05.29.2012 06:22 AM

Free solution for Catholic educators worried about “gay-straight alliances”

Promise to stop taking billions in taxpayer dollars. If you dislike what the government’s doing, stop taking government money, okay?

You’re welcome.

50 Comments

  1. Cromwell says:

    There should be one secular school system run by the state, period. I don’t know why anybody would entrust their children to any religious denomination in this country after what happened with residential schools.

    • Nic Coivert says:

      The split system is draining the coffers for sure.

      The Catholic school system makes religion mandatory every year and makes young girls wear short skirts.

      They should be lanced like boils.

    • Tim Sullivan says:

      Residential schools and the constitutionally-mandated separate (Catholic) school system in Ontario are hardly comparable, in function, purpose, administration or execution.

      • Cromwell says:

        That’s quite a defensive reply. The point is that the education of children should be entrusted to servants of the state who are directly accountable to the state and its elected representatives, not religious orders, as was the case with residential schools.

        The Constitution Act 1867 guarantees the rights of Catholic Schools to exist, but says nothing about their funding. Warren makes the point that the Catholic boards can simply choose to give back the money collected from taxpayers if they don’t want to defend the constitutional right of children to assemble and express themselves as they wish.

  2. JamesHalifax says:

    Warren, I think that is the Liberals’ plan.

    tick off the Catholics so much….the DO stop taking any government funding.

    Given the Catholic school board is almost indistinct from what it once was….I don’t see it being a problem.

  3. JamesHalifax says:

    Warren, I think that is the Liberals’ plan.

    tick off the Catholics so much….they DO stop taking any government funding.

    Given the Catholic school board is almost indistinct from what it once was….I don’t see it being a problem.

  4. JamesHalifax says:

    Sorry Warren, please drop the first two. I had some computer issues.

  5. sj says:

    This makes me sad. If anyone needs a supportive group within their school it is gay teens going to Catholic school. It seems so far from the message of their Christ.

    • Warren says:

      It is also completely contrary to the Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church.

      • Tim Sullivan says:

        Jesus did not mention homosexuality once in the Gospels.

      • Michael S says:

        Something has to go. Cardinal Collins just started the clock ticking on an amending Section 93 of the 1982 Constitution Act. Quebec and Newfoundland/Labrador tweaked the constitution regarding separate schools, why not Ontario?

        Provincial legislation requesting the Feds amend Section 93 creates a nice bomb to lay at the feet of Stephen Harper. But you know that already.

        • Tiger says:

          Not much of a bomb — the federal government typically rubber-stamps provinces’ requests for amendments that touch only on their jurisdiction. As we saw with Quebec and Newfoundland.

        • John says:

          Well, there is always the famous “NOTWITHSTANDING” clause of the Constitution… you know, that clause that Mulroney hated (so it’s got to be good), that allows a government of the people to change a clause or law notwithstanding the judicial mandate of the Supreme Court… or something like that. Someone much brighter than I can provide the correct language.

          On another note, re the gay and straight clubs at school, and concern over the use of the word… and the existence (perish or parish the thought…) of gays, lesbians, and transgendered persons in high school, maybe it’s time to dust off Reginald Bibby’s sociological survey of Roman Catholic priests in Canada which found that 80% are gay (he did not go on to determine if they were practicing or not).

          • Lou says:

            “Reginald Bibby’s sociological survey of Roman Catholic priests in Canada which found that 80% are gay (he did not go on to determine if they were practicing or not).”

            Bibby has done a lot of surveys and has tonnes of data, but this is a joke, right?

  6. Mike Foulds says:

    I love Catholics. Great people.
    I hate our Separate School System.
    Please let Dalton know that if her really wants to reform the education system he should get his savings from ending the funding to a religious education system. Offer religion classes in every public school and you meet the constitutional requirements. He could win votes this way.

    • Ted B says:

      Not sure how there is any savings in this.

      Those kids still need to go to school and will not be going to private Catholic school.

      The only way around this is a Constitutional amendment which is long overdue. And no one ever goes down that route because they know they would lose out to a motivated Catholic base hearing it in the pulpit and the classroom every day.

      It will take a leader with guts… and a majority.

      • JenS says:

        Really? You see no duplication in the fact coterminous boards, Catholic and public, have duplicate administrations? There’s not per pupil funding savings, but savings are huge at the administrative level, to say nothing of operating costs to keep open more buildings than are necessary. We already have enormous amounts of excess space on Ontario schools – combine populations, and buildings can close.

  7. Brammer says:

    Agree absolutely.

    Merge the boards and stop funding religious based schools with taxpayer money. Apart from the non-monetary gains for society, the cash savings alone would be significant in terms of removing duplicate administration and infrastructure.

    The UN was right on this one.

    • Tim Sullivan says:

      The Constitution governs our country, not the UN.

      • Michael S says:

        Amend Section 93 of the Constitution. Newfoundland & Labrador, Manitoba and Quebec did with simple majority votes in their legislatures recognized and followed up by the federal government passing legislation. All that is needed is will at Queen’s Park.

        • Tim Sullivan says:

          Just because it CAN be done does not mean it SHOULD be done. Before a government proceeds to deny minority rights, it better be right.

  8. Matt says:

    I think it’s time to get a group of smart (independent of either board of course) financial folks together and figure out what the merging of the two into one system could cost/save. I’m pretty sure that the savings would be pretty large and in many ways taking the top folks from each board and making one could well result in a better and more focused Education system here in Ontario. Amazing how this has all come to pass…

  9. I would suggest that Catholics are not “taking government money”. We are directing our own tax dollars to our own system of schooling, in the same way that people who send their children to the public board direct their own tax dollars to their preferred schooling option.

    @Brammer @MikeFoulds: there is no proof that merging school boards would generate “significant” financial savings. There would still need to be the same number of trustees, administrators, buildings, etc. overseeing the other 50% of students who move into the public system. They would just be labelled public system.

    • Nic Coivert says:

      Everyone for themselves then eh? Muslim schools, Jewish schools, Hindu Schools, Buddhist Schools, Mormon schools…

      • Tim Sullivan says:

        No, it was not a condition of the population at the time. It was a condition which facilitated Confederation. Anyone arriving after the founding, and I challenge you to identify if there were any Muslims, Hindus or Buddhists in Canada at the time (I don’t know if there were any, but I’d be hard pressed to know if there were enough to make demands of a minority in Ontario) arrive to our constitution.

      • EAB says:

        I remember when education taxes were separate from provincial taxes. Taxpayers had to check a box to indicate whether they wanted their education dollars to go to the Public or Separate boards… Maybe we should go back to that model?

    • patrick deberg says:

      Jason,

      there is no sin in being homosexual. Any more than in being hetersexual. The gay alliance clubs are there to promote the idea of ” where three or more are gathered in my name” as taken from scripture. They take solace in the fact jesus loves them too. Why do you object to this basic tenant of scripture? The gospel of John talks about love and you talk about the principal of rendering to Ceasar. As a Catholic I find it offensive that you would deny these children comfort in the arms of god. Was there not something about millstones in the new testament?

      • @Patrick, you should be careful not to fall into the sin of rash judgment (Please consult the Catechism #2477-2478).

        You accuse me of a) stating that being homosexual is sinful, b) objecting to basic tenants of the Gospel, and c) denying children comfort in the arms of God. I ask you to re-read my comment. You will find nothing there to suggest even one of those things.

        Instead, I responded to Mr. Kinsella’s argument about funding.

        • Patrick Deberg says:

          Sigh…….

          Ok Jason lets play the red herring game you so love. So your tax dollars are directed to your schools and this is justification to eliminate the word gay from a club? Tell me Jason if a club in a catholic school is started up what would you call it to remain acceptable? Or would you just refuse the existence altogether? This is the same old argument that lives on no matter where it rears it’s head and what it’s called. Because you want to dress it up in the clothing of ” tax dollars distribution”‘ still does not make it civilized. You can’t make gays disappear if you pray hard enough. Time has proven that. This is not just about taxes Jason or this conversation would not even occur. It’s about you wanting to go all old testament because it’s part of your “teachings.” Please do not insult my intelligence by hiding all reasons for this spat in funding fight. Lets chase the red herrings to their conclusion.

          Please answer the few questions I respectfully submit to you,
          1 How do you personally feel about the homosexual person inside your church?
          2 Does banning gay groups in catholic schools not go against the gospel of John?
          3 If you feel that such groups are not aligned with the catholic church are you not disallowing these children the rights to discover Jesus on terms they can live with?

          I await your honest replies

    • JenS says:

      Jason, your response is factually incorrect on an array of levels. If you merge boards, do you need two directors? Hardly. And that’s just the beginning of the administrative duplication that could be eliminated. Beyond that, you may want to check into how much of the total cost of education is covered by what is charged on the municipal tax bill, and how much comes out of general revenues.

  10. Cynical says:

    Don’t use savings as a justification for merging the boards. The shotgun marriages performed by Harris during the Dark Years mostly did not save money, and a lot was spent in the short term, and wasted, on attempting to align the many differences between pre-merger boards. I know, as I built a plan to help two boards merge IT infrastructure and and actually save money, and watched from the sidelines as it was wrecked by politicking among go-along-to-get-along senior administrators and shortsighted board members, aided and abetted by self-interested pseudo-techies. Economies of scale are already in effect, and in many areas Catholic and non-religious boards cooperate on “commodity” services like transportation and purchasing.

    As you say, all those kids still have to go to school, and teacher payroll costs are the biggest component of educational costs (as they should be).

    I do agree that the public Catholic system should be eliminated. As a citizen, it offends me that employment is barred to non-Catholics in these boards, and that my tax dollars go to bussing kids to political rallys promoting things I find abhorrent. (Not unaware of the irony around the GSA issue, so don’t shit on me for that!)

    At the time that full funding was introduced, I can recall at least one large Catholic independent school stating that it would take no public funds because it would compromise Catholic education. I noticed recently, driving by it, that it is now part of a large suburban Catholic board. So much for principle.

    When you take the Queen’s shilling….

    I have much respect for the teachers and principals that work in the Catholic system, as they are often far more open in their viewpoints than their trustees. I have many friends still working there who chafe under the distant supervision of a few elected dinosaurs, and do the best they can to do well by their kids.

    As an atheist, I suppose I am expected to make a few nasty comments about religion and religious schools in general, but I am moderating in old age. I also don’t want to disrespect the religious among you, including our host. But this controversy does not show the religious community, either Catholics or evangelicals with whom they have oddly made common cause, in the best of light.

  11. Neil N says:

    Catholic school boards receive funding from the Ministry of Education (which is paid for by all of us) on a per-student basis. Wouldn’t it be nice if Jewish or Muslim or Hindu schools had the same privilege?

    As for your statement that merger would not create significant savings, are you serious? My hometown, Timmins is served by four school boards – English public, English separate, French public, French separate. Reducing those to two or even one would eliminate the need for 20-25 trustees right there, to say nothing of local administration costs. And it’s hard to believe there wouldn’t be scope for consolidation of capital properties in what is a pretty modestly-populated region.

    I actually find myself hoping that the TDCSB is stupid enough to take the government to court over the Gay-Straight Alliance issue. It’ll be just one more thing to bring the inequity (and inefficiency) of our system to public attention.

    • Tim Sullivan says:

      Ask John Tory if it would be nice.

    • Ted B says:

      How big are the trustee and school board budgets in Timmins? I would expect to see savings from merging, but certainly not significant savings. These are, relatively speaking, small ticket items compared to the building, teacher, supplies costs of a school.

      Not trying to downplay how preferable it would be to get rid of separate school boards, and it would be much preferable, but arguing the cost savings is not really one of them.

      I really would prefer an out-and-out discussion of the appropriateness, in today’s Canada, of having the state fund religious education.

      And then to go from there to making a Constitutional amendment.

      I don’t like Harper mucking around with the senate without doing it properly and I don’t like here equally.

  12. peter paul says:

    Of course! It’s those evil kilt-wearing Catholic girls who are bankrupting the system. Not the elementary-school teachers making $90K with government-backed DB pension plans.

  13. JamesHalifax says:

    Warren, you wrote,
    “If you dislike what the Government’s doing, stop taking Government money. ”

    As you know, there are a lot of groups out there receiving Federal Government money, who absolutely hate what the current Government is doing. What do you think the reaction would be of those groups if a Federal Conservative MP said it?

    Not saying I disagree with your sentiment (I actually agree with it), but I think your comment can be directed at the aforementioned groups.

    Just asking.

  14. Pat says:

    I was waiting for someone to say this.

  15. Tiger says:

    De La Salle re-privatized over a fight with the province in the mid-1990s, no?

    It happens, sometimes.

  16. JamesHalifax says:

    Serge, ….the issue isn’t bullying in schools.

    The real issue is the Catholic church’s view towards homosexuality. Instead of taking on the church…they’ll take on the church’s schools.

    They’re not fooling anyone, but hey…this is Canada. We have to pretend.

    Personnally, as an athiest….I don’t give a fig about it. I didn’t agree with the rules of the “club” so I didn’t join.

    I don’t care who you marry, or who you choose to fall in love with. To each his/her own.

  17. Liam Young says:

    I’m done: I’ve had it with hearing folks from the Separate School Board complain about civilized people asking for tolerance.

    How do we get them off the public teat? This is ENOUGH!!!

    • Harry says:

      That “public teat” you refer to, Catholics pay into as well. So if you want to stop publicly funding them, then you likewise would have to stop taxing them! But that logic escapes you doesn’t it??

  18. MCBellecourt says:

    One can be faithful without falling for the man-made tripe borne of organized religion. I daresay organized religion causes more problems than it solves, and it was glaringly apparent in the Catholic school I was forced to attend. Bullying was rampant to the point of class war. The rich kids ran roughshod over the poor kids, often with the teachers (nuns) turning a blind eye, and I witnessed the principal of that school beat a kid’s hands to a blistering mess with a leather strop for some insignificant reason (it was obvious that the principal didn’t like the kid’s family).

    I slathered that kid’s hands with Blistex in an attempt at some sort of first-aid, and found myself ostracised by both teachers and bully brats for the rest of my time there. After maintaining a bubble of neutrality for several years there, that got blown because I decided that an act of mercy was called for. For a young kid, that is a harsh way to seperate the true faithful from the bullshitmeisters that infect all gathering of the faithful.

    When I finished there (Grade 7), I swore off the Catholic Church for life. I am absolutely certain that God and his Son are not the fire-and-brimstone assholes that these churches porport them to be, and this mass fraud perpetrated on innocent children needs to stop before we can truly progress as a species.

    I haven’t attended church since then, and have no intention of ever doing so again.

    “The Kingdom Of God is all around you, and inside you, not in buildings of bricks and stone. Whosoever understands this shall not face death” (condensed quote from The Gospel Of St. Thomas, found on scrolls in a cave in Nag Hamedi in 1945, and condemned by the Vatican as heresy).

  19. Andre says:

    Who owns the buildings of the Catholic schools? That would be a tricky legal question, given that some of the buildings and the land occupied by Catholic schools was there before full government funding kicked in under Bill Davis.
    If the Catholic Church owns the buildings and the lands, and decides to fight to keep them pending a government takeover/expropriation, then merging the two systems could be very messy indeed.
    If anyone has any knowledge on this, please post.

  20. Christian says:

    Agreed. If they don’t want the province involved than they should stop taking money. That being said I don’t think the province should be funding a religious based school system in the first place. There should be 1 publically funded secular school system.

    • MCBellecourt says:

      Exactly. With uniformity of the school system and uniformity of standards (hopefully high standards), there can also be consistent policies regarding bullying and student society issues, clearly understood and agreed upon by all. Consistency is the key to success in such endeavors. With the dog’s breakfast we have now, kids (and their teachers) wind up being confused and the fundamentals and foundations of education suffers.

      The current situation is not fair to teachers, not fair to taxpayers, but most importantly, it’s not fair to the kids.

  21. JamesHalifax says:

    Many here seem to agree that the Catholic’s should fund their own schools. I’m in that group as well, though it was promised to them during Confederation. We’d clearly have to make a few changes.

    Constitutional changes….never easy, so don’t hold your breath.

    Easier change. Every parent that wants to send their kids to Catholic school would be given an equivalent tax break to fund their schools. This would allow funding for the Catholic schools by the parents of those kids, and the Public schools would continue to receive the funding they currently receive. Net effect should be zero if both the Catholic and public schools receive the same funding.

    Again….won’t hold breath, as the real issue is NOT funding. It’s ideology.

  22. Harry says:

    The thing that you seem to be missing is that Catholics also PAY taxes. So with your reasoning, if the Government does not want to fund the Catholic Schools, they should not be taking money from the Catholics. This is Double Dipping, collecting taxes, but then telling them to pay for it themselves. It’s like making everyone pay taxes for roads, but then telling one group they should build their own roads with their own money. You can’t have both, if the government doesn’t want to pay, then don’t collect!! Something that escapes you Liberal Left wing “deep thinkers”! Gee, and if the religious stopped their charity work, the Government would be on the hook for most likely billions more to fill in the void left by these charities!

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