I worked for a number of years for the Government of Alberta and was explicitly told on a number of occasions that legislation for any issue was a last resort.
The Minister of Education has all the power he requires to deal with the Morinville situation, and can use a simple Ministerial Order to transfer the jurisdiction of Morinville from GSACRD to Sturgeon, along with the PUBLIC Schools, from one Public Board to another PUBLIC Board. This has been done routinely in Alberta. One must ask the question then “Why is the Minister not using the existing legislation and his existing powers instead of going to all the trouble of new legislation?”
None of us involved in this issue are fooled. He is using this new Bill to inappropriately create a new Catholic Separate School Board, not following any of the existing requirements or laws, with no proof that this board will have a single student, from Morinville or Legal. He is using this Bill to transfer five PUBLIC schools to this new Catholic Separate School Board, leaving the new Public School Board (Sturgeon) in the impossible position of trying to house approximately 1,800 new public school students by September 2012. He is using this Bill to try to force the parents of those 2,000 students to stay in GSACRD Catholic separate schools, to allow their children to be educated in their home towns (Morinville and Legal) as their only other choice will be to have their children bussed a minimum of 50 minutes in the morning and at night to overcrowded schools in Sturgeon Schools. He is using this Bill to pull the carpet out from under the last non-Catholic Separate School Board in Alberta, once and for all. He is using this Bill therefore [to] reward GSACRD for violating the Alberta School Act that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms for the past two decades, while punishing everyone else.
I understand what a beautiful country Canada is and the freedoms we have, compared to many other Countries in the world. One of those rights is freedom of religion. I defended the rights of our country for nearly three decades in Uniform. I fully support freedom of religion. I refuse to support however when one religion is give preferential treatment, and when a religion is forced on Canadians. This is exactly what GSACRD has done for two decades in Morinville and Legal. A PUBLIC school Board that has demanded that all children accept a fully permeated Catholic education in every class of everyday, knowing full well that under 29% of the children in those classes are Catholic, in all four Morinville schools. Those are GSACRD’s numbers not mine.
And so Bill 4 is how the Minister of Education decides to resolve this blatant two-decade long act of prejudice, discrimination and religious intolerance? You have to ask yourself why!
Please do not let this Bill Pass; it is wrong in so many ways, and is being used to violate both common sense and the current laws of Alberta.
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