Election 2007 & Faith-Based Schooling

Today was Election Day in Ontario again. What with the minority governments in both the Federal and Provincial government for the past few elections, and a few by-elections, I feel as if I have been voting every six months. Being a good citizen, I went out in rain to make my mark yet again.

With all the issues facing Ontario–high taxes, coal energy plants, health care wait times, and election system reform to name a few–the issue of funding faith-based schooling turned out to be a major polarizer. In this province, both the public school system and the Catholic school system are funded by the provincial government. No other faith-based school systems receive government funding. I’m of the opinion that either all faith-based school systems should be funded, or only the public school system should be funded. It is unfair that only the Catholic system benefits from public money.

This, of course, opens up two cans of worms. First, who decides which faiths are valid? I’m sure there is no question that Jewish or Muslim schools would get funding, but what about Wiccan or Baha’i, for example? Secondly, a great deal of care would need to be taken to ensure that all schools, regardless of faith, taught a standard course of math, science, English, etc., along with their respective religious teachings. A student from the public school system shouldn’t receive a better (or worse) education then a student from one of the faith-based schools.

I suspect that once the election is over this issue will disappear, and things will return to the way they are now. We are likely to have another Liberal minority government, and Daulton McGuinty (the Liberal leader) doesn’t seem overly concerned about this issue. He is more likely to create a new bank holiday in February then to give funding to religious schools.

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