Print Shortlink

Canadian Secular Alliance 2011 Ontario Election Questionnaire

The Questionnaire

The Canadian Secular Alliance has delivered a questionnaire to each candidate in the 2011 Ontario election with six questions regarding church-state separation in provincial politics. Please support this initiative by asking these questions to your candidates, particularly at all-candidates debates.

  1. Do you support saving the province a minimum of half a billion dollars every year by amalgamating the public and Catholic school systems into a single, secular taxpayer funded school system for each language?
  2. Is it acceptable to allow religious leaders of any denomination conduct prayer sessions on public school property during school hours?
  3. Should students in publicly funded Catholic schools be allowed to form Gay-Straight Alliance groups?
  4. The Ministry of Education took two years filled with extensive public consultations to create a current, relevant, and appropriate sex-ed curriculum. Do you support implementing the recommendations that the provincial government proposed in 2010?
  5. Do you support amending the Assessment Act to remove the requirement that municipalities must grant full property tax exemptions to religious organizations, even though other charitable organizations are entitled only to a 40% rebate?
  6. Do you support eliminating all religious invocations at the start of legislative sessions?

Party Responses

Read the Liberal Party of Ontario response here.

The Ontario NDP contacted us to confirm they were preparing a response, but ultimately failed to do so.

Candidate Responses

The following are the unaltered responses from the candidates who have responded, listed in alphabetical order by riding. Find your riding here.

Ancaster – Dundas – Flamborough – Westdale – Ted McMeekin, Liberal Party of Ontario

Submitted the Liberal Party of Ontario response (slightly modified, with “Ontario Liberals” replaced with “I”). Read it here.

Ancaster – Dundas – Flamborough – Westdale – Erik Cloverdale, Green Party of Ontario

  1. Yes, I believe the Green party is the only major party that has spoken out about this. The province cant afford to spend money needlessly on duplication of education services. It may not be an easy transition but the greens have the courage to take it on!
  2. This may be a grey area, however I believe it is acceptable provided it is during a lunch or break period. Religious freedom is something we should celebrate in ontario and religious clubs should have the same access to school facilities any non-religious club may have
  3. Yes. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is not acceptable in any public institution or in society in general.
  4. Yes, not doing so would have serious implications for our society down the road. Parents should be able to opt out of the sex-ed programs if they prefer to educate their children on their own about these matters.
  5. I believe the assessment act leaves municipalities ripe for abuse and they are being abused by individuals avoiding taxes; the act should be amended for that reason. I also believe religious organizations should be subject to the same taxation as charitable organizations.
  6. Yes, I strongly believe in the separation of church and state

Ancaster – Dundas – Flamborough – Westdale – Glenn Langton, Ontario Libertarian Party

  1. The Libertarian party supports private schooling as opposed to the public system in all aspects of education, faith based or not, if you wish your child to receive a faith based education then you should be able to opt out of the public system to enable your dollars to be put towards faith based schooling, if you do not want faith to enter into education you should be able to do likewise, Ontarians should be allowed to provide their children with whatever type of education they prefer including the public option if that is their choice, home schooling , private tutors, private schools, language based schools etc. the people of Ontario should not be forced into a one size fits all government education monopoly that is more intent on indoctrination to the governments agenda’s than the agenda’s of the parents.
  2. Absolutely NOT! the public school system as long as it remains, should be completely separated from religion. this is one of the many reasons we believe the government should be removed from the education process.
  3. They should be allowed to form these types of organizations if they choose to, not forced by the government, another reason to end the governments virtual monopoly on education
  4. The people of Ontario should choose, not the ministry, what when and how to teach their child about sex or any other sensitive topics, yet another reason to take education out of the hands of the beurocracy
  5. The Libertarian party opposes taxation as government organized theft and as such believe that no person or organization should be forced to pay taxes …
    we prefer Fee’s for services, paid by anyone receiving them rather than forced taxation. to answer directly my personal feelings are if the churches are deemed charitable organizations and receive 100% exemptions then so should all similar charitable organizations, why and how are they any different?.
  6. The Libertarian party believes in choice via democratic rule.although we generally believe in separation of church and state we also believe The government should work on behalf of the people not the reverse, that is why they are called public servants. this is an issue that I personally believe would be best decided by the electorate in a referendum, poll or similar democratic process at each general election.

Barrie – Karl Walsh – Liberal Party of Ontario

Submitted the Liberal Party of Ontario response. Read it here.

Barrie – Matthew MacKenzie, Freedom Party of Ontario

  1. The Freedom Party has no plans to eliminate the Catholic School system or merge it into a secular public school system.
  2. The Freedom Party would be opposed to letting religion be a part of the public school system. Public schools are tax payer funded and as a result they are not to have a religious bend, to any religion. The PC’s want to integrate religion into the public schools but we say that this cannot happen. If a student wishes to pray before class they have the freedom to do so. But a tax payer’s money should not be used to force children in a public school to read from religious texts or join in prayer. The public school system is secular and we would ensure that it remains that way.
  3. Our platform has no specific text stating that we would fund such a movement or make it a reality. However, if a student group wished to form a Gay-Straight Alliance then they should have the freedom to do so.
  4. Our platform has not addressed this issue.
  5. Our platform has not addressed this issue.
  6. Yes. The Freedom Party has a plank dedicated to instructing Ontarians about this issue. This country is a democracy, not a theocracy. We do not support or condone the begining prayers that start all legislative sessions. The following comes from our website : :

A democracy is a society in which the origin – hence the scope – of government’s authority is given to it only by the people it governs. A democratic government does not concern itself with gods, alleged afterlifes, or the allegedly supernatural. A democracy is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

In contrast to a democracy, a theocracy is a society in which the origin – hence the scope – of government’s authority is given to it by a supernatural god. In a theocracy, the government makes laws influenced by, or dictated by, the alleged commandments or will of a god. A theocracy is a government of the people, by a god, for a god: in a theocracy, the government is accountable to a god.

For decades, theocrats have declared war on freedom and democracy. Democratic governments have been overrun by theocratic ones throughout Africa and Asia, using both violent and non-violent means. Europe is now contending with advocates of theocracy who use legal and non-legal means to instill terror, to quash dissent, and to work toward the toppling of democracy. And we must be mindful of the fact that, in the name of freedom and democracy, Canadian soldiers have died fighting theocrats in foreign lands so that theocracy does not find its way to Canada.

Theocracy starts with small, politically correct concessions or accommodations by government. Theocracy is not yet encroaching on Ontario life as much as it has in Africa, Asia and Europe, but recent attempts to accommodate religious legal systems like Sharia, and recent attempts to silence Canadians who exercise their freedom to say things that some religious people might find insulting or offensive, demand that Ontario take necessary precautions to defend the democratic nature of our governance. If democracy is to be maintained in Ontario, we cannot continue to have the MPPs we elect declaring – as an official statement by government officials – that they are wedded to a number of different gods, that obeying the wills of those various gods is their highest purpose, that a god is sovereign in Ontario, et cetera. If there is to be any statement at all at the beginning of Ontario’s legislative proceedings each day, it should be a declaration by MPPs that they have no power or authority except that delegated to them by the people, that they recognize themselves to be the servants only of individuals living in Ontario, and that nobody – not even an MPP – is above the law. – Paul McKeever, Freedom Party leader

Bramalea – Gore – Malton – Pauline Thornham, Green Party of Ontario

I am prepared to answer some of your questions. Some of them I feel are provocative.
I do not believe in setting up society as an ‘us-vs-them’ situation. I do believe that the public boards, English and French, should be amalgamated with the Separate boards, as secular boards. It has happened in other provinces, and should have happened in Ontario years ago. As we say in the Green Party, “It’s time.”
I believe that it shows compassion and understanding to make certain accommodations for religious practices, such as providing alternate activities for those who do not celebrate Christmas or Hallowe’en, or providing an alternate place for those who are fasting during Ramadan, during lunch hour. I don’t believe that religious leaders should be allowed to cut into class time, but an arrangement could be made at lunch hour, for example.
I would have to consider the tax question before deciding.
The invocation doesn’t particularly bother me, as long as it is non-denominational in nature. If it were to emphasize one religion, it would offend me. I don’t feel it necessary to “Javex” all religious references out of our society.
There are many pressing and urgent issues to be dealt with. Religious arguments are almost always divisive, and usually threaten to derail real progress. I would really hate to see that happen in the next session of Legislature. However, I would like to see an amalgamation of the school boards.

Bramalea – Gore – Malton – Joy Lee, Ontario Libertarian Party

  1. Yes. I can’t understand how Catholic schools should be public.
  2. I have no problem with diversity of religion, however taxes should not fund any religious activity.
  3. Yes, The students should be allowed to form any kinds of alliances as long as they don’t harm anyone and cost anybody any money.
  4. Yes. Every child should know how to protect themselves against the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. However it would be better if this education is done by their parents rather than publicly funded.
  5. Taxes are theft. There should be no property taxes for anyone and there should be no preferential treatment for anyone.
  6. Yes, the state and religion should be separated.

Brampton West – Patti Chmelyk, Green Party of Ontario

  1. By each language, do you mean both Official Languages – French and English. If so, my response to the entire question is a resounding yes.
  2. Absolutely not. However, I would have no objections to allowing religious instruction to be conducted in the public schools during off-hours – for a nominal fee to cover custodial and other incidental costs. I would object to female students being segregrated from other students based on where they are in their menstrual cycles.
  3. Absolutely.
  4. Absolutely – sex and sexuality are an important part of human life and good health and teaching healthy sexuality in the schools is critical both for individuals and to society.
  5. It is certainly worth looking at and being subjected to a fulsome discussion.
  6. Absolutely.

Brampton West – Ted Harlson, Freedom Party of Ontario

  1. I’m not sure there would be tax savings by amalgamation, and the tax savings would not be the reason for such an amalgamation; creating a fair and just school system would have my support.
  2. Obviously not according to Freedom Party platforms on the subject. Schools are for teaching reason and the sciences that stem from it. Schools are not to be entrenched monopolies for theocratic indoctrination of captive, young students. Western civilization has fought a long, hard struggle for stability and security for many millions. This was accomplished by individuals who employed new integrations based on reason and logic. To begin introducing forced religious practise (no matter which) would undermine such stability and peace that Canadian institutions have built – and struggled for throughout the ages.
  3. A Catholic school system not funded by tax payer dollars would nullify the second part of this question. However, so you don’t think I am avoiding the second part, I do not see any reason under age children should form gay alliances with anyone. Reason and science should be the focus of schools. One cannot hide such realities from under age children, but education should have its priorities.
  4. I have not read the recommendations, so I cannot comment.
  5. Again, I have not read the Assessment Act, but I’ll say this. I do not see religious organizations needing greater tax exemptions, above and beyong charitable organizations.
    Such an exemption gap is inequality. I am however not saying I approve of the 40% rebates for charities, just that as it now stands, the gap in exemption is unequal.
  6. Yes, absolutely. All people who work in legislators may invoke spirits privately and in the privacy of their own homes or other places built for that purpose, such as churches, lean to’s, or temples. The legislator and all public places of work are designed for putting the people (in this case, Ontarions) first and foremost – and only. Those in office must accept Ontario is a democracy, meaning; all people of Ontario are represented, not just segements of Ontario or factions within Ontario. All people are to be counted. This requires just laws. The way to represent all people is to institute freedoms that is fair to all. This requires the implementation of laws by public workers be free of bias and deeper, based in reason for governing. For continuing understanding of Freedom Party elections planks, I encourage you to keep updated with the Freedom Party website: I hope I have answered the principle “embodied.” Reason is not just a fundamental attribute of man, but the fundamental attribute of man,without which man would not be man. Thank you for your interest. I look forward to your support during and after these elections.

Bruce – Grey – Owen Sound – Jay Miller, Ontario Libertarian Party

  1. Yes, this is an attractive proposition. However, we would take this one step further and allow parents and children more choice in allow public funds to flow to any licenced school ( private or charter ).
  2. Of course, we make no comment on personal religious choice, but we find it inappropriate to single out one religion in a publicly funded environment.
  3. This question is not so easy to answer. It may be that the Catholic schools have been given authority over this matter, and that many decisions have been taken based on such agreements. However, in general, this sort of decision would be between the parents and students ( if minors ) or the students themselves. If the school allows other groups to be formed and meet on school property, there is no basis for excluding this particular group.
  4. We object to the teaching of morality by any government agency, especially the Ministry of Education. This is the province of parents and children. That aside ( and that is a significant item ), we would support the recommendations.
  5. Yes, this is quite unreasonable.
  6. Yes, as in 3. above: we make no comment on personal religious choice, but we find it inappropriate to single out one religion in a publicly funded environment.

Burlington – Alex Brown, Green Party of Ontario

  1. When it comes to the administrative arm of the two school boards then yes I am in favour, however at present as long as we do not allow for charter school to any real extent, the catholic schools allow for a, albeit poor, protection against a monopoly by a single publicly funded school board, and the results that monopolies bring.
  2. Unless we are talking about something along the lines of a modern religious studies class where multiple religious leaders will come in to demonstrate their faith’s prayers, the answer would be no.
  3. Yes
  4. Yes, ignorance is never the answer.
  5. I feel that this is something that needs to be looked at further.
  6. Yes

Carleton – Mississippi Mills – Megan Cornell, Liberal Party of Ontario

Submitted the Liberal Party of Ontario response. Read it here.

Davenport – Frank de Jong, Green Party of Ontario

  1. Yes.
  2. No.
  3. Yes.
  4. Yes.
  5. Yes.
  6. Yes.

Thanks very much for doing this work. The most efficient and fairest way to save some of Toronto’s underused schools is for Ontario to merge the Catholic and public boards into one school system. This long overdue reform would reduce catchment areas, allow for the optimal use of the best school buildings, and shorten travel times for students, reducing busing costs. Merging boards would eliminate the redundancy cost of running parallel systems. Remember, one third of the education budget is on municipal tax bill. Furthermore, giving all students access to all schools would end the divisive practice of dividing kids along religious lines. Funding education for only one religion is unfair to people of other religions, an Ontario historical anomaly twice criticized by the UN.

Davenport – Franz Cauchi, Freedom Party of Ontario

  1. Assuming the taxation of property were to remain under a non-Freedom Party government, then yes, I support the savings. In Ontario, it’s not fair or reasonable to favour 1 religion over dozens more, when it comes specifically to spending tax revenues. Plus, I may not call it “amalgamating”, but simply “combining”. Amalgamate might imply that elements of Catholic education and culture may remain in a combined school system… a public school system. There are plenty of other times within our daily lives to practice which ever religion we enjoy and does not need to take place during educational studies. NOTE: Freedom Party of Ontario and I, as a candidate, do not support “taxation on property”. Freedom Party supports “consumption taxes”.
  2. No. Perhaps during non-regular school hours like during the weekend and only if paying a rental room fee payable to the Ontario government and in turn helping reduce our current level of property taxation.
  3. I think everyone should just relax a little with regards to homosexuality. If “private groups” want to start alliance groups, then let them start “privately” and if they want to “go public” like the Gay Pride Parade, then let them! However, should be done strictly on a volunteer basis which does not involve spending public funds (taxes).
  4. CBC news quoted (April 23, 2010) Premier Dalton McGuinty saying: “…that we listen very carefully to what parents have to say and we take their concerns into account and lend shape to a curriculum that they are comfortable with,” the premier said. I say, was the province’s 2 years of “public consultations” a lie?! Was the Ministry of Education (MOE) consultations money well-spent or just padding the pockets of friends in “back-room deals”? What Dalton McGuinty is really saying is, similar to the e-health fiasco, we’ve burned through your hard-earned tax dollars and accomplished nothing, but please let us spent unnecessarily again and see what we come up with. Perhaps an idea for the MOE is to hold strong onto the 2010 updated sex curriculum (assuming the 2 years of consultations), but provide a brief documented overview to all parents and let them decide with their children (or on their own) to enroll their children in that “segment/class”. Almost similar to whether or not you allow your children to enroll in “any” extra-curricular activities, only this time, classes occur during regular school hours.
  5. Freedom Party of Ontario and I, as a candidate, do not support “taxation on property”. Freedom Party supports “consumption taxes”.
  6. Yes. The running of the government can safely occur without any forms of religion.

Don Valley East – Aren Bedrosyan, Green Party of Ontario

  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Yes
  4. Yes
  5. I agree in amending the Assessment Act, but the specific changes will have to be analyzed with care, caution, and respect.
  6. Yes

Don Valley East – Ryan Kidd, Family Coalition Party

  1. I oppose the imposition of secular humanism on all the children in the province at taxpayers expense. Other worldviews should have equal right to compete in the marketplace of Ontario’s diverse cultural and religious backgrounds to provide better, innovative education for the 21st century. I support the full separation of school and state, which would ultimately entail completely private funding for all education. In the meantime, parents should be empowered choose the education values they want for their children, whether it be in a secular humanist, independent, private or home education environment. The values of tolerance and diversity should lead us to support a dynamic, distributed and competitive model for eduction delivery in the province.
  2. Every worldview entails behaviour and practices which are irrational or offensive to opposing worldviews. Some parents choose secular humanist schools that promote a faith which attributes all things to “chance” philosophically (Darwinian materialism). Why can’t other parents choose education which attributes all things to an all-powerful, and all-wise personal Being? Should Darwinists be permitted impose their faith-based theory about the origins of life on everybody else?
  3. The school should be accountable to parents to provide the educational environment they wish for their children. The state should not impose its sex agenda on schools if the parents don’t want it.
  4. Marriage education is something that should be a function of the family, not a function of the state via secular humanist education programs promoting a radical sex agenda. Parents may choose to delegate sex education, but the state must never impose secular humanist sexual morality on all school children.
  5. Taxation of the church is a claim of state sovereignty over the church, and therefore I oppose it.
  6. I support the continuance of such acknowledgments which remind us that the state must remain accountable to God for its actions and receive the blessing of God for its success.

Durham – Betty Somerville, Liberal Party of Ontario

Submitted the Liberal Party of Ontario response. Read it here.

Durham – Edward Yaghledjian, Green Party of Ontario

  1. I would agree this to be a valid choice to assess, requirement varying notions.
  2. If Every religious denomination is permitted equal opportunity, I would think this to be a library solution to learning about the faith of others.
  3. That said we must assess the rights the school system has to determine its agenda and analyze that through public debate.
  4. If money was well spent then its best we implement the findings.
  5. Again we must assess the benefits the tax exemptions return back into the community. We need a more detailed investigation and determine the direction after.
  6. I would say yes, as religion is a personal choice of spiritual awakening.

Durham – Blaize Barnicoat, Ontario Libertarian Party

  1. I support private education and I do not support public funding of any educational institutions-secular or not; however, it is my opinion that any publicly funded intuitions that may exist should have no secular affiliations.
  2. If student organizations seek out religious activities, they should be allowed to practice their religion in a publicly funded institute. Directors or teachers should organize such events or force participation.
  3. Any publicly funded school should allow students to create clubs of any sort.
  4. I do not support government proposed curriculums of any sort.
  5. Religious organizations, and all charitable organizations alike, should receive full property tax exemptions.
  6. Yes, with the amount of tax payer’s dollars that go into legislative sessions, there is no time to waste on arbitrary cultural traditions.

Durham – David Strutt, Freedom Party of Ontario

  1. Freedom Party opposes the tax funding of organized religion. However, Freedom Party has laid out an 18 plank election platform that is sure to consume the efforts of a Freedom government over the next four years. Given the constitutional complexity of the amalgamation you refer to, and the importance of spending ones political capital on the achievable, undertaking a merger of the public and separate school systems is not something that a Freedom government will undertake over the next four year mandate.
  2. Speaking strictly of public schools (not of Catholic separate schools, which are religious by their very nature), the answer is “no”.
  3. Catholic separate schools, being religious by their very nature, must be free to operate consistently with Catholic beliefs. Freedom Party would, in any event, prefer a focus on learning, rather than on clubs of any sort. However, in public schools, so long as clubs are being formed, there should be no prohibition on the formation – by students alone – of clubs or groups for students alone, whether those groups relate to sexual orientation or other matters.
  4. No. Freedom Party favours education focusing more on reading, writing, and arithmetic, and less on other matters.
  5. A Freedom government will impose no changes with respect to the current system of property tax exemption. Although we regard it as wrong for the government to consider religion in the context of taxation measures, changing the property tax exemptions simply is not one of our 18 top priorities for the coming four year term.
  6. Yes. Doing so is one of Freedom Party’s 18 election planks, and therefore a priority for a Freedom government.

Eglinton – Lawrence – Josh Rachlis, Green Party of Ontario

  1. Yes, I support saving the province a minimum of half a billion dollars every year by amalgamating the public and Catholic school systems into a single, secular taxpayer funded school system for each language. I have family in the educational field, and I know that a large problem with the educational system is the redundancy and inefficiency of having both religious and non-religious boards. Even if we had all the money in the world, however, I also believe that all children should receive a basic education in the same public school system, unbiased by religion, and surrounded by children of all religions and backgrounds. Of course, many people are very attached to and passionate about their religious school board, and I understand that. But from what I’ve learned, a unified public school board seems like the best way to go.
  2. It doesn’t sound like this is a good idea. In a public school, children shouldn’t be influenced by one religion or another. A public school should be inclusive, and should promote rational, critical reasoning.
  3. For sure. Allowing gay students to feel more comfortable with themselves and be less afraid of harassment is a good thing.
  4. I do. It’s important that kids have information that can help them make the right choices to keep themselves safe and to develop a healthy view of their bodies and of sexuality.
  5. That sounds like a good idea. Charities that do valuable work for society shouldn’t be given less support than groups that promote a strictly religious point of view.
  6. I’d support that, yes. From my point of view, religious invocations at the start of legislative sessions would create a feeling of exclusion for those people of different religions or of no religion. And I think starting a session with religion sets the wrong tone, as I believe government should be making decisions based on logic and on moral values, not based on what religions tell them to think.

Elgin – Middlesex – London – Lori Baldwin-Sands, Liberal Party of Ontario

Submitted the Liberal Party of Ontario response. Read it here.

Elgin – Middlesex – London – Eric Loewen, Green Party of Ontario

Thank you for sending me this, I am a christian but I do believe that christian’s should not have special exemptions, schools, and a greater influence than those who are not. I have not copied the questions due to time restraints in answering emails.

  1. Yes, I support the province saving a half billion dollars every year by amalgamating the public and Catholic school systems into a single, secular taxpayer funded school system for each language.
  2. I believe any religion without favourtism or discrimination should be able to have their religious leaders conduct prayer sessions on school property as long as it does not interfere with scheduled class time.
  3. Students in any school system should be allowed to form groups as they feel they need so long as it has a mandate that does conflict with any laws or encourage extremism.
  4. The sex-ed curriculum regardless of ministry research and time should always be brought before the parent council for approval keeping everyone’s opinion in mind as this is a highly controversial topic. Parents should be allowed to withhold their students from class if they choose and it should not be a mandatory part of the curriculum.
  5. I will have to do more research on this topic.
  6. Yes, I support eliminating all religious invocations at the start of legislative sessions.

Elgin – Middlesex – London – Paul McKeever, Freedom Party of Ontario

  1. Freedom Party opposes the tax funding of organized religion. However, Freedom Party has laid out an 18 plank election platform that is sure to consume the efforts of a Freedom government over the next four years. Given the constitutional complexity of the amalgamation you refer to, and the importance of spending ones political capital on the achievable, undertaking a merger of the public and separate school systems is not something that a Freedom government will undertake over the next four year mandate.
  2. Speaking strictly of public schools (not of Catholic separate schools, which are religious by their very nature), the answer is “no”.
  3. Catholic separate schools, being religious by their very nature, must be free to operate consistently with Catholic beliefs. Freedom Party would, in any event, prefer a focus on learning, rather than on clubs of any sort. However, in public schools, so long as clubs are being formed, there should be no prohibition on the formation – by students alone – of clubs or groups for students alone, whether those groups relate to sexual orientation or other matters.
  4. No. Freedom Party favours education focusing more on reading, writing, and arithmetic, and less on other matters.
  5. A Freedom government will impose no changes with respect to the current system of property tax exemption. Although we regard it as wrong for the government to consider religion in the context of taxation measures, changing the property tax exemptions simply is not one of our 18 top priorities for the coming four year term.
  6. Yes. Doing so is one of Freedom Party’s 18 election planks, and therefore a priority for a Freedom government.

Essex – Jason Matyi, Green Party of Ontario

  1. I believe that the school system needs to be modernized, this should include some type of amalgamation.
  2. It is not acceptable to allow religious leaders of any denomination to conduct prayer sessions on public school property during school hours.
  3. Yes
  4. I do not know all the recommendations but if the question is do I support current, relevant, and appropriate sex-ed curriculum. The answer is Yes.
  5. Yes that should be a local decision, on a municipal level.
  6. That depends on “legislative sessions” where and when?

Etobicoke Centre – Elizabeth Millican, Family Coalition Party

  1. Our party supports a system of education that is supported by parent choice and reduces the cost of education to the system when parents choose the alternatives best for them, whether the school is based on science, math or another alternative form of education. Some students don’t benefit from being part of the traditional education forms and we believe in doing what is best for the child.
  2. That depends on if you’re willing to allow religious schools. Our party supports the constitutional right of parents to educate their children according to the religion of their choice. Given enough demand they should be allowed to have their own school board in order to maintain religious practices so that no one elses rights are infringed on and there is no intimidation by religious groups to non-religious groups. Please note that we do not acknowledge segregation of boys and girls as a religious practice. If you deny the right to religious schools then how can you deny religious prayer in public schools?
  3. That decision should be based on parental approval of such an initiative.
  4. I don’t support government based sex-education because it increases the pressure on students to have sex. I believe that any such education should provide both sides and provide students with the freedom to choose what they would like to do. We teach children how to say no to drugs, but there is no teaching on how to say no to sex. I believe that sex should be the result of a choice, not the result of pressure. This is not conveyed in any curriculum that I have seen.
  5. I am too unfamiliar with this issue to comment.
  6. I have attended the Ontario Legislature. Prayers are held at the beginning of the meeting. Those who don’t wish to participate show up afterwards. I do not understand why anyone should be offended by those who benefit from such an activity. I believe in the constitutional right of freedom of expression, regardless of religion or non-religion.

Etobicoke – Lakeshore – Laurel Broten, Liberal Party of Ontario

Submitted the Liberal Party of Ontario response. Read it here.

Etobicoke – Lakeshore – Hans Kunov, Ontario Libertarian Party

  1. While schools should teach religious knowledge (of all major religions), and I find it acceptable that religious groups create their own schools not funded by the taxpayer, it is not reasonable that the taxpayer should pay for any school with a religious affiliation. I am in favour of a single, secular taxpayer funded school system.
  2. No, absolutely not
  3. Students should be free to form any alliance they see fit, except for criminal purposes.
  4. I can’t say I have seen or even read these sex education recommendations.But given that they are current, relevant, and appropriate, I support them.
  5. More than that, I do not see why religious organizations should enjoy any tax advantages whatsoever.
  6. Yes, I do. While we are at it, strike “Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law.” from the Canadian constitution.

Etobicoke North – Vrind Sharma, Ontario NDP

  1. The current two-tiered system of public and catholic schools should be amalgamated. The division of the schools has created segregation in our community. The savings of half a billion dollars every year is in itself a half billion reasons why we need the amalgamation. Society, especially Etobicoke North is made up of 80% visible minorities, languages, beliefs and religion varies from households. We need a strong school system that is dedicated to educating our youth, not creating religious divides that can lead to other religions coming forward asking for the same treatment of separate schools.
  2. Again, keeping religious faith and public education separate is a must. Having religious leaders conduct prayers would infringe upon the rights of other students who hold different beliefs.
  3. Of course. If students in a public school can form the same alliance group, why should a student in a catholic school be deprived of the same right.
  4. McGuinty’s choice to postpone the enactment of the new sex-ed curriculum is surprising. Today, the youth through media, social networking and changing societal values are bombarded with sexual connotations. It is our responsibility to better educate our youth, who are exposed even at the young age of 12 years old. We would be doing our due-diligence to society by educating the youth and re-thinking the sex-ed curriculum.
  5. Religious organizations mobilize the youth and the rest of the community in the same manner as charitable organizations. Therefore, creating a differentiation among the two groups in undesirable.
  6. The use of religious invocations during legislative sessions is symbolic, yet society is changing and we must respond appropriately to our diverse community. Having future debates over this matter, may cause interest groups to fight to have their faith included. The bottom line is religion at some point must be separated from politics.

Glengarry – Prescott – Russell – Phil Miller, Ontario Libertarian Party

  1. Initially yes for cost savings, although ideally we would like to see the government moving away from a monopolized position in the education field.
  2. No,
  3. Long answer: What does sexuality have to do with religious affiliation? Short answer: Yes.
  4. I support the sensible education of children about their bodies and their sexuality in a timely fashion……not after they’re 30.
  5. At first glance, yes, but on further consideration, I don’t know if it’s a good idea in all circumstances and would want to seriously consider the subject. There are possibilities for serious abuse of the idea for poor reasons.
  6. Yes. I support a moment of reflective silence where each person present may look inward to their own beliefs and values.

Haldimand – Norfolk – Greg Crone, Liberal Party of Ontario

Submitted the Liberal Party of Ontario response. Read it here.

Halton – Karen Fraser, Green Party of Ontario

  1. We support a strong public education system – both English and French – that will provide our future generation with the tools they need to succeed in the 21st century economy. In the interests of equity, fiscal and administrative efficiency, the Green Party of Ontario will hold a citizens’ assembly to study and offer recommendations on the constitutional, process and logistical issues relating to a single public school system in Ontario. The citizens’ assembly will provide an opportunity for Ontarian’s to comment and participate in this discussion, and help determine the best way forward.
  2. This is a democracy. What is good for one must be good for all. If one religion wants to do this then each & every religion must have a leader available for equal amount of prayers. I see nothing wrong with a religious group using school property for religious training after school hours. Of course, there has to be written policy followed by ALL schools.
  3. Again, I see nothing wrong with community groups using school property for meetings after school hours.
  4. No. I think the education system has been teaching too much, too early, to explicitly. I think every parent should be given the sex-ed lesson plans every Sept. so that they know exactly what is being taught to their child & decide.
  5. Personally – yes to match other organizations
  6. No, I believe everyone should have the right to live their religion. I think everyone should get a turn leading the invocation in the manner of their belief. If they don’t want to they can pass their turn. I think this is educational & inspires tolerance.

Halton – David Walach, Ontario Libertarian Party

  1. There should only be one publicly funded school system.
  2. As I support the separation of church and state, generally I would disagree with prayer sessions in public schools. However prayer is an integral part of Catholic education, and would conflict with the above concept of amalgamation.
  3. I see no reason why they should not be allowed to do so in Catholic High schools.
  4. I believe age appropriate sex education IS an important part of education and that abstinence only programs are ineffective. I am a strong supporter of age appropriate sex education. However the curriculum you reference is certainly NOT age appropriate, and I therefore do not support it.
  5. I am supportive the general concept, although I wouldn’t necessarily want to see less wealthy parishes be bankrupted. A stepped approached would likely be required
  6. If this is what the majority of people wanted I would support it. However, while I fully support the separation of church and state, there are some things that simply don’t cause any actually harm, this being one of them. Simply because you or I may not believe, does not mean it is causing any harm to either one of us. Therefore, I would simply support the will of the majority in this matter.

Halton – Gina van den Burg, Freedom Party of Ontario

  1. The historical significance of preserving the Catholic school system is no longer relevant. Their preservation was entrenched in the constitution as a compromise with Quebec so that province would join Confederation. Now Quebec and other provinces are advocating to the federal government to amend the constitution so eliminate that provision. Therefore, there is absolutely no purpose to having separate Catholic schools. In addition, if they do remain, Ontario will encounter greater pressure to accommodate other religious organizations because it will appear to be the only action that is fair and equal.
    Ultimately, because I agree with separating all religious practice from school since it is a place of learning, I would support the amalgamation to make this policy consistent across all Ontario school boards.
  2. No. Public Schools exist to teach students the basics – “Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic”. Religious practices are to be conducted at designated places of worship – not in our schools. Freedom Party has a clear election plank on this issue and is committed to removing prayer sessions and any other religious practice (i.e. distribution of religious texts, modifying the cafeteria menu to accommodate religious cuisine) from public schools. The Party is also committed to closing race-based schools in Ontario like the Afri-Centric School in Toronto.
  3. Again, to reiterate, school is for the purpose of learning the basics. Organizing social groups and their activities should take place after school hours and preferably at a local community centre or library. Social events that are non-divisive (that all members of the student body can enjoy) may occur after school hours (i.e. school dance, sports/games, etc.).
  4. I greatly question the extensive two year public consultation consider it was so shocking to parents when it was introduced. No, I absolutely do not support implementing the recommendation on the sex-ed curriculum. The introduction of this subject can start when young adults reach the age of puberty and can be incorporated into their health curriculum. More advance topics related to this subject can be included within the biology curriculum in secondary school. Public school, particularly elementary school should be teaching basic topics not subjects that are far too complex for young children.
  5. Yes, I support amending the Assessment Act. Religious organizations already receive revenue from donations from their patrons and should not be entitled to additional tax-payer funding (indirectly through tax-savings from exemptions) that only small segments of the populace use.
  6. Yes. Freedom Party is committed to removing all prayer before the start of legislative session. The Party has an outstanding platform on its website that explains the details of the issue at

Hamilton Centre – Robert Kuhlman, Ontario Libertarian Party

  1. YES
  2. NO!
  3. YES
  4. I am unfamiliar with those recommendations. would have to know what they are before I could answer
  5. YES
  6. YES

Hamilton East-Stoney Creek – W. Peter Randall, Green Party of Ontario

I whole heartedly endorse the long overdue, and paramount to sustainabity from a cost perspective, one public school board system.

Hamilton East – Stoney Creek – Greg Pattinson, Ontario Libertarian Party

  1. The Libertarian Party has a better solution that will save the province and the taxpayer much more. By removing government bureaucracy from education you will have instant savings while free market competition will reduce the price and improve the quality of education in the long run. This also ensures that people are only paying for the type of education they want. Catholics and any other superstitious people would still have the option to send their children to a superstitious school but the general public would not be forced to pay for it.
  2. I will make a personal promise to all religious leaders. If they will promise not to pray in schools I will promise not to think in their church.
  3. A person should be free to do whatever they want as long as they are not infringing the rights of anyone else. That is the underlying principle every Libertarian policy is based on.
  4. It should be up to the individual school to develop a curriculum that will appeal to the free market.
  5. The Libertarian Party believes in equality under the law with no exceptions.
  6. Absolutely

Hamilton Mountain – Sophia Aggelonitis, Liberal Party of Ontario

Submitted the Liberal Party of Ontario response. Read it here.

Hamilton Mountain – Hans Wienhold, Ontario Libertarian Party

  1. I would go much further than saving a scant half a billion dollars. If given the opportunity I will initiate a gradual withdrawal of government from education at every level. Government schools are nothing more than indoctrination centers for young and impressionable minds. I think the process, in order to minimize disruption to people’s lives, ought to be phased in over a period of twenty-five to fifty years. The first priority would be the de-funding of so-called institutes of higher learning which are largely involved in a massive squandering of time and resources. All too many graduates end up with, as Gerald Celente puts it, “degrees in worthlessness.”
  2. Obviously, once the government monopoly has been phased out, all schooling will be provided via competitive private markets. All schools will be privately owned, whether by churches, mosques or for profit businesses. Therefore, the question would become completely irrelevant. Decisions about conducting prayer sessions would be made by those who run the various schools in accordance with the wishes of their customers.
  3. There should be no publicly funded schools, Catholic or otherwise. If privately funded and run Catholic schools wish to allow the formation of Gay-Straight Alliance groups it would be their uncontested right. If they choose not to allow those groups that would be their right as well. Their success as privately funded schools would rely upon how their un-coerced customers reacted to their policies.
  4. I strongly oppose top-down, centralized decision making by coercion funded government institutions.
  5. I support the right to own private property. The idea that a property owner must pay rent to the state in perpetuity is abhorrent to me. Therefore, I would support amending the Assessment Act to finally abolish all property taxes, for everyone. Once we have accomplished the abolition of property taxes we shall finally be able to say that a man’s home truly is his castle.
  6. Yes, I do. And more than that…. I would wholeheartedly support eliminating most legislative sessions as well. They do too much damage.

Kingston and the Islands – Paul Busch, Freedom Party of Ontario

  1. I do not necessarily support a single funded school system, If Catholic parents wish to put their children in Catholic schools that is their free choice to do so. Like wise for public schools, people should have free choice when it comes to their children’s education.
  2. No, I firmly believe prayer “Sessions” should not be allowed on PUBLIC school property. I see no harm with prayer as part of religion classes etc, if you choose to situate your children in the Catholic school system.
  3. Most defiantly, a student should be able to express themselves just like any other normal human being regardless of sexual gender or preference.
  4. I would have to look into this topic further to provide you with a better answer, sorry.
  5. I support FULLY separating Government from Religion on almost every level.
  6. Yes.

Kitchener – Waterloo – Eric Davis, Liberal Party of Ontario

Submitted the Liberal Party of Ontario response. Read it here.

Lambton – Kent – Middlesex – James Armstrong, Green Party of Ontario

  1. I am a green party candidate because it is the only party that is looking at amalgamation of the schoolboards
  2. Students should not subjected to any religious indoctrination at school but teaching about world religions is fine
  3. I do not agree with any alliance groups that promote a persons sexuality or religion it is not allowed in the work place
  4. Sorry I have not got enough info for this question
  5. All charitable organizations should be treated the same
  6. yes

Please note I had a petition presented in the house of commons by Rose Marie Ur asking that we change the constitution so that ontario can fund just one school system. The reply I received was that Ontario was free to fund religion any way they chose.

Lanark – Frontenac – Lennox and Addington – Nancy Matte, Green Party of Ontario

  1. The Green Party of Ontario supports moving forward in the process of merging public and separate schools board together. With a changing Ontario face and diverse needs of students, it is essential that we seize the opportunity to find efficiencies by reducing our 72 school boards to a more manageable 40 to 45. The Green Party feels strongly that it is important to set up a Citizen Assembly to study and offer recommendations on how to move forward with a single school system for Ontario. It’s TIME to focus on student services.
  2. Public Schools should be a centre, a gathering place, a place of community. Schools are valuable public resources! All groups should access these, using them to their potential, no matter the denomination or the roles of the individuals. In the ideal world these hubs of energy and potential would be used every day of the year by as many people possible. Therefore, if religious and spiritual leaders would benefit in grouping people of their communities in schools I would encourage them to gather during off hours. The Green Party of Ontario sees that it is TIME for citizens to have a say in their communities. Throughout Ontario there are many traditions, cultures, rituals and believes. A one size fits all response it not appropriate. It would be a citizen’s council who would decide in the councils which types of courses and activities would be allowed during the school hours. I would leave decisions on courses and student activities to a consultation of a citizen’s assembly.
  3. Community support and alliances are the strength of Ontario. Involvement and belonging bring healthy results to the individuals who participate. Having an opportunity to discuss issues and believes is the best way to grow together. The Gay-Straight Alliance groups encourage healthy discussions about issues that face youth today. The Green Party’s fundamental tenant of supporting community includes communities such as this one. Therefore, I support such groups in all schools.
  4. Children’s first teachers and educators are the parents and their caregivers. These people stay the primary teachers throughout their lives, influenced by their community and culture. Then the school system. The school system is not responsible for teaching every subject in every detail. Teachers lack time in the class room for essentials including science, literary arts, etc. Although the Government of Ontario did study the sex-ed curriculum for 2 years, I believe they have not adequately consulted parents. As a mother of three girls in our community, I cannot support the recommendations that the provincial government proposed.
  5. Our current Green Party of Ontario platform does not include those amendments at this time. Religious organizations often provide community space for polling stations, town halls, Scout and Guide groups, day care, etc at a very modest cost. The exemption therefore acts as an incentive NOT to waste land and resources to build other facilities. Within the current budget, we are limiting extra expenditures to ensure that our deficit is removed quickly so that more effective support can be given to communities and the valuable charitable organizations that support them in the future.
  6. Changes in procedures have a dollar and time costs. I am not aware on the cost of eliminating all religious invocations at the start of legislative sessions. I am aware of increased uses of food banks, high unemployment, and destruction of our environmental resources. Changes also take time to study and implement. It is true that Canadian culture has been influenced by religion. Before supporting elimination of a cultural habit I would need to analyze the cost and benefits involved. Focusing on red tape and procedures will not feed us, make us healthy or get people jobs. With so many urgent needs in Ontario at this time, I would not make this a priority but could look into the issue for the future.

Thank you again for your time and the opportunity to fill out your survey. It is essential that groups in the community like yours stand up and are listened to.

Leeds – Grenville – Ray Heffernan, Liberal Party of Ontario

  1. No
  2. Yes, under certain circumstances
  3. Yes
  4. Yes
  5. Yes…for example, there is a difference between a church and Communities in Bloom.
  6. No

Leeds-Grenville – Charlie Taylor, Green Party of Ontario

  1. Absolutely.
  2. No
  3. There should be no publicly-funded Catholic school system, but in the mean time, Gay-Straight Alliance groups should be encouraged as a tool against bullying and discrimination.
  4. I am not familliar with this study, but support comprehensive sexual education in schools.
  5. Yes. This was one of my planks when I ran for mayor of Ottawa in 2010. Houses of worship use municipal infrastructure and should pay their share for the maintenance thereof.
  6. Yes.

London – Fanshawe – Tim Harnick, Ontario Libertarian Party

  1. We believe in separation of state and education. The state should not fund any schools nor should it set the curriculum or methods.
  2. This would not be consistent with the concept of separation of state and education. However, as long as the state is confining our children to their institution, and provided attendance is strictly voluntary, facilities are available and there is no additional cost imposed on taxpayers, we believe school boards should adopt a policy that satisfies the needs of their students. Even this may create friction within the community if different groups of parents wish to use limited school facilities for different purposes.
  3. The Catholic schools have fallen into the trap of accepting taxpayer money with undefined strings attached. If the Catholic Schools privatized they could teach/ allow anything they wanted as long as they respected everyone’s right to LIFE, LIBERTY and PROPERTY. Libertarians believe in CHOICE not forced indoctrination. Since Libertarians are INDIVIDUALS and not a collective we aren’t prone to collectivism/ racism hatreds or prejudices.
  4. No! We are opposed to bureaucrats and so called “experts” deciding what to teach our children. Central planning never works. Parents would have more choices if government was not taking our wealth to pay for a state run indoctrination/education system.
  5. If governments were not allowed to use force against peaceful citizens (e.g. confiscate their wealth and their property) to provide all manner of “free” services, then property and other taxes would be a minor issue.
  6. It seems to me that a moment of silent meditation would be appropriate, since the legislature is likely representative of the many religions in our province.

London North Centre – Deb Matthews, Liberal Party of Ontario

Submitted the Liberal Party of Ontario response. Read it here.

London North Centre – Kevin Labonte – Green Party of Ontario

  1. Yes, beyond the financial savings, this will allow all Ontario students access to the same level of education and not provide anyone with an unfair advantage.
  2. Yes, provided that no one is forced to attend such events, they do not interfere with regular classes, and no tax dollars are funding these events outside of offering them a safe place to conduct such session
  3. Yes. Any group that promotes cooperation between two or more communities should be encouraged.
  4. Yes, but I do not believe that these courses should be made mandatory.
  5. I would support revisiting the Act to ensure that is fair an equitable.
  6. Yes, I would however support a moment of silence to allow those who practice their faith the opportunity to do so in private manner.

London North Centre – Jordan vanKlinken, Ontario Libertarian Party

  1. As a Libertarian, I would support a system where parents would be able to opt-out of public education (and that portion of their taxes) and send their children to school of their choice, whether it be a faith-based or secular, English-speaking or bilingual, and so forth. I would like to begin the process of weaning the public off of Government-mandated education, thereby creating more choice for parents in how they would like their children educated. Publicly-funded Catholic schools would be quickly phased-out and privatized.
  2. Yes, if it does not become disruptive to school operations or students.
  3. A Libertarian government would do away with publicly-funded Catholic schools.
  4. I, personally, do not support said curriculum. Though in an ideal Ontario, with a Libertarian Government, if parents wanted their children to follow that kind of curriculum they would have a private option that suits their needs, and the personal opinion of the Premier or Minister of Education wouldn’t matter.
  5. No, I do not. Simply for the fact that I rarely support anything that leads to more taxes being paid. I would like to eliminate the property tax altogether. A Libertarian Government would diminish the need for property taxes by eliminating most of the 660+ boards and commissions that currently exist in Ontario, as well as moving toward private health care and education systems, thereby making this a “moot point”.
  6. Yes. Any desired religious activity can be conducted by interested participants prior to the start of legislative sessions.

London West – Jeff Buchanan, Ontario NDP

  1. Ontario New Democrats do not support re-opening this issue.
  2. Each school board is in the best position to decide how to deal with the needs of its diverse population.
  3. Yes, absolutely.
  4. Yes, I support implementing the recommendations.
  5. No.
  6. My personal preference is for a moment of silent personal reflection.

London West – Tim Hodges, Freedom Party of Ontario

  1. Freedom Party opposes the tax funding of organized religion. However, Freedom Party has laid out an 18 plank election platform that is sure to consume the efforts of a Freedom government over the next four years. Given the constitutional complexity of the amalgamation you refer to, and the importance of spending ones political capital on the achievable, undertaking a merger of the public and separate school systems is not something that a Freedom government will undertake over the next four year mandate.
  2. Speaking strictly of public schools (not of Catholic separate schools, which are religious by their very nature), the answer is “no”.
  3. I believe the precedence has already been set after the court decision with the Durham Region Catholic school board about whether or a student could bring his boyfriend to a school dance. That decision laid it out once the Catholic school board accepted government money they lost their right to oppose things in the charter. I believe that because of that case the Catholic school might lose a court decision opposing a Gay-Straight Alliance group.
  4. No. Freedom Party favours education focusing more on reading, writing, and arithmetic, and less on other matters.
  5. A Freedom government will impose no changes with respect to the current system of property tax exemption. Although we regard it as wrong for the government to consider religion in the context of taxation measures, changing the property tax exemptions simply is not one of our 18 top priorities for the coming four year term.
  6. Yes. Doing so is one of Freedom Party’s 18 election planks, and therefore a priority for a Freedom government. Please see our television commercial on this subject

Markham – Unionville – Michael Chan, Liberal Party of Ontario

Submitted the Liberal Party of Ontario response. Read it here.

Markham – Unionville – Allen Small, Ontario Libertarian Party

  1. Yes, absolutely and without question and the sooner the better. Libertarians prefer that if a taxpayer funded school system must be employed (like we now have), that it must be secular. However, a Libertarian government would offer an alternative option to accommodate parents who wish to send their children to schools with a religious component. Parents should have the choice to direct the education portion of their taxes to the school of their choosing, and send their children there. If that tax portion is insufficient to cover the cost, parents should be required to top-up any additional amounts with their own funds. We believe a competitive school system, and a competitive curriculum, would provide the best outcomes, well-educated students.
  2. No, but I have no problem allowing students to do this on their own during school recesses (lunch) in unoccupied and unsupervised rooms. This is a decision for the school principal acting “in loco parentis” under the Education Act. I also have no problem renting out space after school hours to religious organizations.
  3. Yes, absolutely, under the current system. If a voucher system is employed (as in #1 above), then the school should have the choice to set it’s own rules based on the parent’s wishes since they have chosen to support that school.
  4. No. Libertarians believe that a “one-size-fits-all” curriculum, whether it is sex-ed or chemistry, does not necessarily meet the needs of parents or students. Government should not have the power to dictate issues surrounding what some people view as morality. Of course, this is our main beef with “public” schools – lack of choice. A competitive private school system, directly supported by parents, or religious and secular organizations would provide the highest quality schools at the best prices.
  5. Yes, absolutely. They are not entitled to have any rebate.
  6. Yes, absolutely. I would also not allow public money to be spent on Christmas trees, and other decorations for any religious group’s holidays in any so-called “public areas,” including the Ontario Legislature, all Public schools, and buildings, and anywhere else taxpayers money is used for support.

Mississauga – Brampton South – Christin Milloy, Ontario Libertarian Party

  1. It is my belief that the separation of church and state is fundamentally critical to ensuring the freedoms and personal liberties of all citizens. As a Libertarian, I believe strongly that public funds should never be used to support religious institutions of any denomination. Therefore, I strongly support the de-funding of the existing Catholic school system.
  2. Ontario’s students are a diverse group of people, many of whom choose to exercise their freedom of religious expression regularly. It so happens that observance of certain religions requires prayer at specific times of day. I believe that every person’s right to freedom of religion must extend to allowing them to practice their religion as they see fit, to the extent that in so doing, they must not infringe on the human rights of others. I believe that allocating a designated space within a public school to allow students to make their prayers, and excusing them from class at the appropriate times, are acceptable measures to be taken by school administrators in support of the students’ right to freedom of religious expression. These measures can be undertaken without expense to tax-payers, and can occur without imposing on the rights of other students. In the event that a representative of the religion, for example a prayer-leader or similar individual, wishes to come to the school and make her or himself available without charge to conduct prayers, I find this to be an acceptable practice and I would allow it, provided that the individual passes the usual scrutiny which any guest visiting a public school would be expected to undergo. However, under no circumstances whatsoever should public funding ever be used to pay for the presence of such an individual, nor for the conducting of any religious services at public schools or elsewhere.
  3. Just as important as freedom of religion, are the freedoms of expression, and of free association. As a publicly funded institution, the Catholic school system has no right to limit students’ enjoyment of the freedoms which are guaranteed to them by Canada, and by the province of Ontario. To ban any club, group, or event at the school purely on the basis that it supports acceptance of LGBTQ people constitutes blatant discrimination. That it can, and does, occur regularly in Ontario at tax-payer funded institutions is a disgrace to our province, and a perfect example of why public funds should no longer be allocated to the Catholic school system, nor to any organization that would use religion as an excuse to trample the rights of others.
  4. I absolutely support the implementation of the updated sex-ed curriculum. Studies have shown conclusively that kids who receive this knowledge are at a much reduced risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases and infections, and are also much less likely to be involved in unplanned pregnancy. By withholding proper sex education, we are depriving youth of the tools they need to keep themselves safe as they grow older and eventually become sexually active. The safest student is a well informed student.
  5. No special exemptions should be granted to religious organizations, however religious organizations should be classified as charitable organizations and be treated in similar fashion by law.
  6. In support of the principle of the separation of church and state, I believe that no member of a legislative body should ever be required to recite, or to stand, for a religious invocation of any denomination. However, I would not ban the practice of legislative members doing so voluntarily (in deference to the freedoms of religion and of expression).

Mississauga East – Cooksville – Dipika Damerla, Liberal Party of Ontario

Submitted the Liberal Party of Ontario response. Read it here.

Mississauga – Streetsville – Jason Roy Gowler

, Freedom Party of Ontario

  1. No.
  2. Yes, provided it is done as part of a club or school group activity and as long as it is not forced upon the population of the school who does not want to participate. Eg The Catholic Club at a public school decides to hold an ash Wednesday prayer session for their members after school and they invite an ordained minister to the school to host the session. (Public means Public for EVERYONE)
  3. Yes (publicly funded or not it is a right guaranteed to all Canadians under freedom of association.)
  4. It would depend on what was apart of said curriculum. I believe that schools have a right and duty to teach reproductive science and scientifically proven ways to prevent STI’s and pregnancies, but it is up to the parents as well to teach their children about proper birth control methods and their own personal opinions on sex and pregnancy.
  5. Yes
  6. Yes

Nepean – Carleton – Gordon Kubanek, Green Party of Ontario

At this time I can only respond to Q#2/3,as the other do not form part of our platform at this time.
2. if students want a prayer group with a teacher to supervise that is OK – but not with a Minister to lead it
3. yes, but it must be done tactfully and respectfully and not forced

Nepean – Carlton – Roger Toutant, Ontario Libertarian Party

  1. Education should not be provided by government at all, but rather by private, competing, schools whose goal is to satisfy their customers and keep costs to a minimum (like any other industry). Only when education is no longer a government-run monopoly will savings be achieved for the tax payers, and quality and service levels increased. However, having two schools systems is better than one because there is at least some minimum competition between schools systems and choice for parents.
  2. This should be left up to the local teachers and parents to decide. Why do we need central planners to decide this for everyone?
  3. Ditto above answer.
  4. Ditto above answer.
  5. If the amendment would increase taxes for anyone, then I am against it. If an amendment lowers taxes, then I am for it.
  6. I don’t care. It’s up to the legislators to decide how they want to begin their sessions.

Newmarket – Aurora – Jason Jenkins, Ontario Libertarian Party

  1. No. The Catholic school system should be privately funded and separate from public schools that are supported by tax dollars.
  2. No.
  3. If formed with respect and tolerance, any group of individuals should be allowed to form groups so long as they don’t violate anyone’s rights.
  4. I haven’t seen the curriculum so it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to comment.
  5. I am unsure how I feel about granting any charitable organizations any tax exemptions.
  6. I do support eliminating religious activities from legislative sessions.

Niagara West-Glanbrook – Geoff Peacock, Freedom Party of Ontario

Thank you for your email. This is the Freedom Party of Ontario’s position on Organized Religion in Public Schools.
A Freedom government will ensure that our public schools are places of science and reason; places where our children learn how to think and choose rationally and independently; places that promote respect for democracy and freedom. In particular:
(a) A Freedom government will prohibit the distribution, in or by Ontario’s public schools, of religious texts or other religious materials, to students.
(b) A Freedom government will prohibit public schools from providing or designating prayer rooms or locations (to the extent it is practical, students will be free to pray without disturbing or leaving classes). Organized religious worship, religious services, or religious outreach programs will not be permitted in public schools;
(c) A Freedom government will require students in our public schools to be taught classes only in the official languages of Canada: English or French. Alleged “pilot” projects that skirt that requirement will not be permitted.
(d) A Freedom government will bar religious considerations from a public school or public school board’s policies and procedures regarding cafeterias, food, or kitchens, while ensuring that a wide variety of healthy foods are available for consumption;
(e) A Freedom government will prohibit religion-based exemptions of students from mandatory classes (e.g., music in elementary school), and religion-based segregation of students in classes (e.g., segregating boys from girls in elementary school gym);
(f) A Freedom government will prohibit students, teachers, staff, and volunteers from wearing burqas (full body and face covering) or niqābs (face coverings) on public school property or at public school functions. Hijabs (headscarves) that do not include a niqāb (face covering) will not be prohibited.
(g) Overall aim / umbrella provision: A Freedom government will prohibit any other religious accommodation policies in our public schools that would undermine respect for democracy and freedom, or that would accommodate, promote, or normalize racism, sexism, or discrimination based upon sexual orientation;
(h) A Freedom government will require public schools to explain that democracy is right, good and pro-freedom, and that theocracy is wrong, bad and anti-freedom.

Oak Ridges-Markham – Trifon Haitas, Green Party of Ontario

  1. Yes.
  2. Not on school property unless they rent the gym or a room for their religious prayers.
  3. Yes.
  4. Yes, sex education is important and teaching about sexuality in schools is critical both for individuals and to society.
  5. A 40% rebate ought to be good for every charitable organization including religious organizations.
  6. Yes.

Oshawa – Stacey Leadbetter, Green Party of Ontario

  1. I support the best possible solution for funding our public education – a solution that respects all the participants. The Green Party is about inclusion not exclusion. Everyone needs to be involved in the discussion and everyone needs to be satisfied with the resolution.
  2. The majority of Canadians believe/belong to some form of religious organization. Denying people the right to pray where they work, study or play is unfair. You have the right not to pray, you cannot deny someone else the right to pray. If one religious leader is permitted, then all should have the opportunity. Many office towers, all airports and hospitals have pray/meditation rooms. I see no reason why schools cannot do the same thing and those students who want to participant can – during lunch hours and breaks. Children should not be removed from the class room to attend prayer.
  3. Absolutely. As well, any school that does not comply should be penalized.
  4. Absolutely. Again, any school that does not comply should be penalized.
  5. Absolutely. All churches, including mine, should be treated like all other charities.
  6. I think everyone should be at liberty to participate in whatever process they feel comfortable with. If you do not want to pray, don’t. Pledge your allegiance to the Province and the people you represent, whatever works for you. However, I don’t think prayer should be eliminated entirely for reasons stated above.

Oshawa – Matthew Belanger, Ontario Libertarian Party

  1. The ultimate goal of the Ontario Libertarian Party is to end the government monopoly on education, and give parents a choice as to how their children are educated. Every family should have the option to educate their children in the manner they feel best – whether that is entirely secular, entirely religious, or somewhere in between. An open, competitive education system would allow for a better education for all students, and one more closely resembling the desires of their parents.
  2. As long as parents have the right to choose whether their children attend such events, and that there are no additional costs coming out of the public purse, then I believe that religious groups should be allowed to present their beliefs. Freedom of speech is open to everybody, but needs to be accompanied by the freedom to ignore.
  3. Absolutely. Students should be allowed to form any group or association they wish.
  4. No. I support multiple, competing curriculum’s, which allows parents to select the one which most closely matches their beliefs and philosophies of education. Given the current environment, in which all students are forced to receive the same education, then any subject this controversial should not be included in that curriculum. Alternately, parents should have the right to exclude their children from these classes.
  5. The subject is far too complex for me to give a proper answer here. Our system of taxation is unfair, fundamentally flawed, and funds too many activies.
  6. If the people present at the legislative session want there to be a religious invocation to start it, I have no problem with it continuing. In essence, the Libertarian position is that individuals should have the right to act as they please, so long as that activity does not infringe upon the rights of others. Participating in religious ceremonies is, in general, non-invasive to others, and thus should be allowed. No religious activities should be funded by public money, but religion is not unique in that respect.

Ottawa Centre – Yasir Naqvi, Liberal Party of Ontario

Submitted the Liberal Party of Ontario response. Read it here.

Ottawa – Orleaans – Dave Paul, Ontario Libertarian Party

I think that I can answer all 6 of your questions in one simple statement as follows:
A Libertarian position on state run public education is such that education CHOICES are best left to parents or guardians. Voucher systems and Charter schools are proven to work very in other jurisdictions, and could be painlessly implemented in Ontario.

Ottawa – Orleaans – David McGruer, Freedom Party of Ontario

  1. Such a question can only arise in a society where government has forced students into state-run schools and forced citizens to pay for it, and further implies that such a coercive arrangement is desirable. In a free society, individuals establish schools that offer what they believe parents want in an educational institution, parents choose among the schools offered, competition between all such institutions requires them to remain relevant and productive, and so families obtain the educational services they want, not what is dictated they must have by those in central command. I am in favour of a free education system, meaning all participants are free to choose, instead of the current one. Using more force to reduce existing choice in schools can only make things worse and validates the use of force in education.
  2. Again, such a question can only have meaning in a society where citizens are subject to government force in educational. The moral role of government is to protect the rights of citizens – that’s all – and so I am in favour of the separation of religion and state. Thus, in the current non-free state-run schools there should be no religious component except for the study of religion, if individual parents and students so choose. As a small step towards such separation, prayer sessions should not be permitted during school hours.
  3. In a free society, citizens are permitted to do, join or form anything that does not cause or promise physical harm to others. Thus, students should be free to form any group they wish, as long as it does not violate another’s right to liberty or property.
  4. Such a question can only arise when government operates a monopoly in education and effectively forbids and outlaws parental choice in educational institutions and curriculum content. Sex education is a sensitive subject for many people and curriculum content should be subject to parental choice. I am not in favour of having the government force any particular content upon students, so there is no way to objectively answer this question, just as there can be no way to answer a question about any item in the curriculum unless it is about my children’s education. In a monopoly system, curriculum content is determined by political pull instead of parental choice, and all of it necessarily is a violation of rights. I am in favour of restoring parental freedom in education and removing government coercion from this crucial industry.
  5. In a free society all contracts and exchanges are voluntary and property ownership is absolute. Thus, I am opposed to the use of government force against citizens through coercive property taxation. In the current system there is little relationship between the actual use of services and the property tax paid. In the current mixed economy, if there is to be a property tax then it should be applied objectively and as fairly as the system permits, at least approximating the services used, and there should certainly be no discrimination between institutions based on religion.
  6. In a free society, religious beliefs are a matter of individual choice and are neither imposed on nor denied to anyone. This implies a complete separation of religion and state and so, by extension, religion should not play any part in government ceremonies.

Ottawa South – Jean-Serge Brisson, Ontario Libertarian Party

  1. The only area that the government should be involved with education is to make sure that the basics of knowledge are met. For example not to have an illiterate population, which means everyone should be able to read and also comprehending what the students are reading. The only authority that should have the final say on what children should learn has to be the parents or guardian. The State can never be a guardian. We believe that parents should be able to choose were there tax dollars will go on education without interference of government/s. Religious schools have been with our society since this country was founded. They have served us well and occupy an important place to our education system. Having one secular school eliminates competition and that is important to help keep a good level of education in Ontario. The same for cultural schools. So long as the basics are taught, the need to have a good grasp of the knowledge necessary to earn a living once out of school is what will motivate a good education.
  2. That is why we have religious and public schools, to allow those who do not wish to be in a religious environment to be able to do so. Any religious activity in a public school is contrary to its basic function. As for the observance of specific holidays, it is important to remind students the type of country we live in and needs to be part of the curriculum. It is both part of our history and who we are.
  3. We have freedom of association in Canada. Having said that if the promotion of a lifestyle is contrary to the teachings of a religious school, then those who wish to act contrary to those rules should attend a different school unless the community wishes to allow or make changes on the make up of the said school. No government rep or organization should force that change if one is simply asked for. This becomes social engineering by government if left unchallenged.
  4. I refer to my previous answers and adding that the community that support a specific school should and must be those who have the final say. Otherwise, the government is the guardian of all not just for the students but including adults and that is not the proper definition of a free society.
  5. No religion should have an exemption from anything in our society. A religion or a charitable organization must be treated as any other business otherwise we open our society to abuses to well organized individuals who can and will disguise their “business” under the guise of religion or charity all the time supported by unknowing taxpayers paying more then their share because of exemptions to these disguised “businesses” as non profit organizations.
  6. Our form of government is based on Common Law and the principles set down in Judeo-Christian principles. To have a small ceremony on the opening of our legislative sessions makes a reference to the origins of why we have the system of government that we have now. It should be a reminder of that basic to all of those who are born here and who emigrate here. We are at peace and prosperous for one reason only, the way we govern ourselves.

Ottawa West – Nepean – Bob Chiarelli, Liberal Party of Ontario

Submitted the Liberal Party of Ontario response. Read it here.

Parkdale – High Park – Rod Rojas, Ontario Libertarian Party

  1. Yes. Which is not to say that I support public schooling in general.
  2. No. Even though I am a Christian, I do not think public money should fund any religious activities.
  3. Is the Gay-Straight Alliance funded by tax dollars? If so my answer would be no. If the Gay-Straight Alliance are just a group of people, not receiving public money, they can do whatever they wish, in fact any dialogue is a good thing.
  4. Current, relevant and appropriate curriculum according to whom? When you try to please everyone, you can please nobody. Public schooling is a huge blanket that gets thrown over a huge percentage of the population, and as long as we have it, we will be unhappy with it.
  5. Just like we have a variety of food alternatives in the market, we should have the same variety in education.
    Not long ago, Canada had no property tax whatsoever. Under these conditions Canadians had unprecedented gains in their standard of living, especially poor Canadians. Even though I myself attend Church, I do not think that religious organizations should be entitled to any preferential treatment, I think nobody should pay property taxes.
  6. Yes, as a Christian I believe that a prayer avails only if it comes from the heart. To have someone make a religious invocation, by force, that they do not believe in, is an utter nonsense, and a violation of personal liberty.

Pickering – Scarborough East – Tracy MacCharles, Liberal Party of Ontario

Submitted the Liberal Party of Ontario response. Read it here.

Prince Edward – Hastings – Leona Dombrowsky, Liberal Party of Ontario

Submitted the Liberal Party of Ontario response. Read it here.

Prince Edward – Hastings – Neal Ford, Family Coalition Party

  1. I support maintaining the current system as per the constitutional arrangement whereby confessional school boards were protected. The public schools have chosen to take on a secular face, while the Catholic schools remain for those parents who choose to have their children taught in a milieu where the values taught at home are reinforced in the schools. The Family Coalition Party believes parents should have that choice. We further believe that independent schools and homeschooling choices should be honoured as well, provided that objective academic standards are met. Each child and family is different, and we believe that, the best people to identify a child’s needs, and make the appropriate choices as to how those needs will be met are their families.
  2. That should be a matter for the local schools and school boards to decide in conjunction with their parent committees. Not the province.
    The only role for the province with regard to this is to ensure that freedom of conscience is respected, ie: that no child in the public school syestem should be required to participate in such a session, nor denied the right to participate should they wish to do so.
  3. Parents who have their children in Catholic schools have a right to expect that the schools should operate according the moral teachings of the Catholic Church, which states that all persons must be accorded the same respect due them as human beings as anyone else, but not accorded special status based on identity politics. We further stress that this is something that local bishops, trustees and families should agree on, and not something to be mandated by the province. We further believe that the same standards should apply to public schools. Such decisions as to what kind of clubs are appropriate must be made at the local level by trustees and parents,
  4. The FCP believes it should be up to the local school districts, under the guidance of parents committees, or episcopal overseers (in the case of Catholic schools) who should decide whether and how such a program should be implemented, and if so, what content they deem appropriate. In cases where a school or board has opted to implement any such non-academic program, the decision as to whether an individual child may or may not participate must ultimately rests with the child’s family.
  5. The FCP supports reforming the Assessment Act to make the tax system less burdensome on all. This will strengthen families and communities by leaving funds in their hands, instead of with an expensive bureaucracy, There are several reasons why we would not support taxing churches and charities. They provide communities with services ranging from spiritual support to making sure people falling on hard times have a safety net they can turn to, at no charge. While churches and charities are subject to dealing with utility bills and other overhead costs the services they provide are necessary the results are immediate, visible, and very cost effective. Moreover their own funding comes from the after tax dollars of their members. The taxpayer benefits since these services would otherwise have to be provided by the province at far greater cost, and lower efficiency & quality, The citizen can also direct contributions according to their conscience, and toward where they see the greatest need. Keeping donations to churches and charities tax deductible is something that encourages people to give more, and the local focus and visible results encourages volunteerism. Many of our church buildings are also historic heritage sites, and leaving churches the means to maintain their buildings from private donations, spares taxpayers the burden of doing so, as has happened in Quebec.
  6. No. As advocates of limited government we believe that religious invocations provide a restraining factor as they are an acknowledgement that the members of the legislature (or city council, or local committee) are subject and accountable to a power higher than themselves or of man for their actions. Thus such invocations are beneficial and should be retained, However, we support the right of those who do object to such an invocation to be excused.

Richmond Hill – Reza Moridi, Liberal Party of Ontario

Submitted the Liberal Party of Ontario response. Read it here.

Richmond Hill – Brian Chamberlain, Green Party of Ontario

This is not a matter upon which my party has a stated position for the current election, so I am free to give you my own opinions.Theyare below. I would welcome further discussion or clarification on these matters, but may not be as responsive as I’d like to be before the election as these arenot matters in my top priorities at the moment.
  1. If the above could be proven to be the case, when all of the governmental restructuring costs, the costs of legal challenges (perhaps constitutionally), impact on existing students and educational staff, etc. are all factored in, I’d be supportive of putting thisto a provincial referendum. Ihave heard of a few studies (but cannot quote them at this moment) that would dispute this as a source of significant cost savings. I also think that this is not likely to be a purely cost-driven decision for most people involved.
  2. So long as public schools with religious affiliations (namely the Catholic school system) are available, optional, transparent in their curriculum and open to the wishes of their students and parent, yes. This links closely to question 1. I suspect that if you were to remove prayer from Catholic schools, the point could likely be made that this is tantamount to removing or significantly weakening the Catholic school option. I’d be inclined to consider that step only in relation to a move to remove it altogether should that come to pass.
  3. Yes.
  4. I do not support the Catholic school system implementing a different sex-ed curriculum than the non-Catholic public school option. Thus, if, together, the public schools support the implementation of the recommendations, they should be implemented equally for both. It is my hope that the public consultation process included the Catholic school systemequally represented.
  5. No. I am comfortable with religious institutions having a separate designation at the Provincial level in order to ensure Freedom of Religion as protected in our Charter of Rights. Making this a municipal decision may prove quite problematic and costly.
  6. Yes.

St. Catharines – Jim Bradley, Liberal Party of Ontario

Submittedthe Liberal Party of Ontario response. Read it

St. Catharines – Sandie Bellows, Ontario PC Party

  1. No, I do not support forcing amalgamation of the Public and Catholic school systems into a single secular taxpayer funded school system for each language. Catholic education is enshrined in Ontario Law and needs to be protected. However, I would support and encourage a task force made up of Catholic and Public educators to study, investigate and possibly recommend a way to merge Catholic and Public school board administration’s into one, in the name of eliminating duplication and creating efficiencies and cost savings for the taxpayer.
  2. It is totally unacceptable.
  3. Absolutely, religious beliefs should never compromise or usurp an individuals rights and freedoms as protected under the Charter.
  4. Sorry, I am not familiar enough with those recommendations to comment, however if you send them to my Communications Chair at , I will be happy to absorb them and answer your question.
  5. I would need to hear arguments from both sides to take an informed position on this issue.
  6. A spiritual invocation at the beginning of a legislative session should be secular.

St. Catharines – Jennifer Mooradian, Green Party of Ontario

As you may be aware, the Green Party of Ontario included in it’s 2007 platform policy advocating one public school system. Our current platform promotes 5 policy points our membership feels are most relevant to Ontario at this time. More information on GPO platform can be found at
The questions you pose do present difficulty for implementation. Let me speak to the principle embodied in the questionnaire. My personal position is that education and religion should be separate for many reasons. Our society is increasingly multi-cultural with individuals choosing to practice a wide variety of religions. It would be impossible to fairly accommodate each of these religions in a publicly funded educational system. Costs would be prohibitive, resources depleted. A common sense solution is to separate education and religion.
Religion is a personal and individual decision. Most religions centre around a place of worship where the faithful congregate to learn, share and socialize. Religions places of worship offer the ideal setting for religious education to take place.
An additional concern for me is the manner in which religion can effect what is taught in schools and what is not. A recent conversation with a colleague centred around how evolution is taught (or not taught) in public schools. Coming from a researched-based background, it disturbs me to know students are not always being taught in factual manner, that some issues are glossed over for what can only be religious reasons.
I would like to be clear that these statements are not necessarily part of GPO platform, but of a more personal nature. If I can provide clarification, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Thank you for taking the time to contact me.

St. Paul’s – Eric Hoskins, Liberal Party of Ontario

Submittedthe Liberal Party of Ontario response. Read it here.

Sarnia – Lambton – Jason Vermette, Green Party of Ontario

In the interests of equity and fiscal and administrative efficiency, the Green Party of Ontario supports a citizens’ assembly to study and offer recommendations on the constitutional, process and logistical issues relating to a single public school system in Ontario. The citizens assembly will provide an opportunity for Ontarians to comment and participate in this discussion, and help determine the best way forward.
In our platform, we also address other education issues such as investments in training, post-secondary education and the issue of rural school closures. Please find our platform online at

Sault Ste. Marie – Luke MacMichael, Green Party of Ontario

I think you will find the Green Party is the only Party out there that agrees with you on all these issues. I happen to be a very religious person myself, but I don’t believe the state should be forcing my religious beliefs on anyone else. We are all entitled to the freedom to choose our religious beliefs on our own.

Scarborough – Agincourt – Pauline Thompson, Green Party of Ontario

  1. Yes.
  2. No.
  3. Yes.
  4. Yes.
  5. What is the amendment to the act? I’m not familiar with this amendment. I think religious and other charitable organizations should have equal treatment…
  6. Yes.

Scarborough – Guildwood – Naoshad Pochkhanawala, Green Party of Ontario

  1. Yes I do.
  2. No it isn’t.
  3. They should. The boards vehement opposition to this is abhorrent and a slap in the face of common sense and decency.
  4. I am not familiar with the recommendations in great detail. I do believe that relevant and appropriate sex-ed is important and should be supported and fully implemented. Pretending that sex just won’t happen or that youngsters won’t explore is the kind of willful blindness that has created so many of the problems we face today.
  5. I do. A special exemption for religious organizations is an unfair and costly anachronism in our tax laws.
  6. This one I do not support. The legislature is a place of tradition and history and a traditional invocation is a nod towards our history, culture and values. I’m not a Christian but I don’t take offense at calling Christmas, Christmas or a prayer or blessing at the legislature or anywhere where it has been a tradition for hundreds of years.

Scarborough – Rouge River – Raphael Rosch, Family Coalition Party

  1. No, this does not make sense. If the goal is to save the province money, there are better more family and education friendly ways of doing this. There is currently great bureaucratic overhead and wasteful spending and mismanagement of resources that can all be shed to save this amount of money. A good example of how this can be accomplished was shown in the secular public school system reforms performed in Edmonton by superintendent Emery Dosdall. With great academic results to boot! Now if the issue is to secularize the school system further, this makes even less sense. Many families, even non-catholic families that I personally know, chose the Catholic school system over the public school system because they felt more comfortable having their children under such a system, where they felt their children had, ironically, greater religious freedom. The Catholic school system also consistently has slightly higher academic results than the secular public school system. The Family Coalition Party actually takes a different approach to the education system, whereby it follows what study after study keeps finding, that when parents are most satisfied with the education system or institution that their children are in, this leads to greater academic success for the children. The FCP proposes a tax credit equivalent to the cost of the student in a public school system to apply towards the education they feel is most adequate for their children. The public school system curriculum is set by government, and government does not know best.
  2. As a former religious leader myself, I firmly believe that Canada needs to stand for guaranteeing religious freedom for all its residents. This includes the freedom to practice your religion or the tenets of your faith at your educational institution. However, I do not see why a person who is not a student should be given a special right to enter a school and lead a religious service inside the bounds of the school. This is in violation of the Education Act. If it were a student led group meeting in private, this would not be an issue, but I assume this question is related to the recent news of a public, secular, school cafeteria being turned into a gender discriminatory ad-hoc mosque. This should not be the case.
  3. I believe the Catholic school board, and the Catholic Church have made it clear that they do not find homosexual behavior to be moral. I do not think the government should interfere and demand that the Catholic school board act in a way they find to be immoral against their own conscience. This is what the other side of the coin of separation of church and state is about, the government does not get to meddle with the church, any church. Not just that, but history has taught us that one of the most perilous situations to find yourself in is when government begins to be the one to set the moral compass for the rest of society. We need not look further than Iran and its moral police. A “secular” moral police is no better than a “religious” moral police.
  4. Absolutely not. I am not sure what these “extensive public consultations” looked like, but government does not know best, and what seems to be the case with this curriculum is that it does not just cover “sexual education” but also imposes a government sponsored moral agenda along with it. Let me again reiterate, government should not be the one to dictate what is morally right or wrong. This is especially the case in terms of such a sensitive matter as sexuality is. The current curriculum also proposes to sexualize children much earlier than they would otherwise be, and it goes against the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights declaration that states that parents are the ones who have the right over the education and raising of their own children. This includes issues such as morality and sexuality. If Canadians fought so hard to “keep government out of their bedrooms”, why is it now OK for government to get into our children’s bedrooms?
  5. Again, as a former religious leader myself, I saw first hand how the property owned by religious organizations, in this case a church, can be used for the benefit of so many other groups, including people of other faiths. Multifaith events, for example, promote better relations and understanding between people of different faiths, especially given how much friction tends to exist between different faiths. The value of nurturing such relations in our community is immeasurable; such understanding goes a very long way at increasing the quality of life for all members of our society. And this of course is in addition to all the other very tailored, specific services these religious organizations provide for not just their own members, but any person that requests them. Services such as mental health support, financial support, moral support, community support. Services that cannot feasibly be supplied by the government, and that when provided (at the taxpayer’s expense), are not as personal or cost effective. You could argue that these events do not need to be held at such locations, but being immersed in another’s place of worship helps to remove a lot of the guardedness against such a group and promotes a feeling of comfort with that different group’s faith and facilitates a more intimate understanding between groups. It could also be argued that this does not mean that we must grant full property tax. However, since religious groups, as a general rule, do not engage in activities that would maximize income (where this would be more possible with a non-religious charitable organization), this means that this extra tax burden might lead to many religious organizations losing their ability to keep their property.
  6. I do not see a need to take this step, as long as being present during the invocation is not obligatory for those who do not wish to be.

Simcoe North – Fred Larsen, Liberal Party of Ontario

Submittedthe Liberal Party of Ontario response. Read it here.

Simcoe North – Peter Stubbins, Green Party of Ontario

It is GPO policy to amalgamate the public and Catholic Boards. I do not agree that there should be any groups on school grounds in Catholic schools that create any animosity towards any sexual orientation. Religous organizations should only get the same municipal taxation break that charities do. I am not against spiritual leaders speaking at schools if all are accomodated. Otherwise I would not accomodate any. I am all for full sex education in our schools and I am opposed to those religous teachings which would ;interfere with reproductive knowledge.

Stormont – Dundas – South Glengarry – Justin Reist, Green Party of Ontario

  1. The Green Party of Ontario believes in a fair and equitable public education system that welcomes all students regardless of their beliefs. We support a strong public education system – both English and French – that will provide our future generation with the tools they need to succeed in the 21st century economy. In the interests of equity, fiscal and administrative efficiency, the Green Party of Ontario will hold a citizens’ assembly to study and offer recommendations on the constitutional, process and logistical issues relating to a single public school system in Ontario. The citizens’ assembly will provide an opportunity for Ontarian’s to comment and participate in this discussion, and help determine the best way forward.
  2. The Green Party of Ontario strongly believes in the need for a fair education system that welcomes all students regardless of their beliefs. As such, we recognize that certain denominations require prayer at specific times during the day, and accommodations may need to be made so as to ensure the rights and dignity of all students are respected. We will work with religious and community groups to reach appropriate accommodations that respects the beliefs of said students while ensuring an equitable and welcoming educational environment.
  3. The Green Party fully supports the rights of students to form Gay-Straight Alliance groups in all publicly funded schools. We believe in an equitable education system that welcomes all students regardless of their sexual orientation and provides a safe environment for them to learn and develop. Green MPPs would work to ensure publicly funded Catholic schools are environments where all students feel welcome and safe.
  4. As a Green MPP I will support implementing the 2010 recommendations relating to the sex-ed curriculum. Sex and sexuality are an important part of human development and good health, and teaching healthy sexuality in the schools is critical both for individuals and to society.
  5. The disparity of property taxes between religious and other charitable organizations is certainly an issue that requires further review. Ontario’s charitable organizations play a key role in delivering many services, and should operate on a fair and equal footing.
  6. The Green Party of Ontario values the separation of church and state, and as such would support eliminating religious invocations at the start of legislative sessions. We believe that one religion should not be promoted above any other insofar as the public service or government is concerned.

Thornhill – Gene Balfour, Ontario Libertarian Party

  1. YES
  2. NO
  3. NO, not if they are associated in any way with the school or public funding.
  4. DON’T KNOW. I have not seen the recommendations.
  5. NO. Everyone shout be treated equally under the tax code. Special interest groups can and. should fund their our community mandates.
  6. YES. I am an atheist and do not appreciate any elected government official invoking their our mystical or religious beliefs in my name. If I want a dose of religious dogma, I will attend church.

Thunder Bay – Atikokan – Russ Aegard – Green Party of Ontario

  1. A HUGE YES! The Catholic system is a private system funded by taxpayer dollars. They can refuse kids, force them on meds whereas the public board would never do that. I know, because I’m a teacher.
  2. NO! We are having that problem right now with the Gideon tradition.
  3. YES! And not only that, it is mandated by the Education Act, so I’m not sure why the Catholic board gets away with doing what they do….
  4. Hmmmm….I am a little bit leary about this one. On the one hand, there were some very important areas that were severely lacking in our curriculum. On the other hand, there were some issues that people brought up that I agreed with as well. I don’t know enough about the recommendations to formulate a strong opinion here.
  5. YES!
  6. YES!

Toronto Centre – Mark Daye, Green Party of Ontario

  1. I am strongly in favour of amalgamating the two systems to create one public system with an English and French stream.
  2. It is my opinion that religious services should primarily be held in churches, mosques, synagogues and in the home. I’m not opposed to schools having a room set aside for quiet reflection for students to use if they so choose during their free time; study period, recess, etc. I don’t feel it is appropriate for religious leaders to hold services there.
  3. YES. They should also able to call such a group a Gay-Straight Alliance.
  4. Yes.
  5. Yes.
  6. Yes. I support the separation of church and state in an effort to promote fairness and equality to all citizens.

Toronto Centre – Judi Falardeau, Ontario Libertarian Party

  1. I don’t think that education should be an area of government involvement at all; and a half a million dollars is a drop in the bucket. We continue to throw millions of dollars at education every year, and yet, we show a decline in the quality of the finished product – the student. Private companies, providing education as a service, and competing for enrollment, would certainly (and naturally) and lower the cost, and improve the quality of education. Of course, to avoid and hardships for those affected (teachers’ unions, school board employees, current students,) a transition like this would take place over a long period of time – most likely decades. Institutes of higher education would be the first to lose public financing, as the value of university degrees have become de-valued. The business community is fully aware of this.
  2. As I stated earlier, “government money should not fund education.” Schools would be owned and operated by a variety of interests: churches, synagogues, businesses, etc. The decision to practice prayer or not, would be up to the individual school. It would not be an issue of public discussion. A for-profit school would conduct prayers (or not) in accordance with the wishes of its clients (the parents.)
  3. Again – there should be no government funded schools. Once the government monopoly on schooling is broken, the issue of gay-straight alliances would be decided by those who run each individual school. If they saw that those types of groups would increase business, then it would be their right to operate that way – and vise versa.
  4. No I do not support that. You stated that the “extensive public consultations took 2 years.” This is the kind of waste of resources that occurs when a large, centrally-planned institution makes a decision – especially one that is funded by tax-payer money. A for-profit business or school, concerned about the bottom line, would be highly unlikely to take 2 years to make such a decision. Therefore, I strongly oppose top-down, centralized decision making by government institutions.
  5. I believe in private property rights. I do not believe that people should pay taxes on their property for eternity. Therefore, I would support amending the Assessment Act to abolish all property taxes, for everyone.
  6. Yes, I do. Legislative sessions are the product of a bloated, out-of-control, growing state – they do not merit the pseudo-sanctification of prayer.

Toronto – Danforth – John Recker, Ontario Libertarian Party

  1. The OLP believes that education is essential to our prosperity, and that our children must be given the best possible opportunities to achieve their goals. In a province where roughly 30% of the people lack even a high school education, we feel that the publicly funded education model has failed. A better system can be achieved by removing the publicly funded monopoly currently enjoyed by both school boards. The status quo has been permitted to persist unchecked. I would support any measure that would help reduce the taxes extracted from Ontarians that also have a positive effect on the education of our youth.
  2. As an aspect of learning–as a subject material–religion has a place in our schools. The wide variety of ethnic and religious groups that make up our community should all be recognized and celebrated. Mandated prayer, however, has no place in the classroom.
  3. As a Libertarian, I believe every individual has the right to form or join any group they wish to, so long as it does not interfere with the rights of others. I would support any group of young people who seek to address a social problem in a constructive fashion.
  4. Personally, I believe all things–including sex–should be taught by both parents, and in schools. While attending Queen’s University, I volunteered for the Sexual Health Resource Centre. You’d be surprised how many young people have no idea of the basic functioning of the sexual reproductive system, communicable diseases, and emotional aspects of sex and sexuality. Not all parents are qualified to teach about this subject with objectivity and or have much knowledge–other than experiential–regarding the subject. The OLP does not necessarily support province wide curriculum standards, as they believe parents and students should have the ability to choose the curriculum focus of the schools they support.
  5. I believe that all charitable organizations should be given equal opportunity to prosper, regardless of religious affiliation. These organizations provide essential social services to our communities much more effectively and efficiently than any government monopoly. Free and voluntary associations are key to our future prosperity. To favor one group over another because of their beliefs amounts to legislated bigotry.
  6. I would support the removal of religious invocations at the commencement of legislative sessions. Personal beliefs should remain just that: personal. I support everyone’s right to choose what they want to believe for themselves, but these beliefs should not be forced on others. Ceremonial prayer has no place during publicly funded decision making meetings.

Trinity-Spadina – Tim Grant, Green Party of Ontario

  1. Yes, but I’ve not seen the evidence of half a billion dollars in savings. Can you send that to me?
  2. Yes and No. Eg. I support the Scarborough principal’s decision to invite an Iman to deliver Friday afternoon prayers to the Muslim students in his school cafeteria, because it decreased the amount of time they were previously missing classes by going to the local mosque.
  3. Yes
  4. I might, but I’d need to see the recommendations.
  5. I might, but would need to hear both sides before weighing on this one.
  6. Yes. I’d support this OR including ALL such invocations as long as it included agnostics and atheists.

Welland – Donna-Lynne Hamilton, Ontario Libertarian Party

  1. Yes, I support the amalgamation of the public and Catholic school systems.
  2. No, religion belongs outside of school hours.
  3. Yes.
  4. Yes, I would support implementing the recommendations that the provincial government proposed in 2010.
  5. No I do not support amending the Assessment Act.
  6. No, I do not support eliminating all religious invocations at the start of legislative sessions.

Willowdale – Alexander Brown, Ontario NDP

  1. The ONDP does not support re-opening the issue of the historic dual system situation in Ontario.
  2. No, it is not acceptable.
  3. Yes, they should.
  4. We support implementing the recommendations with strong public support from parents and school boards.
  5. No.
  6. A silent moment of personal reflection is suggested.

Willowdale – Arjun Nair, Ontario Libertarian Party

  1. In the long and short run, I have two different answers. From the last time I looked at the Fraser Institute’s report of public school systems, it was the existing secular school boards, most specifically, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB – relevant to where I live), that asked for significantly more money than the next leading school board in the region, the Toronto District Catholic School Board, by a very significant difference – at the time, and to-date, I have not looked into it further to seek the justification of this. A promise in theory, or “on paper” to save money does not translate to me as a promise that guarantees any return, without significant respect to a decisive plan or empirical display of what the future management will be like. If that can be provided, then I tenatively would agree that in th short-term, I would like to see such an amalgamation, especially if the TDCSB and other Catholic Boards are slowly dissolved into private-funded organizations for those who are still interested in providing that environment for their children. In the long run, I am of the preference of doing away with all school boards and fully privatizing all schools, and of having institutes such as Fraser continue to keep an eye on the quality and standards maintained by each school board and the average level of acheivement accomplished by the students – with respect to differential circumstances, of course. Towards this aim, I can support the short term dissolution of the Catholic school boards, but would later incorporate their methods of survival, thenceforth, as inspiration to move all school boards in the same direction.
  2. It is acceptable–in so long as they do not make such conduct mandatory for any student. Religious practices, excluding prayer are often issues that have to be dealt with in-and-out of schools, such as having to interrupt the flow of schedule for Salah, the Muslim prayer – however, this ought only to be a disruption to the practioner(s), and not to everyone else, present. Religious tolerance in the classroom is just as important as anywhere else, and as long as the instructor and the other classmates are aware of the constraints due to the strict codes of practice. This concept also applies to religious leaders, as they are also practitioners. If a religious meeting is being held during school hours (in let us say, a public asecular institution), mandatory attendance is not acceptable, and interruption of class hours aren’t, either. I understand that several private, religious institutions also have different schedules (such as a one-and-a-half day cycle for classes distributed by term, rather than semester) that are more capable of covering the mandatory hours of class and making room for religious practice – my answer is still that even with such a schedule, any and all public institutes -must- practice religious tolerance as a form of respect to the freedom of practice of all residents in Canada.
  3. Absolutely. I do not have any long expository banter on this issue–it is very black-and-white for me. The existence and tolerance of such an alliance (especially when it is counter to certain religious tenets) is already an example of where tolerance has thwarted dogmatism (and I make the case that tolerance is a large part of responsible, progressive behavior). In addition, it has been clearly demonstrable that such alliance groups also factor into bolstering student productivity in schools, than in cases in which there exists antagonism between these groups in forms such as bullying, and feeling like having to hide their identity for fears of such backlash.
  4. I do not know the details of this program, however, I am strong supporter of children’s sexual education as they enter the stage of being young adults, to promote a responsible and mature social development. So, while I cannot yet say if I would implement it, without knowing more details, I am, on the other hand, aware of religious concerns over educating young students about “same-sex” couples, and also of the age-factor. These are examples of prevailing dogmatism that I am not comfortable with, and in arguments strictly hypothetical as counters to that stance, I do believe that the role of sex should not be seen as taboo for proper sexual education. The consequences of promiscuity should not be the direct result of sexually aware youth-mentality, since conscientious and safe sexual practice (a goal of sexual education) seeks to minimize irresponsible actions by treating students as rational people, and providing them with information to make their own choices. If that mentality can be accepted, then not only do I think any sexual health program can teach sex-ed, but the environment in which the contexts of this very important social development will have been fostered throughout the child’s developmental stages, providing the building blocks for an accepting (and thus tolerant) program. Again, it is demonstrable to say that fulfilling these needs of every student will result in higher classroom productivity.
  5. I do not support it. My political stance involves giving each person the freedom to decide whether or not any such organization is desired, and if it is, according to that individual, then it is their choice, and responsibility to see it through – this burden does not fall into the hands of the general public, and therefore, should not be a fiscal responsibility of public tax dollars. A church is only as much an organization as any other – I do not believe they are privileged to earn any opportunity that is not available to any other organization. This is a display of government favoritism of one religion over another (especially at the same level as crown land), and again, in a pronounced secular nation, there is no reason for any religion to seek or receive favoritism.
  6. Due to my interpretation of your wording, I feel I must clarify this answer in whole. I am against the invocation of ‘Religion’ and ‘religion’ in any government proceeding, especially when it becomes mandate (as there is no issue with private prayer), but to take up any cause with what can be described as a ‘religious’ devotion or interest is another concern that should not be mixed with, except figuratively. I think the heart of your question lies in the specific invocation of deities and divine figures to preside over the session, where as I can see that arguments for religious invocation often declare that there are benefits in the realm of authenticating and setting an atmosphere that may (as this is only my opinion from personal experience) just as easily be gained from ‘prayer’ to a noble cause, duty or purpose of the session. I would think no legislator would strike an issue to making a solemn oath to the future prosperity of the nation, or to swear a duty towards the interest of the constituents. Such austerity would not be unwelcome from a more legitimate source.

Windsor West – Chad Durocher, Green Party of Ontario

  1. Yes, I believe this must be done.
  2. Not during school hours. After school hours would be a great way to for the school to raise funds, renting the builings facilities to religious groups.
  3. I beleive they should have a group that advocates peace. I am not for groups that are based on sexuality,
  4. N/A
  5. Yes.
  6. Yes.

York Centre – David Epstein, Ontario Libertarian Party

  1. Yes I do.
  2. Yes, however it should not interfere with the curriculum and students should attend by choice. Also, the parents should have the final say and they should be involved by the school.
  3. I have no position on this, if the students start a group and that group has no negative effects on the curriculum, we should allow everyone the ability to express themselves.
  4. I feel more study should be done. Maybe the proposed recommendations can be tested in a pilot program school. This school would allow parents to make the choice for their children, not the government.
  5. Yes I do.
  6. Yes I do.

York Simcoe – Meade Helman, Green Party of Ontario

I think you raise an issue that needs to be raised but is very contentious. I think we need a province wide dialogue on separate school boards after the election that will allow the attention to be focused on this issue.
The separate school boards were created to solve a political problem of the day but the very fabric of our society has changed dramatically and the question is should we continue. Add to this that the United Nations has called our system discriminatory, and we need to address it.
I don’t think the state should be responsible for religious training. I think religion should be taught in the home and in our churches. I don’t think we can afford to run a separate school board for each religious group in the province but I also think these are my opinions and we need public dialogue and consensus.
As far as the treatment of Gays, no one should be discriminated against in any way in any publically funded school.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak on this matter.

York West – Joseph Rini, Green Party of Ontario

Let me premise by saying I am an Atheist, although I attended Catholic elementary and high school. I am now strongly anti-religion in general.

  1. I just wonder if it would save money, and as well if it is the most pressing issue right now: I prioritize income inequality, environmental degradation, the need for massive public transportation improvements in the GTA. I believe that a cultural shift that recognizes the innate goodness within all humans and negates the need for religion and it’s moral system must take place before the public would go through with the proposed change.
  2. NO
  3. Yes absolutely.
  4. YES
  5. YES
  6. YES