By Rick Hiebert. All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission.
I was surprised to learn that the Alberta town of Morinville didn’t already have a secular school system.
But not as surprised as a group of parents–who last week persuaded the Alberta government to secularize one of the four Roman Catholic schools there–had been dismayed to realize that their non-Catholic kids were being given Catholic religious training.
“I recognize this has been a challenging and emotional issue for the community, but this change is important to provide all parents the choice and voice they deserve,” Education Minister Jeff Johnson said in a news release quoted by the Edmonton Journal.
If you have a look at the Morinville page on Wikipedia, it talks about the Catholic origins of the town, which now has about 8,500 people. I am hazarding a guess, based on what I read in the Journal’s story that over the years education officials have thought it more cost effective to have the Catholics operate the now 4 schools in the town.
And then a group of parents, as reported in the story, became puzzled after learning their kids wre making the sign of the Cross and saying prayers each morning.
The parents asked if their kids could be excused and catholic school officials, they say, said that would not be possible.
As a result of the parent’s appeal to Alberta’s Education Ministry, which had to get their decision approved by cabinet, Ecole Georges P. Vanier School will be transferred to the regional, secular school board.
What I was thinking about all this myself is why the schools in the town were all Catholic. It’s perhaps a mark of how much Canada has changed over the years that I would readily think “Why hasn’t there been a non-Catholic or Non-Protestant school there before now?”