By macleans.ca - Monday, January 14, 2013 - 0 Comments
On Dalton McGuinty’s response to the tragic Newtown shooting
Canada is not the United States.
It shouldn’t be necessary to make such an obvious observation. But with the premier of Canada’s largest province apparently overlooking this fact, it seems worth repeating.
In one of his final policy moves before retiring later this month, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty recently announced a “locked-door policy” for all 4,000 publicly funded elementary schools in the province; and a $10-million fund to pay for new security systems so school visitors can be “buzzed in.” This in response to the horrific shooting of 20 children and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last December.
“In the aftermath of that tragic event that unfolded in the U.S., I think there’s an important question that we need to ask ourselves: are we taking all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of our kids at school?” McGuinty said in making the announcement. Continue…
By Colby Cosh - Tuesday, May 17, 2011 at 9:25 AM - 21 Comments
In Morinville, Alta., Catholicism is part of the public school system
The town of Morinville, Alta., population 6,775, cannot offer Donna Hunter’s children the secular, non-denominational education most Canadian parents expect as a matter of course. She is leaving for nearby north Edmonton and taking her three young children. And her sister. And her sister’s two kids. And her retired parents. Mrs. Hunter led the family’s march to Morinville in 1999; not yet a mother, she didn’t realize that all of the town’s public schools are, because of an anomaly in Alberta’s constitutional development, formally Catholic. The school board’s stated mission: “ensuring that Catholic values permeate all school activities.”
Morinville belongs to the Greater St. Albert “Catholic Public” school district—a historically French-Canadian area that declared itself Catholic for education purposes under territorial law in 1884. For generations, non-Catholic parents accepted the status quo, but Morinville schools have grown more strident about their identity even as the town becomes more diverse. Hunter leads a group of Morinville parents demanding a non-religious option, but the Catholic board will not provide one, and apparently can’t be forced to despite its officially public status. The province’s education minister acknowledges the problem but, say critics, has been slow to address it.
As Hunter leaves Morinville, her group is enjoying some progress. The Catholic board is surveying town residents to test the appetite for secular education, perhaps provided within Morinville under the auspices of a neighbouring district. “But the survey won’t count people who already left because of the Catholic monopoly, or those who never move here,” notes Hunter. “Every year that passes while we await a solution, more Morinville parents will face my choice. Stay? Leave? Wait? How long?”