.

As I said, people can debate whether the principle at stake here is worth being wiped off the map for - but i have no doubt that there would be huge political consequences. in fact, if the NDP adopted a policy of scrapping the separate school system, i wonder if half the members of the current caucus would leave the party and we would lose official party status before the next election campaign begins. 

 

Sure Stockholm, we should definitely frame it that way padlock all schools - want more straw for your hand. Considering that only 33% of the province are Ctholic school supporters, well sure each area is significant supporters. 

But sure, I think we should also make it mandatory for parents, students to fundraise for all the stuff the board's just can't afford - why not, isn't that why school councils are created to do fundraising for all those frivalous extra curriculars. 

We have a community up north with 5 school different school boards competing for the same student population, and all housed in 5 different building, and all the redundant infrastructure, administration, resources to keep that afloat. In the elementary school last year, they had 1 jk kid enroled - now that's quality of eduction for you. 

Why do you think public school boards are going around this province closing a ton of schools or are you unaware of what's going on? Oh that's right, it doesn't effect you, so who cares. 

Anyway, maybe municipal taxes should go up so kids can take classes they want to take, and able to afford those supples that go with it. I have lots of low income kids who just can't take courses they like, cause they can't afford those supples that public board can't afford. It's called 2 tier education in our schools but I see you don't care. 

 

janfromthebruce

You know one has to look at how some media frame this, and I have to laugh. Last election there was a ton of letters, polls done and the public wanting one school system. I guess negativity sells papers.

Of course, maybe we could be really creative and support a voucher system - I'd love to compete one to one? What do all think? What about a voucher system? That's equitable, fair and puts everybody on a level playing field. And it would meet human rights as nobody is favoured.

 

madmax

I think that the ONDP leadership campaign will be TOAST if they choose to continue down this path.  Those are not inspiring headlines for any leadership candidate.

Perhaps the NDP likes these headlines as the defining issue of the leadership campaign.

So far.....

Negative headlines in CP, CTV, SUN and STAR and no coverage of anything substantial.  Like a Leader to Challenge McGuinty and Tory.

 

 

 

remind remind's picture

janfromthebruce wrote:
Stockholm wrote:

i strongly suspect that very, very, very few people who don't have kids in the separate school system will change their vote to support a party that wants to padlock all separate schools. They might passively think that scarpping separate schools is a good idea - but they won't feel strongly enough about it to make it a vote determining issue. But the million or so people who have children in separate schools (not to mention the  Catholic teachers Union etc...) will probably vote 99% against a party that wants to shut down their kids school.  

We have a community up north with 5 school different school boards competing for the same student population, and all housed in 5 different building, and all the redundant infrastructure, administration, resources to keep that afloat. In the elementary school last year, they had 1 jk kid enroled - now that's quality of eduction for you. 

Why do you think public school boards are going around this province closing a ton of schools or are you unaware of what's going on? Oh that's right, it doesn't effect you, so who cares. 

Anyway, maybe municipal taxes should go up so kids can take classes they want to take, and able to afford those supples that go with it. I have lots of low income kids who just can't take courses they like, cause they can't afford those supples that public board can't afford. It's called 2 tier education in our schools but I see you don't care. 

 

Not really going to say much just wanted to see how the imbedded quotes work.

But 5 school boards? WTH?

And here in BC the uproar was so bad about 2 tier education, that now if a family can't afford extras the school must pay for them to access.

Why couldn't that be a policy that the ONNDP adopt and put forth?

Lord Palmerston

madmax wrote:

Negative headlines in CP, CTV, SUN and STAR and no coverage of anything substantial.  Like a Leader to Challenge McGuinty and Tory.

Were you expecting glowingly positive coverage if the separate school funding issue wasn't addressed? 

I think the Libs would have a much harder time against one school system and wouldn't be able to accuse the NDP of supporting "segregated schools" like they were with the Tory plan (Catholics being exempt, of course).

madmax

Who cares?

 

Testing Undecided

Lord Palmerston

Obviously you do since you started this thread saying how questioning (let alone doing anything about) discriminatory separate school funding will lead the Party to destruction.

Stockholm

You may not like this issue being framed as "the NDP wants to padlock all separate schools" but i'm just giving yu a small taste of how this issue WILL be framed if it becomes an issue in thenext election. The media will not discuss this in any rational way and nether will the Catholic teachers unions and schools trustees etc... Whether you like it or not - a policy to eliminate the separate school system will be painted in the most histrionic way possible and i predct therw would be bonfires from lifelong New Democrats in OECTA (Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association) all burning their membership cards.

 

maybe its all worth. i just don't think that this is an important enough issue to be worth drinking cyanide laced Koolaid over.

janfromthebruce

Remind, I was absolutely impressed with the BC trustee who got legislation passed that ensured that accedited courses and supplies necessary to complete those courses would be covered by the school board. It is a part of your provincial legislation. I know the trustee who worked tiredless to get that legislation passed spent years and made it go to the BC supreme court.

The issue comes down to economical and equity. Economically there are 4 school systems fully funded: english and french speaking public school boards and english and french speaking catholic school boards. And the federal govt funds First Nation schools on reserves. 

Some people think it's wrong for public dollars to support a separate religious school system that at the elementary level can discriminate based on religion admission for children to attend. So a child might live near that school but because they are not baptized Catholic are denied admission. Further, some folks think it is wrong that public dollars support a separate school system that can discriminate in their hiring practices, where unless that potential employee is Catholic may be denied an employment position based on their religious affliation. 

On the other hand, the public school system is open to all and cannot denied any child a place in their schools. And it cannot discriminate in its hiring practices and is open to all. 

This past September, a friend was offered a job with the local catholic school board to provide a first nation's program in the local board but first must show that she is roman catholic. She has a teaching certificate and is first nations but she is not catholic. She was not catholic so she was disqualified. That position ended up going to a non-native instructor who had the right catholic baptism. 

The other is economical and has to do with the millions of dollars wasted to support 4 systems with duplicate administration, resources, and services. That money could be put into the classroom where students are. Where all children would received the same dollars attached to them and thus an equitable system. 

I have often thought it would be better to go back to where the municipal tax roll decided, based on designation, where the dollars should go. So if one is a public school supporter, your education tax dollars go to the designated school board. This was the system of financing education in the province before Harris conservatives uploaded education to the provincial level and created two more systems and created a funding formula based on competing rather than cooperating. 

I have no problem with the competing except that the child in classroom A (catholic) ends up getting a couple of extra thousand dollars in funding in comparison to child in classroom B (public). In my community for instance, we have 2 elementary schools side by side, one catholic and one public, and the child in the catholic school gets this extra 2000 dollars and the child in the public school gets 2000 dollars less. Both schools have declining enrolment, but the catholic school is now less than half full. If that was a school under my board we would be hard pressed to keep it open but do to that favoured funding, the other board can keep it open. 

One can also look at this as an environmental issue. The reduction in footprint where we heated one building over 2 fits here. Instead of having to bus kids, say across town or to another town, those kids could walk to school. 

madmax

Lord Palmerston wrote:
Obviously you do since you started this thread saying how questioning (let alone doing anything about) discriminatory separate school funding will lead the Party to destruction.

Enjoy your leadership race.

 

 

Bookish Agrarian

Stockholm wrote:

You may not like this issue being framed as "the NDP wants to padlock all separate schools" but i'm just giving yu a small taste of how this issue WILL be framed if it becomes an issue in thenext election. The media will not discuss this in any rational way and nether will the Catholic teachers unions and schools trustees etc... Whether you like it or not - a policy to eliminate the separate school system will be painted in the most histrionic way possible and i predct therw would be bonfires from lifelong New Democrats in OECTA (Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association) all burning their membership cards.

 

maybe its all worth. i just don't think that this is an important enough issue to be worth drinking cyanide laced Koolaid over.

 

I was at the hockey rink tonight.  In a smaller community it is a pretty good cross section of parents with school aged kids.  A really good friend, who is pretty knowledgable about politics asked me if I knew about the NDP wanting to shut down her kids school.  (They attend a seperate school).  She had read the story from the weekend debate online.  Now this is a progressive woman, disagrees with her church on a number of social issues, has voted and financially donated to at least 5 NDP campaigns that I know of, is very active in her communtiy and I am sure creates votes for the NDP by chatting with people.

I told her what the current policy was.  It seemed to molify her, but she was very, very clear that if the NDP went down this road right now, that would be the last time she supported the party.  I expect she is no where near alone.

So we can say until we are blue in the face that this won't close schools, it is all very rational and the whole nine yards, but a lot of people will see and hear, 'close my kids (grandkids) school'.  Pretending otherwise is dangerously naive.  Have the debate, but beware of the consequences of actions.  Supporters of this change are going to have to prove a few things to me -

1.  this is worth splitting the party over

2.  this is the most important issue in education

3.  where the donations will come from to support campaigns if donors leave us over this and that they will somehow magically be replaced by new donors supporting this policy change

4.  how this addresses the larger problems in our education system

5.  how much it will cost me as a taxpayer to buy out contracts of current education workers

6.  it is worth losing in the noise this would create all of the other issues the NDP could run on against a tired two term Liberal government and PC party in turmoil

Maybe it is worth all those things, but I don't see any evidence presented yet that it is.

Bookish Agrarian

I can't follow your post with all the formatting stuff in it.

If we are basing everything on that UN finding than the policy should be to fund ALL religious schools like John Tory suggested, that after all was the crux of the argument.  It was most decidedly not based on removing all funding.

 

 

janfromthebruce

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I want to make a philosophical statement here and based on a
feminist perspective.

Nelly McClung was a driving force behind Manitoba passing
legislation in 1916 that made that province the first in Canada to allow women
the right to vote and run for public office. She also fought for women's
property rights and dental and medical care for school children.

By her example, McClung shows us what to do here. To assert
feminine values which celebrate life. To act to improve the quality of life for
all which are based on equity, fairness, and equality for all.

The United Nations Human Rights Commission has sanctioned Ontario twice as discriminatory with the current practice
of funding only Roman Catholic schools in the province of Ontario.
We are a signatory to the Human Rights Commission.

So what is our bottom line here?  What I see here is a
willingness to significantly retreat from human rights commitments that
philosophically the NDP supports - for political fear.

Nellie McClung would have said, Let's get at it. It's time
to stop worrying about the reasons for action or inaction, but time to lay out
the action plan for having an informed reasoned debate as a party where
everybody is respected. 

Nellie McClung said it best: Never retreat; never explain;
never apologize; get the thing done and let them howl.

janfromthebruce

I want to make a philosophical statement here and based on a
feminist perspective.

Nelly McClung was a driving force behind Manitoba passing
legislation in 1916 that made that province the first in Canada to allow women
the right to vote and run for public office. She also fought for women's
property rights and dental and medical care for school children.

By her example, McClung shows us what to do here. To assert
feminine values which celebrate life. To act to improve the quality of life for
all which are based on equity, fairness, and equality for all.

The United Nations Human Rights Commission has sanctioned Ontario twice as discriminatory with the current practice
of funding only Roman Catholic schools in the province of Ontario.
We are a signatory to the Human Rights Commission.

So what is our bottom line here?  What I see here is a
willingness to significantly retreat from human rights commitments that
philosophically the NDP supports - for political fear.

Nellie McClung would have said, Let's get at it. It's time
to stop worrying about the reasons for action or inaction, but time to lay out
the action plan for having an informed reasoned debate as a party where
everybody is respected. 

Nellie McClung said it best: Never retreat; never explain;
never apologize; get the thing done and let them howl.

janfromthebruce

BA, that's because in the new page there is an edit button but one can't actually delete the post. It wouldn't allow me to get rid of the stuff I wanted to so I just used a new page. Very frustrating. Grrr.

janfromthebruce

BA, the sanction from the Human Rights Commission was based on either/or fund all or fund none. It is the bases for both arguments. It is also the bases for the Canadian Civil Liberties commission letter sent to the Minister of Education on sent on September 21, 2007.

See: http://www.ccla.org/schoolfunding/letter-religious-schools.pdf

I am feeling quite frustrated in this new system. I can't figure out how to link like before to a webpage. 

Wilf Day

(double post)

Wilf Day

janfromthebruce wrote:

Does our party believe in equity, fairness, equality for all. Do all policies promote those fundamental human rights concepts? 

Whose rights are being denied by the present four-board system?

Ontario Cantonese-speakers, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and Sihks have never had the right to language-based school boards or religion-based schools. How are their rights denied by the francophones having Charter rights or the Catholics having historic rights? They may be jealous of the rights of the francophones or the Catholic community, but does jealousy create rights?

Bookish Agrarian

janfromthebruce wrote:

BA, the sanction from the Human Rights Commission was based on either/or fund all or fund none. It is the bases for both arguments. It is also the bases for the Canadian Civil Liberties commission letter sent to the Minister of Education on sent on September 21, 2007.

See: http://www.ccla.org/schoolfunding/letter-religious-schools.pdf

I am feeling quite frustrated in this new system. I can't figure out how to link like before to a webpage. 

I can't find my copy of it right now, but I don't think that is right.  The case was firmly based on the right of other religions and Christian denominations to have faith based fuding.  If I am not mistaken it was brought to the UN in 1999 by a Jewish parent who was having to pay privately to educate his children in a Jewish school. 

So, yes you can abrogate the argument by funding none, but the specific redress requested in that case was for funding for all.  The UN, while mentioning ending of funding for the Catholic system, did not address the Constitutional guarentee to "the Queens Roman Catholic Subjects"

Again I am all for having this debate and believe it would be wrong to avoid the discussion, but supporters of change need to provide a much more compelling set of arguments to convince many that we should risk the fallout of trying to take away a set of historical rights without firmer justification and a clear analysis of the costs and benefits both politically, culturally and economically. 

janfromthebruce

I am going to respectfully disagree with you on this. The choice is to fund all or fund none. See: http://www.cripeweb.org/UN_2005(page_1).html

The Human Rights Committee considered the two
submissions together and issued a rebuke to Canada under Waldman which stated:
“...if a State party (Canada) chooses to provide public
funding to religious schools, it should make this funding available without
discrimination.”  
The two choices for Ontario then, were to provide
equal public funds for all religions, or no public funds for any.

Incidently, this webpage is an excellent source of information re: legal, and political for funding of education in Ontario. They have all the documents and history here. 

janfromthebruce

Take note that it says "if a State party CHOOSES to provide public funding....  In other words, not choosing is also ok.

Also today see this article in the Waterloo Record:  Ontarians deserve a full debate on financing faith-based schools

http://news.therecord.com/article/440606

Take note of this article is that essentially this "debate" is not going away and will be becoming again (if these people have the means) in an election near you. 

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"What is desperately needed in Ontario
is a fair debate regarding the funding of faith-based schools. We need
open-minded citizens (and journalists), who will take seriously evidence and
arguments for positions held. Furthermore, we need politicians who will defend
positions on principle and who will take seriously the democratic principles of
justice and fairness."

janfromthebruce

I know I shouldn't say this but I wish I had the old babble forum back. The rest of the makeover of the site is fine, but I am not finding this new babble forum as user friendly as the previous one. Cry

Unionist

Wilf Day wrote:
Ontario Cantonese-speakers, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and Sihks have never had the right to language-based school boards or religion-based schools. How are their rights denied by the francophones having Charter rights or the Catholics having historic rights? They may be jealous of the rights of the francophones or the Catholic community, but does jealousy create rights?

This is about funding religion - not languages. Nice way to muddy the waters. Do you know of anyone demanding public funding of a separate Canotonese or Hebrew or Ukrainian school system? Of course you don't, and that's really a straw man. Other languages of instruction in public schools exist now where demand is there - but not separate schools. French and English school boards exist because Canada is a bilingual country and because it's a damn sight more civilized and sensible than splitting kids on the basis of religion. And please tell me who in society is demanding an end to separate French and English boards - anywhere in this country? I must have missed it.

The state must tell the Catholics (and any other faiths waiting near the trough) that the party's over, this is the 21st century.

I suggested last year that publicly funded Catholic school should be abolished one year at a time. No new students in public Catholic schools. That way, everyone there now can finish their studies and this anachronism can bite the dust gracefully, by attrition.

 

Sunday Hat

Andrew Steele had an interesting take on this in the Globe and Mail:

The only newsworthy moment in the first debate was Michael Prue's simultaneous belief that:

1) He is not trying to reopen the debate on religious school funding that sank John Tory in the 2007 election;

2) Party members should be allowed to bind the NDP leadership with policy resolutions on banning Catholic school funding; and

3) The Conservatives were on the "wrong side of the issue" in 2007, therefore the "right side of the issue" is banning all religious school funding.

The is the logical equivalent of:

1) I'm not here;
2) People are here;
3) I could only tell if people were here if I was here.

He raises a few good points. The most interesting being: for a guy who wants the party to have a debate so bad he seems really unwilling to say how he'll vote at that debate.

Sunday Hat

Andrew Steele had an interesting take on this in the Globe and Mail:

The only newsworthy moment in the first debate was Michael Prue's simultaneous belief that:

1) He is not trying to reopen the debate on religious school funding that sank John Tory in the 2007 election;

2) Party members should be allowed to bind the NDP leadership with policy resolutions on banning Catholic school funding; and

3) The Conservatives were on the "wrong side of the issue" in 2007, therefore the "right side of the issue" is banning all religious school funding.

The is the logical equivalent of:

1) I'm not here;
2) People are here;
3) I could only tell if people were here if I was here.

He raises a few good points. The most interesting being: for a guy who wants the party to have a debate so bad he seems really unwilling to say how he'll vote at that debate.

Sunday Hat

Andrew Steele had an interesting take on this in the Globe and Mail:

The only newsworthy moment in the first debate was Michael Prue's simultaneous belief that:

1) He is not trying to reopen the debate on religious school funding that sank John Tory in the 2007 election;

2) Party members should be allowed to bind the NDP leadership with policy resolutions on banning Catholic school funding; and

3) The Conservatives were on the "wrong side of the issue" in 2007, therefore the "right side of the issue" is banning all religious school funding.

The is the logical equivalent of:

1) I'm not here;
2) People are here;
3) I could only tell if people were here if I was here.

He raises a few good points. The most interesting being: for a guy who wants the party to have a debate so bad he seems really unwilling to say how he'll vote at that debate.

Bookish Agrarian

janfromthebruce wrote:

I am going to respectfully disagree with you on this. The choice is to fund all or fund none. See: http://www.cripeweb.org/UN_2005(page_1).html

The Human Rights Committee considered the two submissions together and issued a rebuke to Canada under Waldman which stated: “...if a State party (Canada) chooses to provide public funding to religious schools, it should make this funding available without discrimination.”   The two choices for Ontario then, were to provide equal public funds for all religions, or no public funds for any.

Incidently, this webpage is an excellent source of information re: legal, and political for funding of education in Ontario. They have all the documents and history here. 

But as I said the specific redress requested was to fund all.  As well, as I pointed out the UN did not deal with the historic right granted Catholics in the BNA and previous documents.

That said I have to wonder too about the solution put forward of two language boards.  After all the idea of a French langauage board comes from the same place, historic rights, as the Catholic board. 

Yet Stats Canada data suggests that it is very likely that a language other than French is the second most common language in Ontario.  There are 488, 000 French language speakers with 3.3 million who report a language other than French or English.

I am not suggesting French language boards should disappear, but rather that it is not quite so simple to over-ride a historic right without a lot of work and confusion as to what is actually the right thing.  Education issues in Ontario are not simple yes or no things.

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

Quote:
madmax wrote:

I think that the ONDP leadership campaign will be TOAST if they choose to continue down this path.  Those are not inspiring headlines for any leadership candidate.

Perhaps the NDP likes these headlines as the defining issue of the leadership campaign.

So far.....

Negative headlines in CP, CTV, SUN and STAR and no coverage of anything substantial.  Like a Leader to Challenge McGuinty and Tory.

I believe the way to put this issue into perspective quickly and permanently is to take a principled stand and put it behind us. 

Quote:
Education issues in Ontario are not simple yes or no things.

But principles are simple things - things that you either have, or don't have. 

Mojoroad1

Well, like many I'm of two minds on this.... I agree, on the one hand, in the democratic right for delegates to debate and vote on the issue... Prue is right on that.... HOWEVER, realpolitik suggests to me that this is exactly the wrong time to do it, and the other three candidates are right, because no matter whatever else the party runs on, it will become the DEFACTO issue in the campaign due to the history of the last one.  BA is on the money, the Libs will spin it to their narrative, and the NDP frankly won't have the resources to counter it. Hell, it might already be too late. The MSM has made it THE issue of the leadership race...so far. Also, I seem to remember that Prue had to back peddle quickly.....suggesting that he meant that it should go to convention as a policy decision of the party, not necessarily part of his "official platform". That was AFTER the media covered his launch. Now, we have the unfortunate circumstance of having it debated about at every leadership debate. It's already created a schism within the party and WILL be exploited. Yes, I am in favour of one public school system, but the ONDP has to prioritize.... That said, & I really like Michael, but do the NDP want this as the issue that defines us in the next election? And even if not, is it too late? I agree with  Jan that it is the right thing to do, and so forth, the question to me is in the timing.....

 

On the other hand, my partner has pretty strong counter argument (besides the agreeing with the basic principal of the idea): It's as simple as this..."If not now, when?" 

Sunday Hat

But principles are simple things - things that you either have, or don't have.

 

 

That's a bit over the top.

It's also "wrong" that the Legislature puts up a Christmas tree. It's "wrong" that we hold memorials in comemoration of World War I and the Korean War. It's "wrong" that we have a picture of an unelected foreigner on our money just because she was born to the right parents.

You could argue if we were being "principled" we would campaign to abolish Christmas, tributes to the war dead and the monarchy.

When trying to build a broad movement for change it's wise to pick your battles carefully. Is this an important issue? How does it affect people's lives? Is it worth losing progress on other issues to make this point?

It's not clear to me that this is the hill we want to die on.

janfromthebruce

Bookish Agrarian wrote:
janfromthebruce wrote:


I am going to respectfully disagree with you on this. The choice is to fund all or fund none. See: http://www.cripeweb.org/UN_2005(page_1).html


The Human Rights Committee considered the two submissions together and issued a rebuke to Canada under Waldman which stated: “...if a State party (Canada) chooses to provide public funding to religious schools, it should make this funding available without discrimination.”   The two choices for Ontario then, were to provide equal public funds for all religions, or no public funds for any.


Incidently, this webpage is an excellent source of information re: legal, and political for funding of education in Ontario. They have all the documents and history here. 



But as I said the specific redress requested was to fund all.  As well, as I pointed out the UN did not deal with the historic right granted Catholics in the BNA and previous documents.


That said I have to wonder too about the solution put forward of two language boards.  After all the idea of a French langauage board comes from the same place, historic rights, as the Catholic board. 


Yet Stats Canada data suggests that it is very likely that a language other than French is the second most common language in Ontario.  There are 488, 000 French language speakers with 3.3 million who report a language other than French or English.


I am not suggesting French language boards should disappear, but rather that it is not quite so simple to over-ride a historic right without a lot of work and confusion as to what is actually the right thing.  Education issues in Ontario are not simple yes or no things.



BA, both NFL and Quebec (where about 83% of population identifies as RC and in Ontario it's about 37%) asked for an exemption and got it. Why don't you check out the page I linked to for CCLA. Or the other one. The legality and the process is there. 


But alas, I will go there link


 Myth:  The Ontario Government cannot do away with separate schools; their hands are constitutionally tied.

 

Fact: The Ontario government can indeed do away with separate schools. Suggestions to the contrary are at best misinformed and at worst, deliberately dishonest.  While Section 93 of the Constitution Act, 1867
offers some protection for the denominational school rights existing at
Confederation, it did not tie the hands of legislators for perpetuity. 
Constitutional change in an area of provincial jurisdiction (such as
education) can be accomplished through bilateral agreement between the
province and the Parliament of Canada alone.  A wider consensus is not
required.  Quebec and Newfoundland once had denominational school
systems not unlike Ontario's.  Both provinces modernized their school
systems in the 1990s following constitutional amendments permitting
them to eliminate denominational schools.  Both provinces worked
bilaterally with Ottawa alone in achieving those amendments.  In
Newfoundland's case, the elapsed time from request to proclamation of
the amendment was only four months.  Ontario could easily follow suit.

 

Constitution Amendment, 1997, (Quebec)

Constitution Amendment, 1998 (Newfoundland Act)


 In a nutshell,

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The Constitution Act, 1982, provides an amendment mechanism through which provinces can rescind

denominational school rights through a simple bilateral agreement with Ottawa alone. Quebec and Newfoundland
each secured such an amendment in the 1990s, before moving to a single public
school system for each official language. In Newfoundland's case, the amendment was
proclaimed by the Governor-General barely four months after being requested. Manitoba eliminated denominational schools in 1890,
despite a constitutional "obligation" to provide them virtually identical to Ontario's.

Anyway, I will write more about this in the next post.

janfromthebruce

Further re: constitution. Incidently, this is not the same as guarantee as the two languages. And I find that a strawhorse, as nobody is requesting that French be removed.

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The issue of a Constitutional
"guarantee" for funding of Roman
Catholic schools has been raised. Roman
Catholic Separate
School
supporters and Ontario
politicians rely on the Constitution for the
rationale for supporting public funding for Catholic schools.

However, when pressed to indicate what section of the Constitution
spells out the guarantee/obligation neither group can so indicate. The
reason--because there is none. The opening words of Section 93, as
interpreted by the Supreme Court, give absolute power to the provinces
to govern education, subject to conditions in sub-sections [1] to
[4].This is the only part of the Constitution that is " caste in
stone."

Sub-section 93[1] under Section 93 is the sub-section that supporters
of the Roman Catholic separate school system and Ontario politicians
refer to in order to make their case. However, they omit making
reference to the other sub-sections of Section 93, namely sub-sections
93 [3] and [4].

Sub-sections 93 [3] and [4] provide the process by which the Ontario
Government can eliminate public funding to the separate school system.

When Section 93 is taken in its entirety, and especially sub-section
93 [3], there is absolutely no obligation, expressed or implied in the
Constitution to forever maintain the public funding of Roman Catholic
separate schools.

To eliminate funding for separate schools, all that is necessary is
for the Province
of Ontario to introduce
and pass legislation to that
effect. This is what Manitoba
did. This is known as the unilateral option.

Quebec and Newfoundland eliminated church control of
education in
their provinces by using Section 43 of the Constitution which allows a
province to change the Constitution with the approval of the
Legislature, the House of Commons [ Parliament ] and the Senate. This
is known as the bilateral option.

The bottom line, is that there is absolutely no constitutional
obligation on the part of the province of Ontario to maintain the
religious privilege of public funding for Roman Catholic separate schools.

Hope this further adds to this debate.

I must say that I as a woman is sure glad that I was given the right to vote, because it sounds here that folks would consider denying me that right because the original constitution denied my existance as a person and the privelege to vote. Thank goodness Nelly and company thought that my rights were worthy of debate and challenge. 

So, I will ask again, if not now then when? And if not us then who?

It sure sounds like for 4 policy conventions now just never came. During the last election, Now was not then. Now it is not the right time because it's a leadership race. After that, well, we will lose. Really, sure sounds like the majority would prefer one unified system. 

 

That said, there are lots of ways to go about it that make the transition enhancing. Remember this is about kids in desks and ensuring excellence in education for all kids. 

janfromthebruce

You know, I am really interested who sits on the executive NDP who has worked at denying the membership and folks on the floor - mainstreeters so to speak, their democratic right to debate policy. Here's the list:

 

President

Sandra Clifford

Secretary

Dennis Young

Treasurer

Andrew McNeil

Vice Presidents (6)

Susan Barclay
Andrea Horwath
Doris Middleton
Bob Huget
Jehad Al-Iweiwi
Michael Seaward

Women's Committee Representative (2)

Effie Vlachoyannacos
Shirley Walker

Ethnocultural Committee Representatives (2)

Rabia Sayed
Antoni Shelton

LGBT Committee Representatives (2)

Andrea Nemeth
Jay Yerex

OND Youth Representatives (2)

Erin Jacobson
Paul Bretscher

Disability Caucus Representatives (2)

Terri Wallis
Willy Noiles

Regional Members-at-Large

East
Elaine Macdonald
Tim Stutt

North
Richard Eberhardt
Barb Larsen

Metro
Andrew Lauer
Nicole Yovanoff

Southwest
Patti Dalton
Scott Piatkowski

Horseshoe
Kathie Clark
Kayle Hatt

General Members-at-Large (6)

Jeff Atkinson
Yvonne Bobb
Wess Dowsett
Gina Barber
Andrew Mackenzie
Gissel Yanez

Bookish Agrarian

janfromthebruce wrote:

The bottom line, is that there is absolutely no constitutional
obligation on the part of the province of Ontario to maintain the
religious privilege of public funding for Roman Catholic separate schools.

Hope this further adds to this debate.

I must say that I as a woman is sure glad that I was given the right to vote, because it sounds here that folks would consider denying me that right because the original constitution denied my existance as a person and the privelege to vote. Thank goodness Nelly and company thought that my rights were worthy of debate and challenge. 

 

You are misreading your own quotes.  There is a constitutional protection, otherwise you would not have to have an agreement with the federal government.  Q.E.D.

Supporters of this change are asking to overturn a historical right which came about to protect a minority group.  It is not a myth that this right exists.  Yes it can be changed, but pretending the historic right is not in place is patently false.

As for the rest and invoking Nelly McClung.  This is the very histrionic rhetoric that turns people off.  A single public school system in no where in the same league as denying the right to vote for over half of society. 

Here we are clearly talking about abrogating a historically recognized right.  You don't do that with the kind of poor logic and understanding as the site you linked to demonstrates.

Again I support having a debate, if only to put this growling dog back to sleep for awhile.  But to win the day, supporters of divesting the Seperate School system from the public purse need to come up with much more compelling arguments.

janfromthebruce

Bookish Agrarian wrote:
janfromthebruce wrote:

The bottom line, is that there is absolutely no constitutional
obligation on the part of the province of Ontario to maintain the
religious privilege of public funding for Roman Catholic separate schools.

Hope this further adds to this debate.

I must say that I as a woman is sure glad that I was given the right to vote, because it sounds here that folks would consider denying me that right because the original constitution denied my existance as a person and the privelege to vote. Thank goodness Nelly and company thought that my rights were worthy of debate and challenge. 

 

You are misreading your own quotes.  There is a constitutional protection, otherwise you would not have to have an agreement with the federal government.  Q.E.D.

Supporters of this change are asking to overturn a historical right which came about to protect a minority group.  It is not a myth that this right exists.  Yes it can be changed, but pretending the historic right is not in place is patently false.

As for the rest and invoking Nelly McClung.  This is the very histrionic rhetoric that turns people off.  A single public school system in no where in the same league as denying the right to vote for over half of society. 

Here we are clearly talking about abrogating a historically recognized right.  You don't do that with the kind of poor logic and understanding as the site you linked to demonstrates.

Again I support having a debate, if only to put this growling dog back to sleep for awhile.  But to win the day, supporters of divesting the Seperate School system from the public purse need to come up with much more compelling arguments.

I respectively disagree with you. Your argument to continue to fund a majority privelege of RC funding (remember they are the largest identified religious group with that privelege) is based on the guarantee in the Constitution. As an aside, let's ignore that both Quebec  and NFL were able to do this, somehow, cause you are ignoring that.

But based on your belief that we cannot do this cause the constitution made you do it, suggests to me that thank goodness upholders of the constitution as the last word would have denied my personhood and my right to be recognized as a person with a right to vote. 

If you reread what I wrote there are two ways to go here. 

For an NDPer sort, who suggested that philosophically you believe in one united system, you sure are fighting hard to promote that this can't be done and using the constitution as the excuse to maintain the status quo. 

I guess the CCLA do not know what they are talking about in suggesting to the government that they should move our education system to unified one to ensure equality of all as our society becomes more multicultural and diverse. I'm sure that prominent constitutional and rights organization don't know what they are talking about.

But of course, I was trying to move this conversaton towards inclusion and building a tolerate society but you seem to want to talk about "religion." So do you think that kids should be separated by religion for the privelged few? Personally, I think our public dollars should be going towards a system that welcomes all. 

I take note that when Sharia law was floated that it got shut down based on the idealism of "law for all." Based on that same idealism one would be inclined to support "one education system for all."

Bookish Agrarian

Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec were able to do it through amendment to the consititution.  They had to do that because there was a historic right enshrined.  That acutally took a passage of a bill doing that both the Commons and the Senate.  Ontario would be the same. 

So what I was questioning was the quote that suggests, wrongly, that there is no consititional issue here.  Again, they can be over-ridden, or expunged as NFL and Que did.  But the site you linked to pretends that doesn't need to be done.  It is wrong.

Once again, I think the debate needs to take place, but lets do it on accurate information.

janfromthebruce

Actually, if you look at what Manitobe did, they did just that.

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"Manitoba Act, 1870
Section 22 describes denominational school rights as they apply to Manitoba.  Section
22 reads almost identically to Section 93 of the Constitution Act, 1867, yet Manitoba eliminated
denominational school rights unilaterally in 1890 without a constitutional
amendment.  The Federal Parliament failed to impose remedial laws
restoring those rights, their perogative under the Act.  Ontario could probably follow suit."

As for the historical rhetoric, it actually did not turn off the Globe and Mail reporter who interviewed me a couple of years ago. He said he hadn't thought about it that way, "constitution made me do it"  so therefore there is nothing to be done. I was just pointing out the fallacy of your "weak argument" that the constitution prevents Ontario from moving to a unified system of education. That was your argument for the status quo.

Here we are clearly talking about abrogating a historically recognized
right.  You don't do that with the kind of poor logic and understanding
as the site you linked to demonstrates.

WE who is the royal "we"? So what sites are you linking to to prove "we" point? I have not seen you provide anything that says that this isn't possible, based on Quebec and NFL. So tell me about your wonderful logic and understanding, and based on the strawhorse of historical recognized right (constitution). 

There is another site that actually explains how Manitoba removed funding for RC. It too talks about the constitution. There is no such obligation. Read here

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"In 1890, Manitoba
used the process described above in order to eliminate its public funding of
Roman Catholic separate schools. 

Quebec and Newfoundland also
eliminated the church control of education in their provinces, but they used
section 43 of the Constitution, which allows a province to change the
Constitution with the approval of the Legislature, the House of Commons and the
Senate."

 

Anyway, what I really hear is a lack of political will due to not doing well in an election. So perhaps rereading the history of what happen in say NFL, or even Ontario history might lesson your fears.

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See Political Suicide?  Where’s the proof?

Furthermore, and going to the CCLA and dealing with Bill 30, go to page 1152 (it's about the 4 page into this document). You will note that the writer above, who you demeaned was referencing what the CCLA said in relation to the constitution re: reference re bill 30: Religious School funding

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"The protection from the 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."

So the power to enact education legislation is given to the province. Like NFL and Quebec, they asked the feds for an amendment to remove funding for religious funding of schools. It was not deny their right to this education, just the funding. Seperate schools could still operate just without public funds.

I know on this site that it has lots of information about NFL and I will locate for you. 

janfromthebruce

And sorry if it is hard to read. I am struggling in this new interface and personally, I don't feel like I want to go in and try to figure it out.

janfromthebruce

Finally, since BA you have ridiculed links I have made as not being up to your standard, I will take you back to CCLA and another document in terms of the ability to amended the Education Act in Ontario.

The CCLA are constitutional experts and I am sure you would agree they would not recommend the province do something if they did not think it would pass a charter challenge or have legal precedence. 

Thus see "The Public funding of Religious Schools"  I suggests folks read the whole document as it is very readable and talks to why funding all religious schools is not practical or economical, as well as not good for social cohesion. On page 18, it talks about NFL. 

"In NFL costs were a key issue in producing an educational crisis, a public inquiry, a referendum, and ultimately a constitutional amendment disbanding the province's denominational school system. Today, NFL has a unified public school system."

pg. 18

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“ But the funding of Catholic schools, also, is unwise,
inequitable, and unjust. Those schools have been receiving public funding not
because of any perceived argument for it today, but because of a
pre-Confederation bargain that was forged more than 130 years ago. Whatever
arguments there might have been for such an arrangement then, the situation is
dramatically different today.”

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“Ontario
society is no longer for only Protestants and Catholics. It is multireligious,multi-cultural, and heterogeneous. Our society has managed
to attract ahealthy mix of racial, religious, ethnic, and cultural
orientations from all over the world. There is simply no justification – if ever there was
one – for conferringspecial benefits on the Catholic community at this time, and
it would be unwise toextend such funding to every other group. Significantly,
both Quebec
andNewfoundland
initiated constitutional amendments that effectively disbanded thepublic Catholic and other religious school systems then in
place.What is needed is a constitutional amendment in Ontario that will put an
end to our anomalous situation: public funding of Catholic
schools should end.”

 On page 20

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The Canadian Civil Liberties Association recommends as
follows:

(1) at a minimum, there should be no new public funding of

any religious schools and,

(2) a constitutional amendment should be enacted to

terminate the public funding of Catholic schools.

 

Perhaps what would be good is to have the CCLA talk at the NDP convention as an "legal expert" and valued opinion.

 

Bookish Agrarian

I think you are confusing historic with histrionic

The histrionic rhetoric is conflating the fight for suffrage with a single public school system.

 

I understand your passion.  But really, if people cannot disagree with the position that there is only one choice and no discussion without being attacked than supporters of removing the separate school system are not going to get very far.

 

For instance there was no royal ‘we’.  My use of we was clearly collective.

 

You keep trying to make the point that has already been made.  Yes you can change the constitution.  No one argues over that.  They may argue over whether it would be easy to do so or not.  However, the site you link to tries to pretend that since you can change the constitution that the historic right granted to protect the minority Catholic population back in the day doesn’t currently exist.  That is faulty logic and frankly disingenuous.  It would be like saying since I can divorce my partner at any time I am not really married. 

 

There are lots of good reasons for change.  I and others have agreed with that.  What supporters will need to demonstrate though is that those reasons outweigh the potential harm.  Terms like sky fairy and ignoring that there is a right in place that needs to be discarded if the province is to move in this way will not help that argument.  That doesn’t mean it can’t or shouldn’t be done.  It just means that the issues are much more complicated than some would have us believe.

Wilf Day

Mojoroad1 wrote:

 my partner has pretty strong counter argument ..."If not now, when?" 

Any Catholic who wants to send her, his or their child to a public school is free to do so.

 

What's the problem? 

janfromthebruce

Bookish Agrarian wrote:

I think you are confusing historic with histrionic

The histrionic rhetoric is conflating the fight for suffrage with a single public school system.

 

I understand your passion.  But really, if people cannot disagree with the position that there is only one choice and no discussion without being attacked than supporters of removing the separate school system are not going to get very far.

 

For instance there was no royal ‘we’.  My use of we was clearly collective.

 

You keep trying to make the point that has already been made.  Yes you can change the constitution.  No one argues over that.  They may argue over whether it would be easy to do so or not.  However, the site you link to tries to pretend that since you can change the constitution that the historic right granted to protect the minority Catholic population back in the day doesn’t currently exist.  That is faulty logic and frankly disingenuous.  It would be like saying since I can divorce my partner at any time I am not really married. 

 

There are lots of good reasons for change.  I and others have agreed with that.  What supporters will need to demonstrate though is that those reasons outweigh the potential harm.  Terms like sky fairy and ignoring that there is a right in place that needs to be discarded if the province is to move in this way will not help that argument.  That doesn’t mean it can’t or shouldn’t be done.  It just means that the issues are much more complicated than some would have us believe.

I am not suggesting one cannot disagree, but I did respond to the position that this historic right or privelege in the constitution prevents the possibility of changing the status quo. That change could be other options. 

You did mention that dependent on the resolution you might support it. What things would be of interest to you in a resolution that would gain your support?

When one evokes "we" it usually is referring to some collective number and a group of likeminded individuals who share a common belief or position - formal or otherwise. 

I believe what the CCLA suggests is that what is protected is the provinces right to make decisions about the funding of education with public money. Those sections of the constitution suggest that Catholics in Ontario have a right to be educated in separate schools but that right is supersided by the right of the province to decide whether they are publicly funded. Thus separate schools have a right to exist as private entities and do not have a right, unless the province chooses to, to public dollars to support them. 

 I'm not sure what sky fairy is related to.

You talk about rights, but if you read the CCLA one could read that rights or priveleges as the same thing. It is that privelege that needs to be challenged. One poster suggested here that she would like other private religious schools funded as they do not currently receive that priveleged funding. It ends up priveleging one religion over all others, or for that matter gives privelege to religion over other dogmas. 

And I never suggested that it would be simple. I believe that the site writer is saying that the "constitutional stumbling block" has been breached by both ndf and Quebec and that the "right or privelege" is not the major problem but the political will. 

I think that the reasons are elloquantly outlines in the CCLA document that I linked to above. 

The CCLA actually provides some great documentation about both the NFL experience and the Quebec one, and how to avoid some of their pitfalls on the path to a unified system. I will have to check my other computer's harddrive to find them. 

Left J.A.B.

 

Thank you BA for showing such patience.  I hate to get all Catholic, but clearly you are showing the patience of Job in trying to point out how those who want to close my children's former school will have to do a better job of explaining why that should be.  Particularly to this Catholic New Democrat. 

 

I find it interesting that BA keeps pointing out time and time again that you can change the constitution but right now, at this moment, I still have the right guaranteed me under the Constitution to have a ‘public’ education system based on my religion.  Maybe it is time to change that, but right now that right exists. 

 

Jan I have read your linked to site, and I don’t think you are following what BA is explaining.  The site seems to contend that no right exists because other provinces changed that right through a Bill passed in the House of Commons.  That, with respect, is dumb ass stupid.  It is precisely because that right exists that a Bill is necessary, as has been explained.  The change in Newfoundland was a long time in the making and was a very different situation than Ontario.  In Newfoundland you had Protestant schools(more than just one denomination too), Public schools and Catholic schools.  In Quebec it was even more of a mish mash.  Ontario has (if you exclude language for a moment) two systems- both are public to a degree.  Both have the dominant cultural values of their parent population represented in the curriculum.  Both are subject to the same curriculum expectations on core subjects.  Both play important roles in their communities.  Both have strengths and weaknesses.

 

You can argue it is time to change a historic fact, but to continue arguing that somehow all problems in education are rooted in the separate systems is bizarrely naïve for someone who should know first hand the problems are much, much bigger than that.  Like BA I am open to a debate on this issue, but to date I have seen no pressing reason to take my rights away; rights guaranteed my family even before Confederation.  To pretend I do not have this historic right is not the way to convince me, or lots of other parents, or soon to be grandparents, that it might be time to change.  It is still within our living memory of fighting to get that right acknowledged.  And didn't the NDP historically support that right- and now you want the NDP to spearhead taking my right away?  How freaking weird is that?

 Personally I think the approach being advocated by some on here, which you and others poo-poo, is in fact the only way this issue could be dealt with without a very, very ugly election.  Anti-Catholic prejudice is still alive and well in a lot of places, particularly amongst older people – you know that age group where we all went to school together before Davis instituted public financing allowing schools to open for my children, and everything was peace and tolerance.  We saw a bit of it in the last provincial election and many Green supporters were expressing that, but an explicit campaign will bring out an undercurrent of intolerance that is still very prevalent in a lot of communities.  And it will get very ugly fast.

Tommy_Paine

It strikes me that there is a way to deal with this, and that's as an economic issue.  If a case can be made that it's cheaper to have one public system, then the issue should be brought up. 

 Don't get me wrong. There's time for principled arguements, and a truly secular government should be part of any principled person's make up. 

 But there's also such a thing as time and place.   Introducing a religious arguement while the economic roof is caving in isn't exactly principled, either. 

It's a distraction from issues of higher priority.  And if the tories or liberals were bringing this up now, we'd be first to accuse them of trying to distract the electorate.

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

Left J.A.B. wrote:
 I think the approach being advocated by some on here, which you and others poo-poo, is in fact the only way this issue could be dealt with without a very, very ugly election.  Anti-Catholic prejudice is still alive and well in a lot of places, particularly amongst older people – you know that age group where we all went to school together before Davis instituted public financing allowing schools to open for my children, and everything was peace and tolerance.  We saw a bit of it in the last provincial election and many Green supporters were expressing that, but an explicit campaign will bring out an undercurrent of intolerance that is still very prevalent in a lot of communities.  And it will get very ugly fast.
I think better than you of the people of Ontario. I think that anti-Catholic prejudice is a thing of the past, except amongst the kind of religious bigots who would love to have the privileges that the Catholics now enjoy extended to themselves.

 As we saw last election, they did not constitute a winning plurality for John Tory's Tories. 

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