Catholic Education

Martin Sheen grew up in a home where rights were something you fought for.

The actor’s activism was inspired by his immigrant father who risked his factory job fighting for the right to unionize despite having 10 children and a wife at home relying on the wage he earned.

“It was an introduction into the real world,” said Sheen, recalling his father’s teachings of pride against prejudice. “My father was my hero, he struggled against prejudice (and) against the system basically.”

Areas of Bill-13 could invite a court challenge against GSAs on Constitutional grounds


OTTAWA - The Ontario government’s controversial Bill-13 could face a court challenge on six different points, a constitutional lawyer told an Ontario government social policy committee hearing. During a May 22 submission, Albertos Polizogopoulos, an Ottawa lawyer who practices primarily in the areas of constitutional and civil litigation, gave the committee an inch-thick document that highlighted previous Supreme Court decisions related to religious freedom.

“Nobody has a right to insist Catholic schools become non-religious or non-Catholic,” he said.

TCDSB ombudsman motion shot down


TORONTO - An initiative to improve the accountability of the Toronto Catholic District School Board by appointing an independent ombudsman has hit a legislative roadblock.

“The ministry is telling us that we cannot create our own ombudsman role,” said Ward 9 trustee Jo-Ann Davis, who is leading the initiative. “It seems odd to me that our Ministry of Education is not allowing Toronto Catholic to be as accountable as it wants to be.”

Father of suicide victim pleads for anti-bullying bill that protects all students


OTTAWA - The father of suicide victim Jamie Hubley made an emotional plea for the Ontario government to stop focussing on same-sex bullying and draft an anti-bullying law that does not single out any group for special treatment.

“I ask you to protect every child equally,” said Ottawa City Councilor Hubley.

He was speaking May 22 at an Ontario government social policy committee hearing on two proposed anti-bullying bills, the government’s Bill 13 and the Conservative’s Bill 14 (renamed Bill 80).

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


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.”

GSA reversal puts church and government on collision course


The Liberal government of Dalton McGuinty has pulled a dramatic about-face by breaking a pledge not to force Catholic schools to use the term gay-straight alliance for anti-bullying clubs.

Instead, Education Minister Laurel Broten has announced an amendment to Bill 13 to make it mandatory that Catholic students be allowed to name their clubs gay-straight alliances if that is their wish.

"Under our amendments (to Bill 13), no school board or principal can refuse to allow students to use the name "gay-straight alliance" to describe their clubs," Broten said in a letter released to Liberal supporters on May 25.

North York principal earns top TCSAA sport award


TORONTO - Grace Iafrate does one thing really well — she gets kids moving.

For this, she has received the 2012 Victor Angelosante Award.

"(I) look at sport as an avenue, a way to bring out other talents and gifts," said Iafrate, principal at St. Boniface Catholic School in North York. "It's a great honour to be recognized with the 17 other (past) recipients."

More than half of Ontarians against funding Catholic schools


TORONTO - The majority of Ontarians are opposed to the public funding of the Catholic education system, according to a survey by Forum Research.

Of 1,072 randomly selected adults polled on May 14, a standard sample size for Ontario, 53 per cent disagreed with current economic support of Catholic schools. This is a four-per-cent jump since Forum Research last asked the question in January. Forty per cent of respondents favoured funding Catholic boards while six per cent were unsure.

Catholic Civil Rights League challenges anti-bullying Bill-13


TORONTO - The Catholic Civil Rights League of Canada has challenged the Liberal government's proposed Bill-13 over the anti-bullying legislation's focus on gender and sexual orientation.

Joanne McGarry, executive director of the league, along with league president Phil Horgan, addressed the Ontario government’s standing committee for social policy May 15. They expressed the league's opposition to Bill-13 because of its focus on gender, its infringement on denominational rights and its impact on curriculum.

St. Mike's severs all ties with major junior hockey


TORONTO - St. Michael's College School is officially out of the Ontario Hockey League.

After reappearing in the major junior hockey ranks in 1997 after a three-decade hiatus, with the sale of the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors earlier this month, the midtown Toronto school has severed all links with the OHL team.

Visa problems quash meeting between Nicaraguan and Canadian students


Three 16-year-old Nicaraguan students’ had their dreams shattered as an all-expenses-paid trip to Canada ended before it began when they were denied visas to enter Canada.

“The day I got the phone call here in my office I sat here and cried, literally sat here and cried,” said Brenda Holtkamp, chaplaincy leader at Robert F. Hall Catholic Secondary School in Caledon, Ont., which had sponsored the Nicaraguans. “Not only was I sad for myself and all the students here in the school that worked so hard for this reality, I was really very said for the young people in Nicaragua who have never had the opporunity to travel, who were so close to being here . . . and just because of bureaucracy they were turned down.”