Sunday, September 23, 2007

Lemon:The Star on History of Faith Based Schools in Ontario

This article in The Star does a great job revealing the history of Faith Based Schooling in Canada. The 1840's were a time of huge immigration to the Canadas by poor and uneducated families from Ireland during the time of famine in their homeland.
As a founder of the Liberal Party of Canada, George Brown, put it at the time:
"... Irish beggars are to be met everywhere, and they are as ignorant and vicious as they are poor. They are lazy, improvident and unthankful; they fill our poorhouses and our prisons, and are as brutish in their superstition as Hindoos."

Despite his degrading comment and to give Geo B. credit, his solution was to promote a publicly-funded education for these new Roman Catholic Canadians to adapt and integrate into society as quickly as possible.
Could anyone ever deny that the descendants of Catholic immigrants from this period and later from Italy have flourished by coming to a country that welcomed them and supported their faith in a public school system?
So why should new Canadians who are Hindu, Muslim or Protestant not receive the same opportunity to benefit from a publicly funded education to help them integrate into society?
Our society can't have it both ways.
We cannot decide - as Dalton McGuinty has - that faith based schools are great as long as they represent our personal faith.
The option is all or none as John Tory has clearly stated.

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