dimanche 24 octobre 2010

Supreme Court Case on Quebec relativism course could have impact in rest of Canada

From LifeSiteNews 

QUEBEC, October 22, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Supreme Court of Canada, in a case with implications for parental rights across the country, has agreed to examine whether Quebec parents should be allowed to exempt their children from the province's mandatory course in moral and religious relativism.
Sylvain Lamontagne, president of the Coalition pour la liberte en education (CLE), praised the Supreme Court's decision to hear the case, saying the ethics and religious culture (ERC) course "undermines the fundamental rights of freedom of conscience and religion, by imposing what some sociologists have likened to indoctrination."
The ERC program, which took effect in 2008-2009, purports to present the spectrum of world religions and lifestyle choices from a "neutral" stance.  It has been criticized for its relativistic approach to moral issues, teaching even at the earliest grades, for instance, that homosexuality is a normal choice for family life.
The course is being challenged by a Drummondville family who argue that its mandatory nature violates their freedom of religion and their right to direct the education of their children.
Despite legislation in the province allowing for exemptions, none have been given, and the Ministry of Education has even sought to impose the course on private schools.  They faced a setback on this in June, when the Quebec Superior Court allowed Loyola High School, a Catholic boys' school in the Jesuit tradition, to teach the course from a Catholic perspective.  Justice Gérard Dugré said the Ministry's actions assumed "a totalitarian character essentially equivalent to Galileo's being ordered by the Inquisition to deny the Copernican universe."
The Quebec Court of Appeal refused to hear the family's case in February after they lost at the Quebec Superior Court in August 2009.  Justice Yves-Marie Morissette said the appeal was "doomed to failure."  He dismissed it in particular on the grounds that the parents no longer had children who were required to take the course, because one had graduated and the other was put in private school.
Opponents of the course argued that by dismissing the appeal partly because one of the children was in private school, the judge had thus recognized exemptions for private schools, and that students in public schools should then also be allowed the exemption.
The Catholic Civil Rights League, which hopes to intervene in the case, insisted in a press release yesterday that parents are the first educators of their children.  "This case is about the principle of parental authority in the religious education of their children," said League President Phil Horgan. "The appeal is a significant opportunity to affirm these rights in the public forum, and encourage parental rights in the implementation of moral and religious instruction in Quebec's public schools."
Richard Decarie, a spokesman for CLE, which has been supporting the parents, compared the parents' case against the Quebec government to David and Goliath.  "The moral authority of parents over their children is at stake," he said.  "If the parents from Drummondville lose, the government will be free to go all the way in other areas," such as child care.
"For us it's major because Quebec is the first province, but it could spread across Canada," he added.

Support the families in their legal fight.

Donate and support us as we appeal to the Supreme Court! All donations above $50.00 are tax-deductible!
Soutenons les familles dans leurs combats juridiques (reçu fiscal pour tout don supérieur à 50 $)

ERC course in Québec “David against Goliath” at the Supreme Court

We have just received this press release from the Coalition for Freedom in Education.

MONTREAL, October 21, 2010 - The Supreme Court of Canada has granted leave to appeal in the case of the Drummondville couple who want to opt out of the province's mandatory Ethics and Religious Culture course that has been introduced into all Québec schools, from grade one to the end of high school.

The Coalition for Freedom in Education welcomes this favourable decision as it will allow a crucial debate to take place: who ultimately is responsible for the moral and religious education of our children, parents or the government?

This is why the Coalition supports these determined parents who have the courage to fight for their convictions. The president of the Coalition for Freedom in Education, Sylvain Lamontagne, stated that “Imposing this curriculum on all children is a serious onslaught on parental rights and freedom of conscience; some sociologists even qualify this as indoctrination”.

”We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will recognise the parental right to choose the moral and religious education of their children as stated in the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms“ added Richard Décarie, the Coalition’s spokesperson. Public schools have officially refused to grant any exemption, backed by their school boards, which, by law, have the right to grant such exemptions.

This loss of parents’ fundamental rights as the first educators of their children is unique in Canada but could have a dangerous impact if other provinces were to follow this example. The loss of the fundamental right for parents to choose the moral and religious education of their children, if it goes unchallenged, may set a precedent and encourage other provinces in Canada to follow Québec's lead.

The Coalition stresses that imposing this single Ethics and Religious Culture curriculum on all students from elementary to high school - on private denominational schools as well as on public schools -, without any possibility of exemption, exceeds the legitimate powers of governments and violates the liberty of conscience and religion enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights (section 2a).

Quebeckers are also deeply committed to the right to choose the moral and religious education for their children that suits them, as several surveys have indicated. “It is very regrettable that the stubbornness of the Charest government who refuses consistently to grant any exemption to parents or teachers, although this right is embedded in the law, forces a family from Drummondville to bring the case all the way to the Supreme Court; we would have preferred that this issue be settled earlier in a manner that is respectful of parental rights“, said Sylvain Lamontagne.

The Coalition for Freedom in Education supports parents requesting an exemption from Québec school boards; details are available on their website at www.Coalition-CLE.org.

Donations to the Coalition are welcomed to help families obtain justice.

- 30 -

For more information: Richard Décarie, spokesperson
Telephone: 514-464-5930 or 514-772-9205

Support the families in their legal fight.

Donate and support us as we appeal to the Supreme Court! All donations above $50.00 are tax-deductible!