The current dilemma facing Morinville parents trying to obtain an education for their children is the direct result of the outdated, state-sponsored practice of segregating children based on the religion of their parents. It is high time that we seriously rethink the wasteful and divisive practice of reinforcing religious differences that this situation highlights.
Most other provinces in Canada, including Quebec, the most Catholic province, despite having the same constitutionally supported religious schooling protection, have dumped the separate school option and reorganized their education system(s) around linguistic, not religious differences. It begs the question: why aren’t we seriously doing the same and considering creating a singular, secular, public school system here?
The resources wasted on creating and maintaining the two separate and distinct school systems in place throughout our province could easily have funded the construction, staffing and administration of many other schools where all of our children would be welcomed and taught, regardless of the faith of their parents. (And I reference the "faith of their parents" simply because claiming five and six-year-old children are Catholic, or for that matter Christian or any other religion for that matter, is patently absurd and completely unfair to little people who, by this practice are relegated to believing the dictates of their parents’ church – a debate for another time.)
Times have changed since the 1867 Constitution Act’s articles were drafted to create this system that ostensibly protected minority religious rights and the time has come to re-examine this "need" and seriously consider how public money should be better and more efficiently spent.
And we owe this to our children, not our churches.
Peter Ratcliff, St. Albert