1. Publicly-funded separate schools violate democratic principles
Never, in the history of Ontario, has any government received a mandate from the people to retain or enlarge the publicly-funded separate school system.
Today, public opinion polls consistently show that an increasing number of Ontario citizens support one public school system. [See “School Referendum”] A poll by Forum Research reported in the February 21st, 2013 issue of the Toronto Sun showed that 54% of the 1,053 persons polled, opposed the public funding of the Roman Catholic separate school system while only 39% supported the funding.
2. Separate schools violate our rights
The Supreme Court of Canada has confirmed that the existence of a publicly-funded separate school system is a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Also, Canada has signed, and has pledged to uphold, all articles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a human rights document of the United Nations. By the spring of 2013, Canada/Ontario will have been admonished for the fourth time with regard to the non-action of both governments to correct the abuse.
Article 26 of the Covenant ensures individuals equal treatment and prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion.
Civil Rights in Public Education takes the position that international law, which is binding on Canada, supersedes any discriminatroy provisions which may exist under the Canadian Constitution.
3. Duplicate systems increase total costs
A driving force behind the call to reform education in Ontario is a serious concern amongst the citizenry that the public school system is being diluted by the austerity measures adopted by the government.
In the early 1990s, the Ministry of Education admited that, each year, the extra costs of teaching one third of all Ontario students in separate facilities has reached over $200 million. Today, 3 different calculations indicate that the extra annual cost in between $1.2 and $1.4 billion each and every year. (See CRIPE newesletter #111 for Spring 2013.) All citizens share this extra cost through higher taxes or reduced social services. (Hospital services, the disabled, special needs children, for example.)
From 1985, to the end of 1993, the total cost of extending full funding to separate high schools, including new separate high schools, has cost Ontario taxpayers a total of $3,217 Billion! Today the extra annual cost is over $1,000,000,000 each year.
The Supreme Court has ruled that provinces have absolute authority over education and may legislate in this area as they see fit.
The province thus has the power to eliminate public funding to the separate school system by passing an Act to that effect in the Ontario Legislature.
Or, Ontario may choose to pass a bill to change the Constitution of Canada as it applies to Ontario, as did Quebec and Newfoundland. (See separate pages for these and for Manitoba.)
As long as this injustice continues, the blame lies squarely on the shoulders of both federal and Ontario politicians.