By John-Henry Westen and John Jalsevac
TORONTO, June 12, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In an attempt to attract votes in the upcoming October 10 provincial election, the Opposition Conservative Party of Ontario under Leader John Tory has released a new Party Plan book outlining a proposal for full public funding of faith-based schools. The plan eliminates the former Conservative policy of offering parental choice in education through the use of tax credits for parents who choose to send their children to private schools.
By constitutional right, Catholic schools receive public funding from the education taxes paid by Catholics in the province. The Conservative Party has proposed extending that system to all faith-based schools.
While the proposal sounds balanced and promising, the details of the measure are sure to thwart its supposed intent, suggests the Leader of the Family Coalition Party of Ontario (FCP).
The new Conservative policy book refers to the scrapping of the former tax credits for parents system saying, “we believe that the best results would be achieved through direct funding rather than through tax credits.”
The policy notes also, “With this direct public funding will come strict criteria and accountability requirements,” which include full incorporation of “the complete requirements of Ontario’s common curriculum.”
That curriculum, says FCP Leader Giuseppe Gori, is precisely the reason many faith-based schools have opted for private education. Gori told LifeSiteNews.com that many faith-based private schools appreciated the tax credit system implemented by former Conservative Finance Minister Jim Flaherty under Mike Harris, which, while not offering full funding, came without controlling strings attached.
“I think the faith based schools liked the Harris plan with some money without strings attached,” Gori told LifeSiteNews.com. “The school would continue with their own curriculum. Many of the faith-based schools don’t want government funding because of attached strings. This plan attaches strings up front, exactly the reason many parents don’t want to send their children to public school.”
The Ontario government curriculum mandates both sex education including ‘sexual orientation’ and education on Darwinian evolution, which many faith-based schools find objectionable.
The Party Plan also mandates that schools accepting public funding would have to “appropriately address teacher credentialing.” If that language would require all faith-based schools to employ teachers only from within the Ontario teacher’s college, it would be another major obstacle for faith-based schools.
Several calls to the Ontario Conservative Party for clarification on the plan were not returned by press time.
The Family Coalition Party of Ontario, the only pro-life party in the province, is proposing offering the tax credit system implemented by the former Conservative government. The FCP would also add school vouchers which would allow parents to determine for themselves where their education tax dollars would be allotted.
See the full policy book online: Copy and past the following link into your browser.
For more information on the Family Coalition Party see their website at:
Find a full listing of LifeSiteNews' coverage of the Ontario government's explicit sex-ed program here.