Up until grade eight, I attended Catholic schools.
That means in addition to learning the three R’s I also learned how to be a good Catholic.
I learned how to practice the seven sacraments, I learned the importance of going to Mass and I learned how to feel guilty when I didn’t practice the sacraments or go to Mass.
Of course, the only reason I could get this important religious instruction is that Ontario has a separate government-funded school system for Catholics.
But other religions don’t have such a choice. Parents from other faiths have to either send their kids to public schools or pay for private religious schools.
And that never seemed right to me.
Why are Catholics so special, other than the fact that we invented meatless Fridays, St. Patrick’s Day and the Inquisition?
Well now things might be changing.
The Ontario Progressive Conservatives are promising to offer fiscal help to parents who send their kids to religious schools – perhaps in the form of a direct subsidy.
This is, I think, a good move. It’s a fair move.
But no doubt it will raise howls of outrage from the Liberal government and from the teachers’ unions who all hate the idea of giving parents a little more choice.
It’s the old “popcorn and beer” argument: “Parents can’t make the right decisions for their kids. Only union bosses and politicians know what’s right.”
Well Canadians are becoming less and less convinced that union bosses and politicians do have all the answers. Whether it’s in health care or education or what they watch on TV, Canadians want more power to make their own decisions.
That’s why the Ontario Tories are on the right track.
I only wish they would extend their subsidy plan to include all independent schools.
The more choice the better.