Sunday, October 07, 2007

Dear Green Party: You have READ the Constitution, right?


Feeling: ow my head
Hearing: my parents' CPU is loud

So I'm flipping through the EYE on the bus home, and I come across this:

The 2007 provincial election will forever be known as the one that put the government funding of faith-based schools in the spotlight. John Tory was smart to put this idea in the minds of the media and voters early on in his campaign – with so much debate around funding religious schools, there's less opportunity to reflect on the grave damage the previous conservative government under Mike Harris did to our schools. Our education system is still recovering from those dark days and, so far in this election, the question of how we should move forward hasn't received the attention it deserves.
And the Greens? On top of their plan to eliminate all funding for religious education in Ontario (Catholic schools included), they would also, among other
things, end standardized testing and increase environmental education.

Uhm, what? Don't get me wrong...I'd like to see that happen...but a little thing called the Constitution prevents it. According to the Constitution Act, 1867:

93. In and for each Province the Legislature may exclusively make Laws in relation to Education, subject and according to the following Provisions:
(1) Nothing in any such Law shall prejudicially affect any Right or Privilege with respect to Denominational Schools which any Class of Persons have by Law in the Province at the Union:
(2) All the Powers, Privileges, and Duties at the Union by Law conferred and imposed in Upper Canada on the Separate Schools and School Trustees of the Queen's Roman Catholic Subjects shall be and the same are hereby extended to the Dissentient Schools of the Queen's Protestant and Roman Catholic Subjects in Quebec:
(3) Where in any Province a System of Separate or Dissentient Schools exists by Law at the Union or is thereafter established by the Legislature of the Province, an Appeal shall lie to the Governor General in Council from any Act or Decision of any Provincial Authority affecting any Right or Privilege of the Protestant or Roman Catholic Minority of the Queen's Subjects in relation to Education:
(4) In case any such Provincial Law as from Time to Time seems to the Governor General in Council requisite for the due Execution of the Provisions of this Section is not made, or in case any Decision of the Governor General in Council on any Appeal
under this Section is not duly executed by the proper Provincial Authority in that Behalf, then and in every such Case, and as far only as the Circumstances of each Case require, the Parliament of Canada may make remedial Laws for the due Execution of the Provisions of this Section and of any Decision of the Governor General in Council under this Section.
And yes, GPO, the UN Human Rights body has criticised this, but then, it has never, ever, understood federalism. You should. YOU'RE CANADIAN!

Read more about the Green Party's well-meaning but bug-shit crazy education poicy here (it's a pdf):


Anonymous said...

The Green Party's position has precedent in Canadian politics. Newfoundland abolished their Catholic schools, so while it would require a constitutional amendment for Ontario to do likely - it is neither 'bug-shit crazy', nor an impossibility. Especially given that a supermajority of Ontarians favours withdrawing funding for Catholic schools.

Sarah L Boyd said...

Yes, I actually figured that out...eventually. See