Review Privileged Status: Public Funding

by | May 10, 2015

Renton Patterson, President of Civil Rights in Public Education (CRIPE), reviews Reva Landau’s book, Privileged Status: Public Funding – The Surprising History of Ontario Catholic Separate Schools:

An Excellent Read
I have done a lot of research about the public funding of the Roman Catholic separate school system, but Ms. Landau has out-done me thorough an outstanding job of digging up the most obscure details in the history of separate schools to make her points. She finds the details and then shows how they are relevant to a correct understanding of the situation. After relating the pre- and post-1867 history, she applies her analysis to the controversial Supreme Court decision about the notorious Bill 30. This is where one can’t help but get out the pencil and start underlining. In point after point she tears the decision apart and lays bare the faulty process which led her to ask the question: “Or did the Supreme Court just decide to ignore this material to make it easier to reach the decision they wanted?”

Up to page 32, the content isn’t that interesting to the ordinary reader. But once Landau applied that history to the Supreme Court decision which told us that our much-vaunted Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not apply to us, and that the “guarantee” of freedom of religion and of equality of citizenship are just window-dressing, my interest rose as she, piece by piece, tore that decision apart. From page 33 to page 56, I couldn’t put the book down. Her attack on the Court was gripping. Then from page 57 to 74 one can read all the reasons — reasons that we all know so well — that the public funding of Roman Catholic separate schools is wrong – dead wrong. Totally unjustifiable by any measure. Pages 75 to 78 conclude by outlining “What can be done.”

If anyone doubts any part of Reva’s research, the Appendix will put that doubt to rest. A Selected Bibliography and End Notes finish the remarkable account of “The Surprising History of Ontario Catholic Separate Schools.”

To purchase the book, go to and search for Privileged Status: Public Funding. Just a few chapters are worth the $7.33 Amazon price. So get one for your friend, your local library, your local MPP, your local school trustee – spread the word!

Renton Patterson

P.S. To criticize a Supreme Court decision is not unusual. Pierre Trudeau is quoted as saying about a particular Supreme Court’s ruling:  “They blatantly manipulated the evidence before them so as to arrive at the desired result. They then wrote a judgment which tried to lend a fig-leaf of legality to their preconceived conclusion.” (Shades of the Bill 30 decision?)

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