MONTREAL, May 17, 2011 – Beginning May 18, 2011 the judges of the Supreme Court of Canada hear the case of the Drummondville, Que. family seeking an exemption from Quebec’s program in ethics and religious culture (ECR). Lawyers Mark Phillips and Guy Pratte will appear on the family’s behalf.
Several speakers will argue that the program and its implementation are at odds with the fundamental right of parents to direct the religious education of their children. Among the stakeholders, the Association of Catholic parents in Quebec (APCQ), the Catholic Civil Rights League, Faith and Freedom Alliance and the Association of the Coptic Orthodox Community of Greater Montreal (ACCOM) came together as the Christian Coalition for Parental Rights in Education (RCDPE) to support the appellants.
RCDPE defends the primacy of parental authority and the right of the parent as primary educator of the child, citing the Charter of Rights and Freedoms of Quebec (section 41), the Civil Code of Quebec, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Art. 12 & 26), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (art. 18) and the Code of Canon Law (Canon 799). “The role of government is to support the parent in his work as an educator, not to replace him,” says Jean-Yves Cote, lawyer representing RCDPE.
For their part, the Coptic Orthodox “do not share the ideology conveyed through this program imposed by force,” says Antoine Malek, president of the ACCOM. Copts can not accept “that we relativize the value of our faith in a kind of catalogue of ideologies, or minimize it as a summary of rituals.”
Dr. Jean Morse-Chevrier, president of the APCQ and Quebec director of the Catholic Civil Rights League, says that “in trying to make each student subscribe to “pluralism” or “relativism,” the ERC program discourages authentic pluralism by promoting its own viewpoint.
The RCDPE argues that the program raises other issues, including unjustified interference with the privacy of children and the family. The RCDPE believes that this program should not be mandatory in public schools in Quebec.
For further information:
Dr. Jean Morse-Chevrier: 514-276-8068 (APCQ) or 819-661-7140 (cell)
Mary Bourque, Vice President of APCQ: 514-484-0524 (home)
Jean-Yves Côté: 450-649-0117