TORONTO, Oct. 15, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - As thousands of Canadians call on Dalton McGuinty’s Education Minister to resign after she said that Ontario’s anti-bullying law prohibits Catholic schools from teaching that abortion is wrong, a Catholic school trustee in Toronto has demanded she retract the remarks and issue an apology.
“The government does not have the right to demand through bullying that the Catholic Church and its schools change its moral doctrine to fit their wishes,” said John Del Grande, who represents Ward 7 (including parts of North York and Scarborough), in a statement Monday.
On Wednesday, Minister Laurel Broten told media that Catholic teaching on abortion is “misogyny” and therefore violates the government’s newly-enacted “anti-bullying” legislation.
“We do not allow and we’re very clear with the passage of Bill 13 that Catholic teachings cannot be taught in our schools that violates human rights and which brings a lack of acceptance to participation in schools,” she said, at a press conference called in response to another press conference organized by Campaign Life Coalition with the support of three Tory MPPs.
The bombshell prompted a quick rebuke from Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto, who heads the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario.
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Calling the remarks “totalitarian” and a declaration of war on Catholic education, Campaign Life Coalition launched a petition campaign, which has since yielded over 3,900 signatures and counting.
In his statement, Del Grande emphasized that Catholic schools’ rights are guaranteed in the Canadian Constitution, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and Ontario’s Education Act.
“A majority of Catholics in the province and many others of various faiths and cultures support pro-life causes and discussion and to label them as misogynistic as a result is offending,” he said. “I have a serious concern with the Minister suggesting through the government’s stance that freedom of conscience, free-speech and religious freedoms are ok to be trampled on and/or set aside.”
“The irony is pro-life discussion, action and push for legislative change actually seek to reduce harm to women, ensure that females have a right to be born and in fact, many women/young girls are leading the pro-life calls for action worldwide,” he added.
Del Grande says he has received emails, phone calls and messages from concerned Catholic ratepayers about the Minister’s comments and their implications should the government act on them.
He says he will be requesting that the matter be tabled for discussion and response by the trustees of the Toronto Catholic District School Board at the next Board Committee meeting taking place this Thursday.
Tim Hudak, Opposition Leader
19 Duncan Street
Toronto, ON M5H 3H1
Lisa MacLeod, Education Critic
Tel: 416-325-6351 Fax 416-325-6364
Address: Room 451, Main Legislative Building, Queen’s Park
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A8
Most Rev. Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto
President of Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario
1155 Yonge Street
Toronto (ON) M4T 1W2
Tel: (416) 934-3400 #609
Fax: (416) 934-3452