The Ontario Liberal Party is losing me…

… and fast!

I know that there is more to the OLP than just this single issue. But this issue is very important to me as a voter and as someone who can be an ardent and vocal supporter (with cheque in hand), if I feel that my voice would be helpful.

But I am dismayed by the intransigence of the OLP with regard to the funding of Catholic schools in Ontario and its refusal to even consider the process of introducing a Constitutional amendment to end the province’s obligation to provide a Catholic education system. I’m now considering my options. Maybe the Ontario Liberal Party isn’t my home anymore.

Ontario can look at “modern and innovative” ways to cut costs in parallel public and Catholic school systems without ending $7 billion in funding for separate schools, says Education Minister Laurel Broten.

Her comments came Wednesday as the Green Party and others called for an end to the financial support after the Roman Catholic Church objected to parts of an anti-bullying bill designed to protect gay and lesbian students.

“The elephant in the room, public funding of Catholic schools, has become so destructive to fundamental rights and equality it’s impossible to ignore,” said Justin Trottier of the Centre for Inquiry, a secular humanist group and registered charity.

But Broten and Finance Minister Dwight Duncan insisted that there are no plans to reconsider the funding as the minority Liberal government struggles to eliminate a $15 billion annual deficit.

“We are not willing to embark on a conversation with respect to seeing an end to Catholic education, which is constitutionally protected,” Broten told reporters.

I am a Liberal and a liberal. I have been for years and I will continue to support the LPC until I have reason not to do so. Who is chosen as the next leader with be the watershed for me. If the federal party looks to the past and not to the future in its choice, then I may well say “adios”. I don’t want to do this, but I may be forced to.

The same applies to the OLP. I haven’t been as involved on the provincial political front as I have been locally or federally, but I do support most of what McGuinty has tried to accomplish (I’m sure to get a nasty comment or two for that sentence!). However their stance on separate school issue might push me away.

Maybe it already has.

Don’t slam the door on a public conversation about modernizing our schools

Toronto – The GPO is calling on the Liberal government to open the door for a public conversation about modernizing our schools by establishing a public commission to examine merging the best of the Catholic and public education systems.

“It’s wrong for the Liberal government to slam the door in the face of school boards, parents and students who want to talk about modernizing our schools,” says GPO leader Mike Schreiner. “We owe it to students to ensure that our schools are safe for all children and respect the diversity of our society.”

Yesterday, Education Minister Laurel Broten stated: “There are school boards that have advanced a desire to have a local conversation with respect to a merger. We have indicated to them that is not a conversation we’re willing to embark upon, and one that does not respect the constitutional rights of Catholic education.”

“Our Constitution is not a barrier to equality,” says Schreiner.  “We cannot accept the Minister’s plan to close schools and cut services while prohibiting a conversation about merging the Catholic and public school boards.”

Since the Constitution Act of 1982, provinces have enacted 10 constitutional amendments. Five have involved education rights, 4 of those affecting denominational education rights.  Section 43 of the Constitution prescribes the methods of passing and enacting these amendments.

The GPO supports a fair, financially responsible and high quality education system that does not fund one religion at the exclusion of all others.

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5 Comments to “The Ontario Liberal Party is losing me…”

  1. ted says:

    Important to note there is no talk about amalgamating small areas into big areas, rather each area only having 1 board. I mention this because some people are arguing its like Toronto’s amalgamation of the boroughs, which may not have saved anything after standardization of union contracts to the highest wage in each job catagory.

  2. Dave says:

    First let’s be real amalgamating small boards into big ones on the surface should save money but in reality seldom or never do. Collapsing the Catholic board into the public will trigger a humungous rise in the size of the one board and if there is any savings it will be decades in the future. THat said providing the population with 1 option to pay for a quality public education system will be a good thing. THe more people inside the nest the more people care to defend the nest when others say it costs too much. IF the Catholics wish to take their stand on gay alliances that’s ok with me. With any luck they’ll decide fro themselves they can’t allow government interference in their religious teaching and turn down the funding. Yeah that will be the day when the church turns away a free donation because of principle.

    • ted says:

      Undoubtedly it would take some time to merge and resize the boards but the savings in heating partially filled buildings, supporting 2 different ciriculums, busing less and more efficiently, 1/2 as many trustees, are a few areas where at least partial savings would be almost immediate.

      The truth is however no one knows how much can be saved until we study it, so lets do it.

  3. Ted says:

    I see no reason not to study the issue and see if Schreiner’s perceived savings are real. For my money the fairness issue and the GSA has proven reason enough to amalgamate but why not cement the case and see if education can be more cost effective with one board.

    You really have to wonder if personal and familial issues are overriding Dalton’s common sense?

    • trashee says:

      Fear is stopping any party from even mentioning that a study of the issue might be worthwhile. It’s a mighty large voter base that could get really pissed off.
      But the current system is simply not sustainable and the issue will need to be confronted by someone, sooner or later… and not just for cost reasons but for reasons of equity.
      And yes, I’m certain the Premier’s own personal views are playing a part.
      Thanks for visiting!

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