Multi-faith group wants a vote for parental rights

  • October 3, 2011

TORONTO - A multi-faith group of parents has banded together to urge voters to be mindful of the importance of parental rights and education when voting in Thursday's Ontario election. 

“We are looking (towards) the future, what should happen when new government is elected,” Peter Chen of the Toronto Chinese Catholic Task Force (TCCTF) said after a Sept. 29 press conference. “As Catholics, as religious groups, we hope that our parents would have their own basic rights in deciding what they'd like to hear and what should be taught (to their children).”

Chen said this multi-faith coalition does not endorse a particular political party or candidate. Instead, it encourages parents and voters to consider each party's platform and its position on parents' rights as well as life issues such as euthanasia and abortion, he said.

The TCCTF is joined by Christian and non-Christian groups, including the Toronto Chinese Evangelistic Ministerial Fellowship, Christian World (representing Korean Christians) and the United Front Canada, speaking on behalf of Muslims. Other partners are Campaign Life Coalition, REAL Women of Canada and the Ontario Catholic Parents' Association.

The TCCTF was formed in 2005 when it organized a rally in Ottawa to oppose same-sex marriage legislation.

Chen said parents would like more input on how the equity and inclusive education policy will be implemented in Catholic and public schools. 

REAL Women of Canada's Gwen Landolt says its members, who include Catholics, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu and Jewish parents, are concerned that the policy is “trying to change the culture of the province and change children's values, which the family determines, not the state.”

Landolt said the group is asking voters to consider a UN convention on the rights of children which states that a child's education should be directed to “the development of respect for the child's parents, his or her own cultural identity, language and values.”

This fall, a committee of Catholic trustees, bishops, teachers and parents is working on a general framework that addresses implementation of the government's equity policy for Ontario's Catholic schools.

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