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Trudeau visit to catholic elementary school spurs controversy

Parents of children who attend St. Claire catholic elementary school in Orleans are crying "scandal" after Liberal leader Justin Trudeau visited and spoke to the children. The parents argue the Ottawa Catholic School Board should have a stricter process of choosing speakers, blocking those that believe in same-sex marriage and "the fundamental right" for a woman to chose whether she'll have an abortion.

As a result, the school board changed the rules to ensure all partnerships “shall be forged to ensure respect for the distinctive nature of Catholic education and adherence to the Roman Catholic tradition.”

The board says the new rules come from the outcry of parents who want to protect their religious values.

Trudeau spoke to the school last November as part of anti-bullying week but parent Gillian Keenan argued “if you Google anything about Justin Trudeau, it comes up very clearly that he is strongly against some important Catholic teachings.”

“What it suggests is that the Catholic school and anyone supporting the Catholic school, therefore supports his platform,” Keenan said.

“He’s not all bad, but my point is just that we don’t need the star factor like him if what he stands for is contrary to Catholic teachings.”

However, speakers and partnerships weren't the only thing that concerned these parents. Field trips and who  their children met on them was also a factor. Trips to El Salvador came under fire because some of the student groups part of Save The Children were in favor of abortion and stood against bullying, homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of discrimination. One of the parents said the group's stances were promoting “the normalization of homosexuality.”

LifeSiteNews, a website launched by the Campaign Life Foundation, a Toronto-based anti-abortion group, and has ties to Harper's Conservative Party, amplified the criticism of allowing catholic-raised children to participate in normal society. A "Get out the vote" field trip during the last American election campaign was canceled after an article on LifeSiteNews claimed the teacher that was organizing the trip was a Barack Obama advocate. The parents didn't want their kids campaigning for Barack Obama who is pro-choice.



The controversy over the restrictiveness of the Catholic community wouldn't be as much an issue if the Catholic education system wasn't receiving taxpayer funding. It is understandable that parents who refuse to accept the world around them want to keep their children ignorant of opposing views and people. It is understandable that discrimination is alright for these people when it applies to their religious views. It is also understandable that the children are being brainwashed and used as political vehicles as they attempt to impose their views on society when no one is forcing them to enact in same-sex relationships and when no one is forcing them to get an abortion when one of their members get pregnant.

It appears this scandal and revisions to the board's policies are but a mere tactic to save the sinking ship that is the Conservatives - but even they came under fire by the same people for not doing enough to impose their values on Canadians. This brings the irony of a government that claims it promotes freedom while imposing its views on the public.

Policy Changes

Partnerships, sponsorships and donations

Old policy: “Partnerships and sponsorships with individuals, parish and community groups, business, industry and government shall be consistent with the Board’s philosophy, Vision Statement and Catholic Social Teaching. The principles of Catholic Social Teaching include reference to the dignity of the human person, human rights and responsibilities, common good, solidarity, the preferential option for the poor, and the value and dignity of human work. The international image and dealings of a corporation shall be just as important as local concerns in the decision to form partnerships.”

Revised policy: “Partnerships and sponsorships with individuals, parish and community groups, business, industry and government shall be forged to ensure respect for the distinctive nature of Catholic education and adherence to the Roman Catholic tradition. The Board’s philosophy, vision statement, as well as Catholic Social and Moral Teaching, will also direct partnerships and sponsorships.”

Old policy: “Students shall not be involved in promoting commercial products in any way.”

Revised policy: “Students shall not be involved in promoting commercial products in any way and shall not be involved in partisan political activity.”

Old policy: “Any business sponsoring activities within the Board or its schools will be accepted as environmentally safe, and be consistent with a healthy lifestyle. Controversial products and services are to be avoided (e.g., alcoholic beverages and tobacco products).”

Revised policy: “Any business sponsoring activities within the Board or its schools will be accepted as environmentally safe, and be consistent with a healthy lifestyle and aligned with Catholic Graduate Expectations. Controversial products and services are to be avoided (e.g., alcoholic beverages and tobacco products), as well as influences contrary to Catholic social and moral teaching.”

Field trips and excursions

Old policy: “The Board shall endorse and encourage field trips of an educational nature.”

Revised policy: “The Board recognizes the educational value for students and staff to participate in field trip experiences and encourages field trips and excursions as part of an enriching Catholic educational program for all students.”

Old policy: “Opportunities will be provided for Sunday worship on all weekend field trips.”

Revised policy: “Attendance at Sunday Mass on all weekend field trips is required.”

New policy: “Field trips and excursions will be linked to the Ontario Catholic School Graduate Expectations (CGE’s) and the distinctive culture of Catholic curriculum.”
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