MONTREAL, Dec. 21, 2010 – The Association of the Catholic parents of Quebec (APCQ) today criticized the government’s decision to cut funding for Catholic and other religious day nurseries that provide religious education within their program, through songs, prayers, or simple explanations of religious words.
“These parents chose to send their children to institutions with a Catholic tradition, because of the religious dimension,” said Jean Morse-Chevrier, chairwoman of the APCQ and Quebec director for the Catholic Civil Rights League. “It’s wrong for elected representatives to take this right away, since it limits the parents’ fundamental right to direct the religious education of their children,” said Mrs. Morse-Chevrier.
According to APCQ this initiative on behalf of the government is similar to the imposition of the mandatory ethics and religious culture (ECR) course. “In effect, in the name of respect for diversity, the government is abolishing true diversity more and more in educational programs,” according to Mrs. Morse-Chevrier. “Quebec is leaning more toward suppression and discrimination against believers of any religion,” she said.
Parents will pay substantially to opt for religious content at this level, she added. “They will have to pay for unsubsidized care for their children as well as for any protest. Quebec parents already have a similar situation in schools, where only private institutions are able to offer denominational instruction in addition to the ECR course.”
The right to be exempt from the course is currently the subject of a Supreme Court of Canada challenge.
In spite of this court challenge, the government has required that all subsidized day nurseries omit religion despite what parents want. This directive goes even farther than the mandated ethics and religious culture course, since the subsidized private schools can still give religious education.
APCQ encourages all parents to protest against government interference in their right to direct the religious education of their children. She invites the parents to contact them for support. “The ban on almost any religious education in subsidized day nurseries is completely opposite to the role of a democratic government which is to allow true diversity,” according to Diana Joyal, chairwoman of the section of Montreal of APCQ.
Stop religious instruction, subsidized daycares told, Montreal Gazette, Dec. 18, 2010
For further information: Jean Morse-Chevrier, chairwoman of the Association of the Catholic parents of Quebec (APCQ) in 819-661-7140 or Diana Joyal, chairwoman of the section of Montreal of APCQ in 514-279-0670 or 514-254-2779.
Catholic Civil Rights League: Joanne McGarry, executive director, 416-466-8244, firstname.lastname@example.org