MONTREAL, April 29, 2010 – A Quebec couple who unsuccessfully sought an exemption from the province’s ethics and religious culture course has applied for leave to appeal the case to the Supreme Court of Canada. The League is among the educational and religious organizations that are supporting the application, in recognition of the rights of parents to direct their children’s religious education.
Suzanne Lavallée and Daniel Jutras of Drummondville, Québec, contend that the mandatory non-denominational course taught to all Québec students in Grades one to 11 since September 2008 is unconstitutional. The couple’s lawyer has said they believe the course interferes with their parental right to free choice. Sylvain Lamontagne, head of the Coalition for Freedom in Education (CLÉ), told The (Montréal) Gazette April 28 the parents feel the curriculum ‘trivializes’ their own religion and moral values, and treat them as no more important or true as any other, some sociologists have even publicly qualified it as indoctrination.”
League Director Jean Morse-Chevrier, president of the Association of Catholic Parents of Quebec (APCQ) reminded listeners, during the TVA show Franchement Martineau (April 28, 2010) concerning the ERC program, that Cardinal Grocholewski, prefect for the Congregation for Catholic Education, recently renewed his warning, first given on May 5th 2009, that exposing children to so-called neutral courses that treat all religions on the same footing is detrimental to the development of the child’s faith. The president of the parents’ association objected to the course on those grounds and because Jesus is depicted in the school manuals as a man without reference to the Trinity.
In 2009, Quebec Superior Court rejected the couple’s request to have their children exempt from the mandatory course taught to all Quebec students in Grade 1 through 11 since September 2008. Concerns about the course include moral and religious relativism, its mandatory nature, and the introduction of comparative religions at too early an age. It replaced traditional course offerings in Catholic and Protestant religion and non-sectarian morals and ethics. Over 70 per cent of parents traditionally chose Catholic or Protestant instruction.