Re: Separate school boards
To the Editor:
Human rights issues are close to the hearts of Canadians and our political leaders have often spoken for international observance of these vital freedoms. Recently, Prime Minister Chrétien has championed human rights in Cuba, yet there are cases of discrimination in Canada which our governments have ignored.
But now, the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva, Switzerland, has received and formally accepted a complaint filed by Friends of Public Education in Ontario, Inc. against Canada, claiming that Ontario's government funding of separate schools violates not only our own Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but international human rights as well. In particular, separate school funding violates article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
In addition to the discrimination inherent in the funding of one denomination and no other, the Ontario government has inflicted drastic cuts to essential health care and social assistance. How has the Harris government justified the expense of religious privilege when so many vital services have been curtailed or withdrawn?
If readers agree that a previous century's compromise regarding separate religious schools should be eliminated, as has been done in Manitoba, Newfoundland and Quebec, then they should actively make it an issue in the next election.
Friends of Public Education in Ontario