The Green Party of Ontario has issued a media advisory that I was happy to assist with and to be included in with a quote beside that of our leader Mike Schreiner!
Green Party of Ontario addresses inequity in publicly funded schools
Toronto, Ontario (Sept 30, 2011) – The Green Party of Ontario today
called for a Citizen’s Assembly to address the transition to a single
school system (French and English).
“Greens believe in a fair, equitable, and financially responsible
school system that enriches learning for all students. All Ontarians
fund our school system, and it is government’s job to ensure that the
public has a voice in how that money is spent.” said Green Party
Leader Mike Schreiner.
Currently both Public and Catholic boards are funded per student from
the same public fund. Canada ratified the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights on May 19th, 1976, with the consent of all
provinces, including Ontario. In November 1999 and again in November
2005 the same committee censured Canada again for failing to ‘adopt
steps in order to eliminate discrimination on the basis of religion in
the funding of schools in Ontario.’
“Our current system operates under a constitutional privilege that
dates back to when women were not permitted to vote,” explains Justin
Trottier, Green Party candidate for Parkdale High Park. “Other
provinces, like Quebec, have achieved a bilateral agreement with the
Federal government to unify their school boards so that no particular
faith is being funded by the province.”
Recently the issue of inequality in our school system has been
underscored by Catholic school boards openly denying students the
freedom to form Gay Straight Alliances to create more inclusive
environments for students and staff.
“Ontarians pride themselves on their diversity,” said Toronto Centre
candidate and LGBT rights activist Mark Daye. “Our eduaction system
needs to reflect that.”
The Green Party of Ontario believes that our education system must be
fair, equitable and efficient for all students, teachers and families.
The Green Party is the only party with a plan to allow Ontarians to
address equality in our school system, by moving towards one publicly
funded school system, in French and English.
Green MPPs will:
• Call for a citizen’s assembly to review moving to one publicly
funded French and English school system to study and offer
recommendations on the constitutional, procedural and logistical
issues relating to a single public school system in Ontario. The
citizens assembly will provide an opportunity for all Ontarians to
comment on and participate in this important discussion. Citizen input
is essential to help determine the best way forward.
• Under the Constitution Act of 1982, Constitutional change in an area
of provincial jurisdiction (such as education) can be accomplished
through bilateral agreement between the province and the Parliament of
Canada alone. Ten post-1982 amendments have been made to the
Constitution, five of which concern denomination education rights.
Quebec and Newfoundland once had denominational school systems. Both
provinces modernized their school systems in the 1990s.
• Ontario’s school boards are publicly funded according to the
province’s ‘funding formula’, which is based primarily on student
enrolment. Municipal ‘school support’ designations have no effect on
the amount of funding a board receives. Catholic taxpayers are not the
sole supporters of Catholic schools. All taxpayers support all
• Canada ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights on May 19th, 1976, with the consent of all provinces, including
Ontario. In November 1999, the United Nations Human Rights Committee
found Canada in violation of the equality provisions of that Covenant
by virtue of Ontario’s discriminatory school system. In November 2005
the same Committee censured Canada again for failing to ‘adopt steps
in order to eliminate discrimination on the basis of religion in the
funding of schools in Ontario.’