Sunday, September 30, 2007

Mennonite school in St.Catharines dismissed as "an anomaly" by Liberal Kathleen Wynne

James Cowan’s column in the National Post, "Mennonite school used against Liberals" (Sept.29, 2007) had a St.Catharines focus:

“A public school in St. Catharines that for two decades has offered chapel services and Bible classes for its Mennonite students proves Dalton McGuinty's arguments against funding religious schools are "nonsense," according to the Progressive Conservatives.
John Tory, the Conservative leader, has promised to spend $400-million to fund Jewish, Muslim and other religious schools if elected on Oct. 10.
Mr. McGuinty, the Premier, opposes the plan, saying it would be divisive and deprive the public system of money. However, Mr. McGuinty also defends continued public funding of Catholic schools because it is legally required under the 1867 British North America Act.
But Mike Van Soelen, a Conservative spokesman, said the Liberal leader's constitutional argument fails to explain why his government provides full funding for Eden High School, which bills itself as "an alternative Christian high school."
"Clearly this proves we've already gone beyond funding Catholic schools," Mr. Van Soelen said.
"This undermines the constitutional argument that is used by the Liberals and shows that argument is just nonsense."
Eden High joined the public system in 1988 during the Liberal government of premier David Peterson.
Mr. Van Soelen noted five current Cabinet ministers -- including Greg Sorbara, the Finance Minister and Liberal campaign chairman -- were members of Mr. Peterson's caucus
"They would have been at the Cabinet table. They must have believed in it at the time," Mr. Van Soelen said.
Kathleen Wynne, the Liberal Education Minister, yesterday described Eden High as "an anomaly" and said its existence does not justify the fundamental changes that Mr. Tory is proposing.
"There is a difference between a single school that is in the system and making a systemic change across the province that would introduce a very different way of educating kids," she said, adding, "I don't see it as a contradiction." ”
St. Catharines MPP Jim Bradley was in Peterson’s cabinet as well. Why is he marching lockstep with his Liberal reactionaries today? Why Is Bradley denying the same right to other faith-based Ontario schools that his own government granted to Eden (the so-called “anomaly”) which exists in his own riding, right in Niagara? You’d think he sees the obvious contradiction, the discriminatory double-standard, but, as he admitted in the Ridley debate on Sept.26, he’s simply toeing the party line. (and giving the boot to funding fairness, too)
At least one long time Liberal, Monte Kwinter, has now stood up to say he will not be a hypocrite and will not support McGuinty’s flip-flop on this issue. McGuinty, calling it unfair, once said he was not opposed to faith-based funding; now he claims it’s regressive and leads to sequestering and segregation. Is that what occurred when McGuinty and his family went to Catholic school? Is that what Bradley thinks of Eden High?

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