Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty

McGuinty speaks on GSA controversy: ‘I’m accountable to all faiths’

  • May 29, 2012

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has rejected Cardinal Thomas Collins call for flexibility and inclusivity, insisting that gay-straight alliances will be enforced by law and available for every student in the province who wants one.

Speaking on May 29, the morning after Collins issued his objections to controversial Bill-13, McGuinty said Collins has his “responsibilities” but “I have a different set of responsibilities.”

“I’m accountable to all faiths (and) accountable to people of no faith,” he said, adding that Ontario has fundamental values “that transcend any one faith.”

McGuinty’s Liberals amended their own legislation, from making GSAs optional to mandatory if requested by a student because, said the premier, it is important that all students “be accepted and respected for who they are.”

A day earlier, Collins also affirmed the importance of creating school environments in which all students feel welcomed and respected. But he questioned why Bill-13 places special emphasis on one group of children rather than treating all children equally.

Bill-13 has the support of the New Democrats but is opposed by the Conservatives, who have proposed their own anti-bullying legislation. Their bill avoids emphasis on gender and sexual orientation and focuses on bullying in all its forms.

Tory MPP Lisa MacLeod has called Bill-13 an attempt to undermine Catholic education.

“The government has decided in this case that they want to be aggressive, they want to provoke the Catholic education system for whatever reason,” MacLeod said. “Catholic school board trustees . . . are worried this is going to cause the de-funding of their system.”

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