Kitchener, Ontario–Green Party of Ontario candidate Paula Conning was joined by fellow Green Candidate Dr. Stacey Danckert and Leader Mike Schreiner in Kitchener to outline the Green Party’s plan to strengthen Ontario’s school system by ending wasteful duplication in the public and Catholic boards.
“With the issue of school cuts dominating these by-elections, the choice for voters is clear,” says Schreiner. “Prioritize high-quality education for all children or protect the interests that want special funding for one religion at the exclusion of all others. Only the Green Party will fight to improve our children’s education with a fair and equitable school system.”
At the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) general meeting in Toronto yesterday members voted in favour of a motion that would see public funding of public education in Ontario be limited to secular schools. Only the GPO is calling for a public commission to study merging the Catholic and public systems.
Ontario is the only province that provides full public funding for a single faith while providing no funding for other faith-based schools. As a result the UN Human Rights Committee has censured Canada in 1999 and 2005 for the discrimination in Ontario’s school system.
“McGuinty has repeatedly slammed the door on talking about this issue. Instead he continues to ram the Liberals’ political agenda down the throats of parents and teachers,” continued Schreiner. “Our children deserve a fair and equitable system regardless of their faith or sexual orientation.”
Recently Catholic Schools have come under fire for discouraging Gay Straight Alliances, student-run clubs that promote tolerance for diversity.
A study prepared by William J. Phillips, Past-President of The Federation of Urban Neighbourhoods of Ontario Inc. estimates savings from merging the school boards of $1.3 billion to $1.6 billion per year.
“In Ontario in 2012 every child should be welcome and every qualified teacher should have the opportunity for employment and advancement at every publicly funded school regardless of their religion,” said Conning. “We need one Green Party MPP to push our legislature toward equitable, effective, economical, and environmentally aware education for children.”
Attachment: ETFO Annual Meeting 2012 – Passed Motions Session 4 (see motion 18 )