In today’s post on The Inside Agenda Blog, Steve Paikin asks, “Would the Ontario Government Ever Consider De-Funding the Catholic School System?”
Paikin begins his article by providing some familiar background about public funding of Catholic schools in Ontario:
You know the story. Nearly 150 years ago, the Fathers of Confederation made a grand compromise which enabled the creation of Canada. The Protestant minority in Quebec and the Catholic minority in Ontario would both have their school systems publicly funded. Initially, the Catholic school system in Ontario was funded to the end of Grade 8. And over time, successive governments agreed to fund additional grades, to the point where it’s now fully funded to the end of high school.
While, at times, Paikin answers his own question with a maybe no/maybe yes, he admits, “The short answer is no, and for a few reasons:” In the second of Paikin’s reasons,
Just as only Nixon could go to China, it may be the case that it will take a Catholic premier to attempt this. Dalton McGuinty was just Ontario’s second Catholic premier (John S. Macdonald in 1867 was the other). McGuinty could have led this charge but chose not to. Kathleen Wynne grew up in the United Church and, no doubt, fears potential accusations of anti-Catholic bigotry that could emerge if she tried this reform.
the “political metaphor” may require some explanation for those who were not around when Richard Nixon, the 37th President of the United States, visited the People’s Republic of China in 1972 and met with Chairman Mao Zedong.
However, Paikin’s argument that only a Catholic premier could choose the “ready-made solution to save millions in educational efficiencies” and “balance the [Ontario] budget by 2017-18” is not convincing. Just as only Nixon could go to China, it may be the case that only Kathleen Wynne can visit St. Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto and meet with Thomas Cardinal Collins. During her visit, she could inform Collins of the Ontario government’s decision to create one taxpayer funded English school system and one French school system in Ontario. She could explain that the decision is not motivated by anti-Catholic bigotry but is motivated by the need to do whats best for all Ontarians, not just Catholic Ontarians.
What she is too diplomatic to say is her government’s decision not only helps Ontario’s economy, it prevents the Catholic Church from running schools it claims, “are the primary place[s] where young people experience the Church as a community shaped by faith, hope and love,” while it indoctrinates school age children with the idea that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” No, unfortunately, Wynne won’t make those statements; to do so would be political suicide. Maybe, she will take me with her if and when she visits Collins to give him the news.