Ontario Separate Schools
I went to an Anglican school, dear readers.
I am perfectly fine with Ontario schoolchildren hearing about Jesus Christ, participating in Nativity plays, putting up a tree, and doing all that stuff.
I wouldn’t mind too much if the secular public schools were still Protestant, as they were until the 1980s.
I wouldn’t mind at all if all denominational schools were funded, where the numbers warranted — a Sikh school in Brampton, a Hindu school in Richmond Hill, even a Muslim school in Scarborough.
But I do mind the current system, and I especially mind being told that it isn’t unjust.
Ontarians get this, I think. I can cite polling:
A recent Forum Research Inc. poll suggests a divided Ontario.
The survey found that 53% of Ontarians don’t believe Catholic schools should receive public money, 40% favour continued funding and 6% were unsure.
Supporters for all four main political parties in Ontario — Tory, Liberal, NDP and Green — were more likely to oppose Catholic school funding.
The majority of Green Party supporters, 60%, disagreed with funding the schools — a position the party also endorses.
Tory supporters were the next political group most likely to disagree with Catholic school funding — 58% against versus 40% in favour.
New Democrat backers also disagreed with funding the separate school system, 53% to 41%.
Even Liberal supporters, the most likely to endorse the funding, still disagreed with funding 48% to 44%.
What do I propose? Well, Quebec and Newfoundland reformed their systems in the 1990s — all it takes is a single-province constitutional amendment under s. 43 of the Constitution Act.
I’d call a plebiscite into the question, “Should the Province of Ontario fund denominational (religious) schools or not, as part of its public system?”
If the answer is yea, I’d fund all denominational schools where the numbers warrant. If the answer is nay, I’d move to a purely secular system. And I’d table a constitutional amendment to change s. 93 to reflect this new reality.
I’m fine with going one way or the other; the status quo is a nagging injustice.