Monday, July 23, 2007

Shopping for Votes in Ontario

According to the CTV Mr. Tory has an idea about how to spend some of my money.

What the fuck? Ontario Provincial Con leader John Tory figures he can make some political hay by promising to shell out some of those good, good tax dollars to "faith based schools". Well Mr. Tory, how about we return to the 21st century. How about we de-fund the Catholic school system and give public money to public schools. Parents are welcome to place their children in religious schools or private schools and more power to them. But we shouldn't be sharing the bill. You want a specialized and separate education, fine, pay for it yourself.

Tory is trying to pull a fast one and hell, full points for greasing the pig there J.T.,

"I want to reach out to parents and children currently outside of the system of public education and invite them in," Tory said. "I want children of all faiths to be part of ... a system that reflects our shared Canadian values."

Yeah, right. These parents are placing their kids in different schools precisely because they do not want to be part a system that reflects our shared Canadian values. We live in a rich, multi-cultural province. The public school system exists to provide a standardized, high quality and free education to the public, supported by tax revenues. I went through school with mostly white, western derived kids. They were from a variety of christian sects, some were religious, some weren't. One of my best friends was Jewish. Me, I left the Catholic school system after the 1st grade convinced that God was a fairy tale and that child abuse wasn't an effective educative tool.

As I got older and more immigrant families arrived, we were joined in school by kids of Kurdish, Pakistani, Indian, Egyptian and numerous other backgrounds. We each believed or didn't believe as we saw fit. We also, largely, got along okay. There were some issues of bigotry that were resolved quite effectively with a reading of the riot act. We got to know each other and learned to get along and we even actually learned a bit about each other's cultures and faiths. I would never have experienced a Bar Mitzvah if my buddy Seth had gone to the Beth Jacob School. I wouldn't have learned a lot if we'd all been taught in separate enclaves. The most important thing we wouldn't have learned is how to coexist peacefully and accept each others differences and appreciate our many similarities.

And Tory is a slick act, he needs to put lipstick on this pig, so...

"But Tory (sic) it shouldn't be done without extensive consultation and thought -- so he pledged to bring in the man who initially gave funds to Ontario's Catholic schools in the 80s.
The Opposition leader said he'd appoint former premier Bill Davis to look at the plan's feasibility. With the green light from Davis, Tory said pilot projects could begin around fall of next year."

Because really, who's going to be in a better place to understand the nuances of buying non-secular votes than the guy who pioneered that shit in the '80s?

"There are some 53,000 students attending religious schools outside the public system and they deserve the same support children who attend Catholic schools currently get, Tory said.
All religions should be treated fairly and schools should reflect Ontario's diversity in the 21st century, he added."

Well, he has a point there. All of those kids deserve the same level of publicly funded support as kids in the Catholic system. And that level of deserved support would be none. Why are we giving public money to one of the world's wealthiest organizations? Let's face it, if little Pope Ratzo wants to help the kids he could sell a few hundred thousand hectares, open the Vatican vaults and liquidate some of the plunder, treasure and spoils to get it done. I'm in favour of treating all the religions fairly and equally. If all of those diverse communities and faiths want to engage in the beautiful diversity of Ontario in the 21st century, let's give them the very finest public education system in the world. I'd happily pay for that.

Mr. Tory, quit shopping for votes with my tax dollars. Fix the education system we have before you go adding layers of bureaucracy, red tape, expense and bullshit to the price tag. This is a cheap (well, very expensive actually) and transparent attempt to buy some votes.


Adam C said...

...and if he gets elected, we're going to be stuck with it. I'd like to be rid of public funding for Catholic schools too, but I can see that it would be expensive, logistically problematic (there aren't generally vacant schools waiting to pick up the slack) and disruptive to families. It's a lot easier to get into this mess than it is to get out of it.

M@ said...

I don't have such a big problem with funding Catholic schools -- they already well-established, they are a major part of the schooling infrastructure, and they are required to take all students regardless of religion.

When other faith-based schools can make the same claims, they can get funding.

thwap said...

I wasn't a religious person when the Catholic schools got full-funding. But at the time I recall hearing that it had been promised to the French as part of Confederation that their schools would be supported, but then Protestant British Ontario welched on the deal.

So I supported it as the belated keeping of a long-neglected promise.

I don't support funding for any other denominations because there's no such history.

Their cries of "why should we be taxed to support public education while paying for our own?" makes as much sense as someone who chose to build a separate road system to drive to work at their own expense who is grumbling about having to pay for the public roads. Nobody forced either party to build somethting at their own expense.

Finally, it appears that Newfoundland and Labrador managed to secularize their education system. Ontario should look at that.

John Tory was supposed to be a moderate, now he's sniffing after the same-old retrograde class of voter that all "conservatives" appear to need.

Kyle Lahnakoski said...

CC, just call it for what it is: apartheid.

CC said...


Just being pedantic, but PSA is the author of this post, not me.

Ti-Guy said...

What a mess. No way out. I'd not shed a tear for the phasing out of the separate school system (in which I was educated until grade 8 and which did a damn fine job...but then, the separate system functioned as the de facto public education system for francophones up until very recently), but there's just no way in hell I'm going to support every nutbar faith getting to call its indoctrination "education."

E in MD said...

You want a specialized and separate education, fine, pay for it yourself.

Here here.

Oxford County Liberals said...

I should state here that Catholic (or separate) school funding is protected under the original BNA Act. It would be rather hard to remove it.. and if someone tried, there would be hell to pay, literally.

Ontario by the way, has been cited by the UN twice since 1999 for being discriminatory against faith-based schools for refusing to fund them like the Public and separate school boards. You either have to find all of them or none of them.. and since funding none of them is not realistic, I believe funding all of them is the proper thing to do. It removes discrimination.

Lindsay Stewart said...

interesting comment scott. i was under the impression, that in ontario, public funding was implemented under bill davis. old as he is the british north america act is slightly older. i'll dig a little deeper into this. cheers.