31 August 2007

Religious schooling for none!

He hasn't even been elected yet, but candidate for the Ontario premiership, John Tory, has gone straight to the bottom of the barrel with his plan to fund all faith-based schools in the province. Already dead to me before he even had a chance to do anything, tsk tsk. Shame really, though entirely expectable I'm afraid – with a last name like 'Tory' he had nowhere to go but down.

For those not in the know: way back in the days of Upper and Lower Canada, two separate school systems were set up to protect the religious freedoms of Protestants and Catholics. Over time the Protestant system became secular and most provinces realised that schools are for learning while churches are for religion, and subsequently merged the two systems together. Ontario, however, decided to eschew this crazy, new-fangled, division-of-church-and-state thinking and has held on to the two systems, spending public money to fund both the secular and Catholic systems. — I don't know about you, but I'd prefer not to have my taxes go to the No Gays, Condom-free, Pope-raganda Hate machine of the Catholic School System, but that being said, provinces are actually constitutionally obligated to fund both systems.

Now instead of ignoring this constitutional requirement like all the other provinces have done*, Ontario continues to fund religious education for Catholics — but only for Catholics. Those who wish to send their children to private Jewish, Muslim or Protestant schools are on their own to foot the whole bill. This is obviously discriminatory. But rather than making it all even Steven by saying 'no funding for any faith-based education,' John Tory wants everyone to put a finger in the pie and spend $400 million to fund any pastor, imam or rabbi who wants to teach religion as fact.

Great, because the exact thing that Ontario needs is for hundreds of millions of dollars, which could be spent on homelessness, climate change or health care, to instead be spent teaching children the "facts" of Creationism.

Religion's place is not in a school –infuriating young minds à la Northern Ireland– but rather inside a church where it's easily avoidable for people who don't care.

Mr Tory, your policy is stupid and will serve only to further segregate more people from the Ontario mainstream. — Although, since religious people tend to be conservative, and the Ontario mainstream too lefty-loosy, perhaps this is exactly what you are intending. A generation of religious zealots to grow up and vote for you and your Conservative Party of Jerks. I see right through your smoke and mirrors and am putting you directly to 'Dead to Me' Level Two (just one step above your evil overlord Stephen Harper). Thankfully you will most likely lose the upcoming election and you can go back to obscurity where you belong and stop bothering decent secularists like me.


Anonymous said...

Hey! Glad to hear you finally sorted out the whole apartment thing, and can start moving on with moving on...hmmm..."Allow myself to introduce...myself."
Anyway...I was reading your blog and wanted to tell you how much I agree with you. As a public school teacher, the very idea of this offends me. Our public system was built on the idea of education for all. This includes people of all lifestyles, races, backgrounds, and learning abilities. Unfortunately, the Catholic system does not work this way. The public school system in Ontario is also based on the ideas of acceptance and understanding. In fact, the majority of the grade 2 social studies curriculum deals with Celebrations around the world. What a perfect opportunity to engage young people in a dialogue about the beauty of differences between people, and the fact that although we are diverse in many ways, there are fundamental traits that link us all. I could stay on my soap box all day...but i won't. :)


Jennifer said...

Catholic priests shouldn't be allowed near impressionable vulnerable children at all. Never mind being paid to do it. Bleh!
I love your new term Pope-raganda!
However, I'd like to point out that religion is only the dividing line in the N of Ireland, the problems there are much more to do with discrimination and by their evil overlords the British, than being about whether communion is the body of christ or just a commemorative wafer.

jolie-chan said...

i completely agree dan, i went to a catholic grade school and it was so isolating, to say the least. no attention was paid to world religion or cultural diversity, you know, when you are young and really need that kind of exposure!

Tokyo Tintin said...

Jenni- Sure, Northern Ireland is simply full of problems, but separate Catholic and Protestant school systems aren't doing a lot to promote tolerance and inclusiveness, as Jolie pointed out.

I was really just using N. Ireland as an example (that I knew would get you all up in arms, mwahahaah, you fell for my devilish plan).