Arguments over when the State should support the Church are becoming louder and louder in Canada. The issue at stake for hundreds of thousands of students in Ontario, Canada is whether or not their Catholic schools will continue to receive state funding.
Opponents of state funding for the Catholic school system say that the State should not confer any special benefits on any religious institution. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has even seized on the campaign issue as a chance to try and end funding of Catholic schools altogether.
The funding issue recently became a topic of debate when John Tory, the leader of the Progressive Conservative party, proposed a plan for to bring Catholic, Jewish and Muslim schools into the public school system by providing state funding for them.
Currently, students who attend Catholic schools in Ontario have 100% of their tuition paid for by the government.
In a letter to the Toronto Star, the president of the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association, Bernard Murray wrote the following:
“I speak on behalf of the 650,000 students in Catholic schools, and the 2.4 million Catholic school ratepayers who support our system, when I express my deep dismay at the assault launched today by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association on Ontario's publicly funded Catholic schools.”
“For more than 160 years, Ontario's Catholic schools have contributed to Ontario community life in co-operation with our public school counterparts. Catholic schools are a value-added segment of public education chosen by a million Ontario parents for the academic excellence and holistic education that are their hallmarks. Any attempt to remove public funding for Catholic schools in Ontario would be extremely divisive and would be vigorously opposed by the Catholic community, and indeed all responsible citizens.”
“Our schools offer education in the Catholic faith tradition to hundreds of thousands of students who reflect Ontario's diverse cultures and ethnic groups. Rooted in our history, publicly funded Catholic schools are embedded in the social structure and life of our province.”