Canada's secular wedge.

Author:Atwood, Del
Position::Letter to the Editor

Raymond J. de Souza's "'Thinly Disguised Totalitarianism'" (April) presents a very vivid--and wholly accurate--picture of the maw-like appetite of the secular-humanist state in Canada. One further example of our moral collapse is the eradication of Catholic schools in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

When Newfoundland joined the Dominion in 1949, the Terms of Union included a constitutional protection of denominational public schools, most of which were Catholic. In 1995, the provincial government of former-Premier (now Chief Justice) Clyde Wells held a referendum to support a constitutional change which would preserve some Catholic schools--where numbers warranted--but would eliminate separate Catholic school boards. The referendum passed, and the federal government complied dutifully with Newfoundland's request to make the requisite constitutional change.

It was the first time in Canadian legislative history that the national constitution had been amended to abrogate entrenched fights. But it would not be the last.

I was a Catholic school trustee at the time and recall well that ministers in the Newfoundland government provided copious assurances that this would not be the thin edge of a wedge: there would be no further constitutional changes, and supporters of Catholic schools who felt aggrieved under the new system would be entitled to judicial enforcement of their watered-down rights if their schools were not designated as Catholic.

As it turned out, Catholic parents in three school districts felt that their schools had been designated improperly as nondenominational and took their grievances to court. They won. The response of then-Premier Brian Tobin was to dress up the situation as a "crisis" (even though only a very small number of schools were affected by the legal proceedings) and call a second, snap referendum in 1997 seeking the total abolition of Catholic schools. The referendum passed (which is hardly surprising, since a majority-rule vote will trump minority rights every time) and Catholic schools were eliminated.

Since then, two private Catholic schools have been set up in the province. Oddly enough, those who toed the government line, saying that Catholics who want Catholic schools should pay for...

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