Thaddeus Baklinski

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Ontario gvmt sets “dangerous precedent” of bypassing Catholic boards in teacher contract deal

Thaddeus Baklinski
Thaddeus Baklinski

By Thaddeus Baklinski

TORONTO, July 6, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In what has been called a “dangerous” precedent, Ontario’s Liberal government reached a key contract agreement on July 5th directly with the pro-homosexual Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) after the Ontario Catholic School Trustees Association (OCSTA) left the bargaining table late Wednesday night. OCSTA, which represents all Catholic school boards in the province, negotiates the contracts with its Catholic teachers, with the Ontario government acting as a go-between, but was stunned to find the province took over without any consultation.

Kathy Burtnik, vice-president of OCSTA, said negotiations broke off over concerns the deal on the table “did not represent the best interest of students.” She stated she was not aware that negotiations were under way between the government and the OECTA union after other unions representing elementary, high school and French school teachers walked away from the talks.

“At no point were we informed or was it even intimated that a potential agreement could be made between OECTA and the ministry, and we are absolutely opposed to any agreement made without our involvement,” Burtnik said, adding that cutting the school boards out of negotiation sets a dangerous precedent.

“We are dismayed at the dangerous precedent this agreement sets,” said Burtnik.

A spokesman for Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) said the agreement between the McGuinty government and the Catholic teachers’ union is an undemocratic attempt to make board trustees, who are the elected representatives of parents, irrelevant.

“By cutting out local government, that is the local boards of education, McGuinty has perverted democracy,” CLC’s Jack Fonseca told LifeSiteNews. “This move represents a hostile takeover of the education system by big government, and McGuinty is making the role of elected school officials totally irrelevant. The contempt McGuinty has for democracy is astounding.”

Noting that one of the concessions OECTA made was a 2-year wage freeze, Fonseca pointed out that, “While economic conservatives may applaud finally getting a union to agree to a wage freeze, and I don’t disagree, there is a larger, more important principle at stake relating to liberty.

“This has frightening implications for parental rights and democratic freedom. After all, the trustees are the legal representatives of parents. The closer McGuinty gets to making trustees irrelevant, the closer he gets to eradicating the authority of parents within the education system. Is that his objective? There is a psychological repercussion of having teachers basically reject their employer (the school board), to sign a deal directly with the Liberal government. In essence, it makes McGuinty their employer and the school board trustees nothing but window dressing,” Fonseca stated.

Kathy Burtnik told the National Post yesterday that, “The precedent this sets as to who the employer is, as far as labour relations go, is quite confounding,” adding that, “I saw that the minister [Ontario education minister Laurel Broten] made a comment today about the importance of working with their education partners and how good that can be. Well, one of their partners does not know what has been agreed to.”

Minister Broten said, “Many people thought that this day would never come, that we would never agree, that we were too far apart. But this agreement demonstrates the value of partnership,” according to a Globe and Mail report, and stated that the deal with OECTA will act as a “road map” for bargaining with the other unions.

The Catholic teachers’ association issued a media release late Thursday with highlights of the deal, which include a two year wage freeze for all educators and principals, three unpaid professional development days in 2013-14, and reduction of paid sick days from 20 to 10, which can no longer be accumulated.

“We continued discussions, even when other unions left the table, because we believed that negotiating was the best way to secure a fair and reasonable agreement for our members - and we believe we have achieved that goal,” said Kevin O’Dwyer, OECTA president. “This agreement mitigates the impact of the government’s original parameters, protects younger teachers from having to make larger sacrifices and achieves significant gains for our members on key non-monetary issues.”

Reaction from local Catholic school boards across the province was consistent with the surprise and dismay expressed by Burtnik.

Barbara Holland, chairwoman of the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board, told the Windsor Star, “We were a little dismayed,” noting that school boards are teachers’ employers. “We had not been given any indication they [OECTA] could sign with the province.”

Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic District School Board director of education Greg Reeves expressed shock that the provincial government and the teachers’ association reached an agreement without the involvement of the representative of the school boards.

“That’s a very dangerous precedent this agreement sets,” he said in a Peterborough Examiner report.

A Progressive Conservative MPP, Lisa MacLeod (Nepean-Carleton), waded in saying the Liberal government’s actions infringe upon the school boards’ rights. “They feel usurped,” MacLeod said, according to the Toronto Star.

Jack Fonseca pointed out the connection between the Liberal government’s “power grab” from the boards, and “the homosexual agenda of Bill 13 which McGuinty rammed down the throats of unwilling parents.”

“More than ever before,” Fonseca told LifeSiteNews, “Catholic teachers will perceive the provincial government as their boss, instead of the school board. It’s reasonable to assume that as teachers are unmoored, little by little, from subservience to trustees/parents, the more they’ll shift allegiance to the government. After all, who wants to upset the boss who signs your pay cheque.”

If OECTA’s agreement with the government is to act as a “road map” for the other unions, as Minister Broten has stated, Fonseca warned that “they had to feel they were benefitting from their pal once again.”

“As far as the optics of the ‘concessions’ made by OECTA, I don’t trust them,” Fonseca remarked.

“OECTA is 100% in favour of McGuinty’s radical gay agenda. In the 2011 election, OECTA was part of the Liberal election campaign, raising millions to elect McGuinty. There’s something we don’t know. In time, I’m sure the details will surface.”

Contact Information:

Premier Dalton McGuinty
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 416-325-1941

The Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association
Kevin O’Dwyer, OECTA president
65 ST. Clair Ave. East, Suite 400, Toronto, ON M4T 2Y8
Phone: 416.925.2493
Fax: 416.925.7764
Toll Free: 1.800.268.7230
Email: [email protected]

Ontario Minister of Education, Laurel Broten
900 Bay Street, 14th Floor, Mowat Block
Toronto ON M7A 1L2
Phone: 416-325-2929
Fax: 416-325-6348
Email: via website

Ontario Catholic School Trustees Association
Kevin Kobus, Executive Director
P.O. Box 2064, Suite 1804, 20 Eglinton Ave. W Toronto, ON M4R 1K8
Phone: 416-932-9460 Ext. 222
Fax: 416-932-9459
Email: [email protected]

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Dr. Miriam Grossman speaks to large audience in Mississauga, Ontario Steve Jalsevac/LifeSite
Lianne Laurence

VIDEO: How DO you to talk to kids about sex? US sex-ed critic gives practical tips

Lianne Laurence
By Lianne Laurence

MISSISSAUGA, ON, August 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Talking to their children about sex is “anxiety provoking to say the least,” for parents, says American sex-ed expert, Dr. Miriam Grossman.

“Some people just can’t even do it, and that’s okay,” the New York-based psychiatrist told the crowd of 1,000 who packed a Mississauga conference hall August 18 to hear her critique of the Ontario Liberal government’s controversial sex-ed curriculum.

After Grossman explained how the Liberal sex-ed curriculum is dangerously flawed and ideologically driven, she used the question-and-answer session to give parents much appreciated and sometimes humorous practical advice on how to teach their children about “the birds and the bees.”

“If you feel you can’t do it, maybe there’s someone else in the family or in the constellation of people that you know you can trust that could do it,” said Grossman, author of “You’re teaching my child WHAT?” and an internationally sought-after speaker on sex education.

A child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist with 12 years’ clinical experience treating students at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) clinic, Grossman said explaining sexuality and procreation to children is “a process,” that “shouldn’t ideally happen all at once. A child is not a miniature adult, and absorbs…new information differently than adults do.”

And parents need to be sure just what their child wants to know.

To illustrate this, Grossman referred to her earlier story about a father who gave his son every detail on human procreation after the boy asked him, “Dad, where do I come from?”

After the father finished, his son replied, “Well, that’s funny, because Johnny told me that he came from Montreal.”

“Try to find out what your child is really getting at, and, don’t give it all at once,” Grossman said. “You start with a little bit at a time…and you know, there’s so many variables here, and people have their own traditions and their own ways of explaining things, and something that might be right for my family might not be right for your family.”

She also advised that, when confronted with a four, five, six or seven-year-old asking about a pregnant woman, or where babies come, a parent can ask, “What a good question that is. What do you think?”

And parents can also legitimately put off the discussion when appropriate, telling the child, “That’s really not something you need to know about right now.”

“Wow, what a novel idea: Telling a child that they could wait until they’re older to discuss that subject,” Grossman said, adding that parents wouldn’t brook a six- or even fifteen-year-old child asking how much money they made or had in the bank. “Excuse me? Not every subject has to be an open book.”

However, the time will come when a child needs to know “about how her body’s going to change, about reproduction, about how a new life is created.”

That time, Grossman advised, is puberty, or “as puberty is beginning,” and this is especially so for girls, who, if unprepared for the surprise onset of menstruation “might think [they’re] dying.”

“The actual nitty-gritty about the birds and the bees and intercourse” can “be told in bits and pieces, or it can be told all at once, if you feel it’s necessary,” she said, adding that it’s beneficial if the parent acknowledges his or her awkwardness, because the child will think: “This must be such an important subject that my mother or my father is sitting there squirming, but he’s doing it anyway. I’m really loved.”

“And the children need to understand that as you grow up, you change a lot, not only physically but emotionally,” Grossman said, “and what may seem odd or disgusting when you’re ten years old, or whatever age, it becomes something very special and beautiful when you’re older and you’ll understand it later. You don’t have to understand it now.”


Know your child and guard your home

But as an essential foundation for this discussion, parents must both know their children and guard their home from the encroachments of a culture that Grossman described as “very, very sexualized” and “really horrible.”

“Children need parents who are loving but are also firm and authoritative,” she asserted.  “They don’t need best friends. They need us to guide them, to know what they’re doing, to be on top of what they’re doing.

So parents need to be aware of whom their child is “hanging around with, and what kind of movies are they watching…what’s going on with your child.”

“You need to know that anyway, even if it’s not about sex education,” she pointed out. “Try and know your child. Every child is different.”

And Grossman emphasized that it is “extremely important to be careful about what your child is exposed to in the home, in terms of television and Internet, obviously.”

Children need to understand that “just like you have garbage you take out of the house, you put it in the garbage bin, it’s dirty, it smells…there are other things that also don’t belong in the house.”

And children learn quickly what is, and is not, permissible inside the home, Grossman said. “Me, I keep kosher…If I go into a store, my kids know from a very young age, we don’t eat that.”

So they are used to the idea of “the world outside and the inside world, of inside your home, and inside your heart as well.”

Parents can also convey this by telling their children that “the world is an upside-down place, and sometimes the most special, holy subjects are…just thrown in the gutter. And that’s a bad thing. In our family, in our tradition, we don’t do that.”

“Sexuality is one of the subjects that in this upside-down world, it is sometimes just in the gutter,” she said. “And so I want you to tell your child to come to me when you have questions, I will give you the straight story about it.”

Grossman herself is “not even sure,” as she stated in her seminar, that sex education should be in the schools: “I believe sex education should be at home for those parents that want to do it.”

She also noted that parents “can make mistakes. We all make lots of mistakes but it’s okay, you can always come back and do it differently,” adding that this is “another wonderful message for your child. You know what, it’s okay to make mistakes, you can always go back and try and fix it.”

Grossman urged parents to visit her Facebook page, website and blog. “I have so much information you can get there that you’ll find useful,” and added that she will be publishing books for children, and has posted her critique of New York City’s sex-ed curriculum, which is similar to Ontario’s.

The parental backlash to that sex-ed curriculum, set to roll out in the province’s publicly funded schools this September, has been “amazing” Grossman noted.

Grossman’s seminar was sponsored by Mississauga-based HOWA Voice of Change along with the Canadian Families Alliance, an umbrella group representing more than 25 associations and 200,000 Ontarians opposed to the curriculum. The report on her devastating critique of the sex-ed curriculum can be found here, and the video here.

Ontario readers may find information and sign up for a September 2 province-wide protests at MPPs offices here. So far, there are protests planned for 92 of Ontario’s 107 constituencies. The parents’ movement seeking removal of the curriculum is urging all concerned citizens to join this special effort to influence individual Ontario legislators.

See related reports:

Ontario’s dangerous sex-ed is indoctrination not science says U.S. psychiatrist to large audience

Videos: US psychiatrist tells parents “stand firm” against dangerous sex-ed

See the LifeSiteNews feature page on the Ontario sex-ed curriculum containing nearly 100 LifeSite articles related to the issue

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Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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Did the pope just endorse a gay children’s book? Of course not, says Vatican

Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete
By Pete Baklinski

ROME, August 28, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- While mainstream media is gushing with news today that Pope Francis allegedly praised a children’s book that promotes gender theory, the Vatican is decrying what they called the "manipulation" of a cordial letter from an official in the Secretariat of State to suggest that the Vatican is promoting teachings contrary to the Gospel.

Italian children’s author Francesca Pardi was reported by The Guardian to have submitted a parcel of children’s books promoting the acceptance of homosexuality and gender theory to Pope Francis in June after Venice’s mayor Luigi Brugnaro publicly banned the author’s newest book, Piccolo Uovo (Little Egg), from children’s schools. The book was criticized by pro-family leaders for promoting non-natural family structures of two men and two women.

In a letter accompanying the books, Pardi wrote: “Many parishes across the country are in this period sullying our name and telling falsehoods about our work which deeply offends us. We have respect for Catholics. ... A lot of Catholics give back the same respect, why can’t we have the whole hierarchy of the church behind us?”

The Guardian is reporting that Pardi has now “found an unlikely supporter in Pope Francis,” who through his staff has responded to the author and is presented as “praising her work.” It quotes the following from a July 9 letter to Pardi from the Vatican.

“His holiness is grateful for the thoughtful gesture and for the feelings which it evoked, hoping for an always more fruitful activity in the service of young generations and the spread of genuine human and Christian values,” wrote Peter B. Wells, a senior official at the Vatican Secretariat of State, in a the letter The Guardian is reporting it has seen.  

While the letter gently calls the author to use her talents to spread “genuine human and Christian values,” The Guardian takes it as the pope’s endorsement of gender theory.

“Pope Francis sends letter praising gay children's book,” the paper’s headline states. “Italian book that explores different family types including same sex was banned by mayor of Venice, but pontiff becomes unlikely supporter,” reads the subtitle.

In a press release that Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi sent to LifeSiteNews on Friday, the vice speaker of the Vatican, Ciro Benedettini, made clear that the friendly reply letter to the author in no way approves of attitudes or positions that are contrary to Catholic teaching and the Gospels.

The Vatican's statement also says that in the original letter from the secretariat of state Wells merely "acknowledged receipt" of the materials sent by Pardi, and also made clear that the letter was private and not meant for publication. 

"In no way does a letter from the Secretary of State intend to endorse behaviors and teachings not in keeping with the Gospel," says the statement, decrying the "manipulation" of the letter.

Benedettini said the blessing of the pope at the end of the letter was meant to be for the author herself, and not to affirm positions concerning gender theory that are contrary to the Church's teaching. Using the letter to this end is erroneous, he said.

Pope Francis has strongly condemned the notion of “gender theory” on numerous occasions, saying that it is an “error of the human mind that leads to so much confusion.”

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Lisa Bourne

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Poll suggests most US Catholics wrongly believe Pope Francis backs gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

August 28, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- A considerable majority of U.S. Catholics are in conflict with Church teaching on abortion and marriage, a new study says, and a startling number of those also believe Pope Francis backs homosexual “marriage.”

Despite Church teachings, Catholics in America also closely parallel the general populace in their support for abortion and homosexual “marriage,” falling short in the Biblical call to be “in the world but not of the world.”

The findings suggest what many Catholics have said is a climate of confusion in the midst of the Francis pontificate. Concerns over that confusion prompted a coalition of pro-family groups to respond with an international petition effort asking the pope to reaffirm Church teaching, drawing more than a half-million signatures.

The survey, conducted by Public Religions Research Institute, found that 60 percent of all U.S. Catholics favor legalized homosexual “marriage,” compared to 55 percent of all Americans. Likewise, 51 percent of Catholics think that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, with 53 percent of the general population holding this view.

The Catholic Church teaches that marriage is a sacramental union between one man and one woman, mirroring Christ and the Church respectively as bridegroom and bride.

The Church also teaches that life begins at conception, that each human life possesses dignity as a child of God and is to be afforded protection, making abortion an intrinsic evil.

Catholics, accounting for 22 percent of adults in the U.S. population, have a favorable view of Pope Francis, the study said, but they are very confused about his take on homosexual “marriage.”

Of the Catholics who back homosexual “marriage,” 49-percent also think the leader of the Catholic Church backs it along with them. Fifteen percent of those Catholics who oppose homosexual “marriage” also mistakenly believe Pope Francis supports it.

Pope Francis has made numerous statements in support of life, marriage and family, but the confusion remains.

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"After Ireland and the U.S. Supreme Court both approved same-sex 'marriage,' a strong reaffirmation of Church teaching could save the sacred institution of marriage, strengthen the family and dispel the lies of the homosexual revolution," TFP Student Action Director John Ritchie stated.  "Young Catholics -- even non-Catholics -- look to the Church as a beacon of morality and stability in our Godless culture, but some of our shepherds have issued confusing statements."

TFP Student Action is a part of the lay Catholic organization American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, and is part of the alliance behind the Filial Appeal, the petition asking the Holy Father to reinforce Catholic teaching at the Vatican’s upcoming Synod on the Family in October.

Ritchie explained how the confusion was aiding the Church’s enemies, and warned of the potential consequences.

"This prayerful petition asks Pope Francis to clear up the moral confusion that's been spreading against Natural and Divine Law," he said. "If the enemies of the family continue to chip away at holy matrimony, the future of the family and civilization itself will be in even more serious peril."

At press time more than 500,000 signature had been gathered for the appeal, including five cardinals, 117 bishops and hundreds of well-known civic leaders.

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