Ontario NDP ignores will of people

So people will continue to ignore the ONDP.

Specifically this time, ONDP leader Andrea Horwath is refusing to debate the merits of amalgamating the Ontario Catholic School Board into the public, secular system.

For some reason it seems that these supposedly ‘controversial’ ideas are really only controversial to the politicians, of all parties, who are unwilling to implement them.

A 2007 poll found 58% of Ontarians support amalgamating the two school boards while only 29% opposed. Another poll in 2009 found that 51% of Canadians oppose funding Christian schools, with the numbers jumping to 75% opposed for other religions (like Hinduism or Islam).

Canadians want religion to stay at home, and to not be forced to pay to indoctrinate other people’s kids.

And why should they? The United Nations declared in 1999 that the existence of Ontario Catholic schools was discriminatory. Funding just one faith or a secular option is discriminatory, as John Tory pointed out.

Unfortunately, the Conservative thought the better option was to give everyone publicly funded religious schools. People did some quick math and realized how quickly the province would go bankrupt and opted instead to stick with the status quo, since no party was willing to take on the Catholic Church.

And as a final note, despite the constitutional arguments that favour keeping Catholic school boards running, Newfoundland (1997) and Quebec (1997) opted out in the recent past by a quick deal with Ottawa. It’s time for the rest of Canada that still funds Catholic schools (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario) or other faiths (Alberta, BC, Saskatchewan, Manitoba) to stop segregating our children.

Now if only there were some actually political will to do what the majority supports.

(h/t Skinny Dipper)

5 thoughts on “Ontario NDP ignores will of people”

  1. The NDP – both provincially and federally – stands to gain SO much by simply offering some vision.

    I’m disappointed to read this and I’m frustrated that the NDP continues to be lead by ‘shrinking violets’ who are more concerned about their personal veneer and could care less about the future of this country.

    As long as they show this kind of ‘leadership’, they will ALWAYS be in 3rd place.

    Too bad.

  2. 58% is hardy the will of the people. If the numbers were 70% or 75% you may have a point. I don’t think this is nearly the most importent issue facing Ontario. And aren’t the Liberals and Tories “ignoring” the will of the people too?

  3. Ryan’s half-right, half-wrong. It may not be a central issue, particularly given that it’s one that might get a lot of people very angry/upset. And the PCs and Libs aren’t any better, even on the “vision” issue that Liam cites. However, setting the threshold for “will of the people” at 70 or 75% is incredibly arbitrary. 58% isn’t nothing.

    What’s worrying is Horwath doesn’t even want to have the discussion. I don’t see a downside to letting Prue and others in the House say what they think, and those who disagree (DiNovo?) say what they think. Hell, that’s exactly her approach to Israeli Apartheid Week, which is arguably far more divisive. It looks like a good general strategy: engage the public on the issue, discuss it sanely and openly, and maybe gain some support that way — or at least some respect. This sort of top-down dictate which cuts off the debate before it happens — out of fear? — is disappointing.

    That said, no one in Ontario politics is covering themselves in glory lately. I’m reminded of Michael Moore’s comment about choosing the evil of the lessers. Hudak is crazy (Harris 2.0: The Revenge!), Horwath is trying to rebuild a damaged party (thanks, Bob Rae!), and McGuinty can only claim to be barely competent. So, what else can you do, as someone on the left side of the spectrum?

    At least my local ONDP candidate seems okay.

  4. Let’s see:

    1. Every poll ever done in Ontario tells us that a majority disagrees with the idea of 100% public funding for Catholic schools. Some polls put it at 58%, while others as high as 80%. We don’t know the exact number because the government has never bothered to ask.

    2. Amalgamating the two publicly funded systems (i.e., the public system and the Catholic system) into one public system would save Ontario taxpayers over $1 billion PER YEAR. That translates into about $700 more education dollars per child–regardless of her religion. Or, if you prefer, 1,000 new hospital beds every year.

    3. It’s morally abhorrent that Ontario favours one religion over the others. A Catholic school has the right to discriminate against Ontarians based on their religion. An elementary school child can be refused admission to a Catholic school if they are not Catholic–even though this Catholic school is 100% supported by public funds. Ditto for a school teacher: If you’re a Catholic teacher, you have almost double the job opportunities. This religious apartheid is clear to the Canadian Supreme Court, it’s clear to the Ontario citizen, and it’s clear to the UN. The only folks who seem confused are Ontario’s politicians–all but those in the Green Party.

    To summarize:
    Ontario’s school funding system is discriminatory, un-democratic, and it costs us a $1billion/year in duplication. None of the major politicians will touch the issue, even though every poll says people want a single, secular system.

    Ontario needs to be more honest with itself, with the country, and with the world: Ontario has an official religion, Roman Catholicism.

    1. Is there a study or some research that explains how we can save $1 billion a year?

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