Alexandre Brassard, Ph.D: Which Ontario Candidate Will Dare Address Separate School Funding?

Alexandre Brassard, Ph.D: Which Ontario Candidate Will Dare Address Separate School Funding?
"....Section 93 of the 1867 Constitution Act protects Catholic School Boards, but nothing is stopping Ontario from initiating a bilateral amendment with Ottawa. The procedure is legitimate and straightforward. It's already been done in Quebec, as well as in Newfoundland and Labrador. Clearly, the obstacles are political, not legal. In Ontario, the separate schools issue was controversial in 1985 and 2007, and the three major parties now support the status quo.

The Conservative Party is a traditional ally of religious groups, and it would risk alienating this electoral base if it promoted secularism. John Tory thought he had found a fair solution during the last election, promising to fund schools of every religion. But the proposal sparked an outcry and contributed to his electoral defeat. His successor, Tim Hudak, has learned his lesson -- he now scrupulously avoids the subject.

Ever since Mitchell Hepburn sat in the premier's office, the Liberals have usually been able to count on the Catholic vote. So it's no surprise that they too support the current system. The McGuinty government has developed an excellent equity and inclusion policy for schools, but it has not dared to impose it on uncooperative schools. As for Andrea Horwath, she is also reluctant to make waves, perhaps because the Catholic teachers' union supports the NDP.

The religious segregation of our children is expensive, regressive and unfair. It's high time we secularize Ontarios French and English schools. Politicians will take great pains to avoid the subject, so it's up to us to make it an issue during this election campaign..."