OTTAWA, ON March 24, 2014 – The League was at the Supreme Court of Canada today to present arguments in Loyola High School, et al v. Attorney General of Quebec. At issue is Loyola’s request to teach the province’s mandatory Ethics and Religious Culture (ECR) course from a Catholic perspective. Loyola is a private Catholic boy’s high school in Montreal. Our intervention, which emphasized the religious freedom rights of institutions, was presented by Ranjan Agarwal and Jack Maslen with the guidance of Jack Staley, all of Bennett Jones LLP.
The League intervened jointly with the Association of Catholic Parents of Quebec, Faith and Freedom Alliance and The Association of Coptic Christians of Montreal. A total of 10 interventions were approved by the Supreme Court, including one from Archbishop Christian Lépine of Montreal.
The case has many implications, including how far the state can go in imposing a secular world view on institutions, especially private religious institutions. Throughout the case, the government has made it clear that the ECR course must be taught from a “neutral” perspective.
Loyola’s request to cover the ECR material in a world religions’ course based on its Catholic perspective was upheld by the Quebec Superior Court but appealed by the province. The Court of Appeal decision, issued December 4, 2012, declared that because Loyola’s course is Catholic in orientation, it could not be considered equivalent to the ECR program, because the ECR course was specifically designed to be religiously “neutral.”
Your support has made it possible for us to participate in this important case. A decision in the appeal is expected later in the year.
Supreme Court told Loyola “not asking for the moon”, Catholic Register, March 25, 2014