Why do Ontario politicians protect the public funding of separate schools with LIES, EVASIONS, PROPAGANDA, & MYTHS ???
Here are the facts.
In view of Ontario’s decision to publicly fund the schools of one denomination of one religion, it exists in a schizophrenic world permeated by diametrically opposite values and principles.
Why – in this age of equality and reason is Ontario operating in this inequitable manner?
And why do the elected members of the Legislature defend the status quo with stonewalling and evasions, repeating slogans that belie the truth?
It has been said that: “Imposed on top of our political structure is a religious organization with medieval values, interested only in its own power. It represents only one portion of one faith group, but its actions betoken that of a powerful state within our political state. In some invisible way, this politically motivated Christian group has imposed itself between us and our human and civil rights in a manner that is a violation of our democratic system.”
The Ontario government has rejected giving any precedence to the Sharia Law which Muslims requested, saying that there is only one law in Ontario. The same government has now ruled that tobacco smoke is a violation of our right to clean air.
Consistency would indicate that this government should recognize that they must do the same for our religious freedom and eliminate the funding for a separate school system that favours only one group.
Yes, there is a strong minority claiming that the smoking ban is a violation of their right to choose, but the government is placing clean air above that claim. Do they not realize that the aroma of privilege is just as offensive to our being as the smell of smoke in a crowded room?
Ontario can wave the wand and clear the air of separate privilege in just as easy a manner, despite our MPPs who claim it is very hard to accomplish and would involve Constitutional change.
The failure of government to do this only proves the insidious grip of a too-powerful church in our democratic society.
For the most part, the following pages are consolidations of previous newsletter articles and show the many ways we have been given false information, and have been treated as second class citizens in a country that prides itself on equality and freedom.
The big lie: There is a “constitutional obligation” to publicly fund RC separate schools
The truth: The constitution contains no such obligation
First of all it is instructive to know that the Hon. Michael Bryant, Attorney General of Ontario, wrote in a letter of December 2005, that: “Ontario continues to uphold its constitutional obligations by providing full funding to public and Roman Catholic schools.” With such a pronouncement coming from the legal branch of the provincial government, it is no wonder that there is the perception that this is the truth.
However, when pressed for the section of the constitution which spells out such an obligation, the office could not do so, because there is none, and responded with “…neither the Attorney General nor his Ministry’s staff is permitted to provide legal advice or opinion to members of the public…” (The full story of this exchange is on the page “Ontario Human Rights Commission”.
The truth is that in 1867 certain provincial education acts were in place, and part (1) of s. 93 of the Constitution says they are to stay in place. But when the Legislature decides to make a change, s. 93(3) spells out the process for doing so, a procedure which is entirely political. The Constitution gives the provinces absolute power over education but the mandated process for change guards against frivolous or premature abrogation of denominational privilege.
For a technical analysis of this procedure, follow the explanation on this page and the next.
Extract from the Constitution Act, 1867
93. In and for each Province the Legislature may exclusively make Laws in relation to Education, subject and according to the following Provisions: –
(1) Nothing in any such Law shall prejudicially affect any Right or Privilege with respect to Denominational Schools which any Class of Persons have by Law in the Province at the Union:
(2) All the Powers, Privileges, and Duties at the Union by Law conferred and imposed in Upper Canada on the Separate Schools and School Trustees of the Queen’s Roman Catholic Subjects shall be and the same are hereby extended to the Dissentient Schools of the Queen’s Protestant and Roman Catholic Subjects in Quebec:
(3) Where in any Province a System of Separate or Dissentient Schools exists by Law at the Union or is thereafter established by the Legislature of the Province, an Appeal shall lie to the Governor General in Council from any Act or Decision of any Provincial Authority affecting any Right or Privilege of the Protestant or Roman Catholic Minority of the Queen’s Subjects in relation to Education:
(4) In case any such Provincial Law as from Time to Time seems to the Governor General in Council requisite for the due Execution of the Provisions of this Section is not made, or in case any Decision of the Governor General in Council on any Appeal under this Section is not duly executed by the proper Provincial Authority in that Behalf, then and in every such Case, and as far only as the Circumstances of each Case require, the Parliament of Canada may make remedial Laws for the due Execution of the provisions of this Section and of any Decision of the Governor General in Council under this Section.
The opening words of section 93, as interpreted by the Supreme Court of Canada, give absolute power to the provinces to govern education, subject to conditions in sub-sections (1) to (4).
Sub-section (1) under section 93 is the sub-section that supporters of the Roman Catholic separate school system turn to in order to make their case. However, what they omit, is that this is only one of four “…following Provisions.”
Section (1) refers to “Denominational Schools” which, in at least one case, the Supreme Court has defined as those schools located in Montreal and Quebec City. There are no “Denominational Schools”, as so defined, in the Ontario Education Act. There are only “separate schools”.
However, the Government of Canada does not seem to make any distinction between “denominational” schools and “separate” schools. Reference to the “Report of the Special Joint Committee to amend Section 93 of the Constitution Act, 1867, concerning the Quebec School System” illustrates this.
On page 1, under “introduction”, it states, in part: “Specifically, with respect to Quebec, section 93(1) entrenches the rights of Roman Catholic and Protestant groups to acquire and maintain denominational school structures in the cities of Montreal and Quebec, and section 93(2) gives the members of those two faiths, outside of Montreal and Quebec City, the right to dissentient schools when those persons are a minority.
“Sections 93(3) and (4) establish a right of appeal to the Governor General in Council, in the event that legislation enacted by a province does not comply with sections 93(1) and (2)…” Note that 93(1), which relates to “denominational” schools is included with “separate” and “dissentient” schools as having a right to appeal. But whether Ontario’s publicly-funded religious schools are defined as denominational or not, section 93(3) singles out Ontario’s “separate” schools.
From a simple reading of sub-section (3) we find that this sub-section of the constitution provides a “protection” for the continuation of the separate school provisions as they existed before Confederation in 1867. No “guarantee”, just a protection.
What it says, in simple terms, is that if the Ontario Legislature wishes to change anything, with regard to existing provisions, which affects any “right or privilege” of either the Protestant or Roman Catholic minority, then the affected party has only one recourse — an appeal to the Governor General in Council — which is the federal Cabinet. Note that the words are “…an Appeal shall lie…”, that is an Appeal to the federal Cabinet is the ONLY route. This is not a legal appeal — the courts have no say in this – it is a political appeal.
The only thing the courts could do is to read section 93(3) and note that, under the Constitution of Canada, they are not allowed to monkey with this process.
This brings us to sub-section (4). In essence, this sub-section says that if an appeal has been initiated, and a decision is made by the Cabinet against the province, the province would be asked to restore the right or privilege that was prejudicially affected. If the province refuses, (as did Manitoba when it eliminated its full funding of Roman Catholic separate schools) Parliament may introduce and pass federal legislation to force the province to conform.
Note: Parliament may. Again permissive, again political.
When section 93 is taken in its entirety, and especially sub-section 93(3), there is absolutely no obligation, expressed or implied, in the Canadian Constitution to forever maintain the public funding of Roman Catholic separate schools.
The framers of the Constitution obviously looked to the future and contemplated that at some point an Act of a provincial legislature might be passed which would affect rights and privileges of the Protestant or Roman Catholic minority in relation to education — and therefore provided a political remedy.
These sections provide an opening around a constitutional restriction whose only purpose was to safeguard against premature or frivolous abrogation of denominational school privilege deemed necessary at an earlier time for social peace.
The bottom line, however, is that there is absolutely no constitutional obligation on the part of the province of Ontario to maintain the religious privilege of public funding for Roman Catholic separate schools. Any MP, MPP, or government employee who declares otherwise is propagating an untruth and should be challenged.
In 1890, Manitoba used the process described above in order to eliminate its public funding of Roman Catholic separate schools.
Quebec and Newfoundland also eliminated the church control of education in their provinces, but they used section 43 of the Constitution which allows a province to change the Constitution with the approval of the Legislature, the House of Commons and the Senate.