“Alberta Catholic schools go secular” / update on Morinville “public Catholic” situation

 Morinville School Issue, News  Comments Off on “Alberta Catholic schools go secular” / update on Morinville “public Catholic” situation
Jun 062011

The Holy Post section of the National Post had this: In Donna Hunter’s words: “What a headline”.  In fact, I want to pretty much make this a Donna Hunter guest post.  As you may or may not have heard there has been some progress in the Morinville “public Catholic” school situation this past week.  The good news is that there will be a secular option; the bad news is that it is not run by their local school board and is thus undemocratic, unconstitutional, and still discriminatory.  Here is Donna’s take:

Yesterday’s big reveal was extemely disappointing. The only bright note is that Sturgeon School Division was finally announced as the “educational partner” who will provide a secular education option to Morinville residents within the town boundaries. The survey stated the minimum estimate of students who would enroll in a secular public school in Morinville for September 2011 was 272. The full results are on the GSACRD website: and I attached the break down of the survey results by Pivotal Research Inc. Despite these strong telling numbers GSACRD will not be providing or sharing space for the secular school operated by Sturgeon School Division as their partner. And most importantly all Morinville resident students who register with Sturgeon School Division to receive their rightful secular education will disenfranchise themselves from their democratic rights to vote and run for trustees and are not guaranteed an education from the public school division where their children will be receiving an education. Unacceptable. Secular public education is a right for every Alberta, every Canadian resident. Franchise in your child’s public education system is a right. It’s the law. Tonight residents of Morinville were told they may have one right but not both. Unacceptable. And now with the proposed new Education Act, Minister Hancock is saying more autonomy is being given to local school boards. When he was asked what parents and residents do if they don’t like the actions of their school trustees, Hancock replied they can decide not vote that trustee back in… unless you live in Morinville where democratic education rights don’t apply to residents who register for secular public education. Unacceptable.   Donna Hunter 

I share Donna’s sentiments here.  I’d also like to point out that there is a risk of this issue now going away because at least there is a secular option — albeit an unacceptable discriminatory one.  To me, the real elephant in the room is the existence of a “public Catholic” school system to begin with.  I suspect GSACRD’s reluctance to follow the law may have to do, in no small part, to them understanding all too well what is at stake here: the legitimacy of a “public Catholic” education in the first place.  Obviously, this is not the fight Donna et al were trying to fight.  They just want their constitutional right of a secular education for their children in their hometown.  But the bigger picture should not be forgotten.  Religion divides and discriminates; especially when the separation of church and state is not respected.  The Morinville situation is a perfect example of this. Hooray Religion!

 Posted by at 9:20 PM

SEA participation in the Edmonton Pride Parade

 SEA Events  Comments Off on SEA participation in the Edmonton Pride Parade
May 312011
Saturday, June 11th, 2011: Edmonton Pride Parade

Muster at 11:00 am at 108 St and 102 Ave.
Parade starts at 12:00pm and marches along 102 Ave to 99 St.

The Society of Edmonton Atheists is proud to show its support of the Edmonton LGBT community again this year. March with us and the UAAA, or take in the whole parade. We’ll also have a booth on Chruchill Square. If you plan on marching, let us know by RSVPing to this Facebook event. Many of us will be dressed as Pastafarians/Pirates and I’m told the Flying Spaghetti Monster himself will be there to touch us with his noodly appendage!


 Posted by at 9:19 PM

SEA Monthly Roundtable – 7 June 2011: “Can Atheists Be Trusted?”

 Christianity, People, SEA Events  Comments Off on SEA Monthly Roundtable – 7 June 2011: “Can Atheists Be Trusted?”
May 312011

Can Atheists Be Trusted?   Join us with guest speaker Randal Rauser as we discuss the prejudices that atheists face in our culture and our communities.

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011 7:00pm to 9:00pm in room 6-7 at the Stanley A. Milner Library downtown.

Randal Rauser is an Associate Professor of Historical Theology at Taylor Seminary in Edmonton and author most recently of “You’re Not As Crazy As I Think: Dialogue in a World of Loud Voices and Hardened Opinions”.  Join us afterward at The Elephant and Castle in City Center mall for more intimate discussion about this and other topics. Here is a link to the blog entry that started this whole conversation…

May 302011

By Daniel Mallett

Over the past week there have been several major stories that broke about this evil institution:
1. The Pope’s advisor on pedophilia has a priest in his diocese who pays money and drugs for sex with boys.

2. A report, issued by and funded by Catholics, essentially blames the high rate of child rape by Catholic priests on the free-loving culture of the 60’s.  The rate is high even after they try to redefine pedophilia as being only boys 10 years old and under (as though if they are over 10 it is somehow mutual!).

And yes for good measure let’s throw in:
3. An Irish story of abuse of 30,000 women thanks in no small part to the Catholic church

Before I get rolling, let’s remember that a conservative estimate makes it 100 times more likely that a Catholic priest is a pedophile than any other adult from the general population.  These facts alone make it painfully obvious that there is something institutional at work here that makes the raping of children and the cover-up /white-washing of these crimes a necessary by-product part of the Catholic system.

So, why, oh why, are there still Catholics? Ok, obviously, but sadly, the question must be qualified.  I understand that there are poor, uneducated Catholics out there — in fact, they tend to be favoured targets for evangelization — whose opportunity to know the truth about this evil institution is extremely limited and whose lack of education and resources makes leaving the fear-based system of Catholicism an almost impossible task.  Even then, there probably are some that do.  But let’s take the question as: why are there still educated, intelligent, adults of good-conscience who at least pay lip-service and more importantly give their hard-earned cash to the Catholic church?

Answer: Faith.  In particular, faith that claims to know things that no human can possibly know.  To an outsider, it is painfully obvious that a misogynistic system of sexual repression and guilt will inevitably lead to a culture of abuse.  But in the eyes of faith, the Church is the bride of Christ.  The pope is the Vicar of Christ.  The BVM (Blessed Virgin Mary) protects her Church with a mantle of magic invulnerability.  So these priests, some of these bishops, and maybe even the pope can basically do whatever heinous evil acts they want.  Faith cannot be challenged.  It is impervious to evidence.  In fact, some believers will say that even if you could prove Jesus did not exist they would still believe in him (!

It is hard to imagine a greater evil that institutionalized pedophilia and yet, here we are, asking the question, “Why are there still Catholics?” Because the faithful will believe no matter what.  Sure, they’ll say there might only be a remnant flock.  It might even come down to just one single priest who is good and true.  But this is God’s church and the gates of Hades will never prevail (though they might beat the snot out of it).

It is the ultimate hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil.


Do atheists have better sex?

 News  Comments Off on Do atheists have better sex?
May 232011

By Daniel Mallett Came across this article and it made me smile 🙂 Ok, i’ts not exactly hard science here that’s being reported.  I know for myself, and many other atheists I’ve spoken with, that moving past the guilt that religion puts around human sexuality really does help ones overall well-being.  What do you think?

 Posted by at 9:18 PM

Catholic evangelist banned from Edmonton Archdiocese

 Christianity, News  Comments Off on Catholic evangelist banned from Edmonton Archdiocese
May 192011

By Daniel Mallett

Perhaps an advantage the side of reason has is that no matter how much we disagree with the religionists, they’re too busy fighting amongst themselves to worry too much about us: Mark is a Catholic evangelist with roots in Edmonton who preaches and speaks throughout North America.  He has a cult-like following of believers he “feeds” through regular podcasts and blog posts.  He places a strong emphasis on end times prophecy, the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM) and following whatever various popes both dead and alive have said.  Apparently, this makes him too crazy for our local Catholic bishop.   Censorship — ya — that’ll fix it.  Maybe the bible had something right after all:

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus said “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 

Doesn’t persecuting believers usually backfire?

Can Atheists Be Trusted?

 Events, SEA Events  Comments Off on Can Atheists Be Trusted?
May 162011

File this under: “What’s the harm?” or “Why do we do what we do?” I’m not sure whether this guy qualifies as a “sophisticated theologian” that us new atheists are oft scolded for not listening to;  but here is a guy who is an associate professor at Taylor Seminary in Edmonton, with lots of letters after his name from bible colleges, asking the question: “Can Atheists Be Trusted?”

His answer:

The only way that atheists can deny the existence and attributes of God is because of a sinful unwillingness to confront the truth that lies before them. This means that insofar as atheists are interested in increasing their public image among Christians it will come not by defending an atheistic view of moral objectivism or critiquing the Christian theistic view of moral objectivism. Rather, it will come by challenging the popular view based on Romans 1 that they are sinfully suppressing that which they really do know. 

To be fair, I think this award winning teacher is actually trying to give us atheists a hand by pointing out a common view that Christian religionists have of atheists.  So instead of wasting time with reason and evidence to persuade the faith-heads (since we all know that doesn’t work anyways); Randal argues that we ought to start out by addressing this fundamental misconception that we all secretly love Jesus but are just too sinful to admit it.

The prejudice is palpable.  Could you imagine if this article was titled “Can Jews Be Trusted?” or “Can Blacks Be Trusted?”  It is the exact same type of bigoted discrimination at work. What’s the harm of religion?  Asking stupid prejudicial questions like Randal Rauser. Why do we do what we do?  Because prejudice and mistrust of non-believers still is rampant.

 Posted by at 9:17 PM

Imagine No Religion

 Other events  Comments Off on Imagine No Religion
May 162011

By Daniel Mallett

Last weekend, I had the privilege of attending the Imagine No Religion Conference in Kamloops BC.  The keynote speaker was PZ Myers.  If you haven’t heard of him you should really check out his blog Pharyngula.  PZ is a evolutionary biologist and outspoken new (or should it be “gnu”?) atheist. On Friday night he gave a public lecture about Intelligent Design. There was a surprisingly large audience there.  The talk was made more interesting by a creationist-kook who showed up with a list of questions that supposedly challenge evolution to the audience.  PZ has talked about it here: The most powerful talk of the weekend was by Nate Phelps.  If you don’t know his story — his father his Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church fame.  They are the ones who do the anti-homosexual protests at soldier’s funerals, amongst many other distasteful things.  Nate ran away from that life at 18 and tells his story of abuse and de-conversion with poignant emotion.  His life’s journey led him to Canada and he is now part of CFI Calgary. The best part of the weekend was meeting god.  Mr and Mr Deity: If you’ve never heard of Mr Deity‘s show you’re missing out on some of the best atheistical comedy around.  Truly inspired stuff!

 Posted by at 9:16 PM
May 152011

By Daniel Mallett

The last SEA meeting has been described as inspirational, motivational and heart-breaking.  As many of you are aware, we had several parents from Morinville speak about the forced religious indoctrination their children are receiving at the hands of a “public Catholic” (there’s an oxymoron if I’ve ever seen one) school board.  Unlike most other places in this province, all of Morinville’s “public” schools are Catholic.  Although the parents can opt their kids out of some portions of the religious indoctrination there; they must aknowledge that Catholicism “permeates”  all aspects of their child’s schooling. I encourage everyone to write the Education Minister Dave Hancock, their local MLA, the education critic, the Greater St Albert Catholic Schools (GSACRD),and anyone else they can think of about the dicriminatory education system in Morinville. If you are looking for a good summary of the situation you can read more in the comments for the event .  We will also be posting a video of the presentation the parents made to SEA sometime soon.  The basic outline is that the public board exclusively permeates Roman Catholism in all Morinville schools and has formally refused to provide a secular education to its resident students.  Parents have appealed to the minister of education and called for an investigation of the Greater St. Albert Catholic Regional Division board to uphold the rights of Morinville children and parents for secular public education, but Mr. Hancock has said he is not ordering an investigation at this time and the solution to our concerns will come from the school board. The Morinville school situation shows how important it is to guarantee public secular education. The SEA hosted a letter writing party this afternoon and we made a lot of progress organizing our materials and coming up with content to include in letters. We would prefer if you customize the letter to use your own wording but if that is not possible here is a form letter you can use and sign.

Dear Mr. Hancock, Re: Lack of resident secular public education in Morinville, Alberta I am writing you regarding the situation of the resident students in Morinville whose rights as Canadians are being violated by the lack of a secular education option.   While these children are receiving an Alberta education, there is no separation between education and Catholic beliefs that may differ from their own.  This type of education is thus forcing religion upon young, impressionable minds against the express wishes of some parents.  It is a disgrace that this is happening in the year 2011 in an affluent educated province such as Alberta. The Greater St Albert Catholic Regional Division (GSACRD) board refuses to perform their legal and constitutional requirement to provide a secular education for their students in Morinville.  They are the de facto public board in that town and they must provide a public secular school option for students under their jurisdiction.  The rights of these students are being violated.  It is your duty as Education Minister to intervene immediately.   Sincerely, 

It may be more effective to print out the letter, sign it, and mail it.  However, feel free to email Dave Hancock here. Phone: 780-427-5010 Fax: 780-427-5018 #224 Legislature Building 10800 97 Ave NW Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2B6 

Here is a list of other MLAs or organizations to email or write to:

Dave Hancock – Education Minister: Ed Stelmach – Premier: Ken Allred – PC MLA St. Albert – spoke at SEA meeting: Naresh Bhardwaj – PC MLA for Edmonton-Ellerslie – asked Leg questions about Morinville situation on April 27, 2011: Ken Kowalski – Speaker of the House and MLA for Cabinet Ministers Lloyd Snelgrove – Minister of Finance and Enterprise: Iris Evans – Minister of International and Intergovernmental Relationships: Mel Knight – Minister of Sustainable Resource Development: Luke Ouellette – Minister of Transportation: Rob Renner – Minister of Environment and Deputy Government House Leader: Verlyn Olson – Minster of Justice and Attorney General and Deputy Government House Yvonne Fritz – Minister of Children and Youth Services: Jack Hayden – Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development: Ray Danyluk – Minister of Infrastructure: Gene Zwozdesky – Minister of Health and Wellness and Deputy Government House Ron Liepert – Minister of Energy: Mary Anne Jablonski – Minister of Seniors and Community Supports: Len Webber – Minister of Aboriginal Relations: Heather Klimchuck – Minister of Service Alberta: Lindsay Blackett – Minister of Culture and Community Spirit: Cindy Ady – Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation: Hector Goudreau – Minister of Municipal Affairs: Frank Oberle – Solicitor General and Minister of Public Security: Jonathan Denis – Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs: Thomas Lukaszuk – Minister of Employment and Immigration: Greg Weadick – Minister of Advanced Education and Technology: PC Leader Candidates Allison Redford – MLA for Calgary-Elbow: Doug Griffiths – MLA for Battle River-Wainwright: or Doug Horner – MLA for Spruce Grove-Sturgeon-St. Albert: Gary Mar –Alberta’s official representative to the U.S.A.: Ted Morton – MLA for Foothills-Rocky View: Official Opposition – Alberta Liberals Laurie Blakeman – Leader of the Opposition: Kent Hehr – Liberal Education Critic – asked questions on behalf of Morinville parents in Feb and March Alberta Party Sue Huff – interim leader of the Alberta Party – NDP Brian Mason – leader of Alberta NDP: Wildrose Party Danielle Smith – leader of Wildrose Party: Link Byfield – Wildrose candidate for Barrhead-Westlock-Morinville: 

The Morinville Parent Delegation website is: If you are interested in reading some of the letters that Morinville citizens have written here are three: 1.

Dear Mr. Hancock: I am discouraged and appalled by GSACRD’s public notice in the Morinville local paper dated April 26, 2011. Here is the preamble for the GSACRD advertisement in the Morinville Free Press: “In response to a request for an education option in the community that does not include any religious instruction, references, symbols or celebrations, GSACRD has contracted Pivotal Research Inc. to conduct an impartial, non-biased survey to determine the level of interest and support.” I am a Christian woman with two children, one of whom is in Grade 2 at a GSACRD public school in Morinville. I am part of the Morinville Parent Delegation and stand beside Donna Hunter with pride and dignity. The parent delegation asked for a Public education like that of other Public schools in Alberta as written in the Constitution. The school day may be opened with the Lord’s Prayer and the day may end with 30 minutes of religious instruction for those who wish it (opt-in). On April 11, 2011 when concerned parents had the meeting with GSACRD, I felt that the GSACRD Administration and Trustees were sincere in our discussions and now I am left feeling that I was naive to believe that GSACRD truly wanted what was best for the community of Morinville and more importantly the children of Morinville. The Constitution does not entitle GSACRD to permeate Catholicism in any of their schools. My daughter’s rights are being violated every single passing day, and I truly believe that you, as Minister of Education, should have already stepped in. I can see why there would be confusion about the Morinville public school situation in our community, when I hear from a GSACRD trustee that the law is up for interpretation. I understand that there are different legal opinions; however the Constitution is not up for interpretation, the limitations on religious instruction and exercises entrenched in the Alberta Act are specific. As Minister of Education you are well aware of that. The law is the law and GSACRD is breaking the law. GSACRD is a public school division. The legal opinion that GSACRD may wholly permeate the Roman Catholic faith in all division schools is empty. If a school system and education system (School Board and Education Minister) truly believed in education that is best for all children then they wouldn’t allow the law to be so flagrantly violated tolerating one religious faith conviction to be exclusively permeated throughout an entire public school division. It is not acceptable to support, by lack of action, for even one child to be required to conform or be cast out of their resident public school system because he/she does not choose a Roman Catholic permeated education in their PUBLIC School. Mr. Bhardwaj, MLA for Edmonton-Ellerslie, asked in the Legislature on April 27, 2011 what the Education Minister was doing to ensure that the parents in Edmonton and elsewhere in the province have access to their choice of education (referring to concerned parents regarding faith-based education). Minister Hancock replied: We’ve seen across the province a number of people writing in and asking for assurance that this government supports a faith-based education, particularly the separate school boards across the province. We’ve made that clear time after time after time. We believe in choice in education. We have an excellent system of education in the province that consists of a public system, which is available for all students; in certain places in the province where it’s been established, a minority faith board, mainly a Catholic board, except in St. Albert, where it’s a Protestant board; and then charter schools, private schools, and other options. What I would like to focus on in your response is: “We believe in choice in education.” Enough said then Mr. Hancock, the children of Morinville deserve to have a choice of a resident, secular, Public inclusive education, PERIOD. If the solution is to find another public board to provide secular education with rights as residents to Morinville citizens, then why hasn’t GSACRD found a partner yet? Why is it up to GSACRD and not the education minister to find a “suitable” partner, when GSACRD can’t even understand what the original request was? Sturgeon School Division is willing to provide a meaningful program; however, GSACRD feels that SSD is not the most capable of educating Morinville children. I want to know why? This delay is unacceptable. GSACRD is a public board. GSACRD denies their obligation to provide secular public inclusive education to its residents. Your minimal involvement encourages GSACRD to continue breaking the law. Mr. Hancock, you must act decisively to correct this public school board’s flouting of Alberta and Canadian law. 


May 4, 2011 To Minister Hancock, I am saddened and disheartened. Again in the Morinville Free Press, now dated May 3rd 2011 page A19, I see the Public Notice from GSACRD with Pivotal Research announcing a survey to determine support and interest for an educational option without ANY religious references. This not only misrepresents our parent request but goes against the religious instruction protected in the Constitution which Morinville parents specifically cited be adhered to in our request. We did not ask for special treatment above the Constitution or above what a Public Division should offer; we asked that our education be like that of other Public divisions across Alberta where religious instruction and exercises are “opt-in”. Religion is not mandatory in education, nor is it required to graduate, but in the GSACRD Public division, Roman Catholic permeated instruction is inseparable from public education. This is unacceptable. There should be opt-in programs such as the Christian Logos Program if Morinville residents choose a faith permeated education for their children. Our Public division cannot deny our request, but they have repeatedly. And now GSACRD misrepresents the Morinville Parent Delegation request in print with a Public Notice advertisement. I am deeply disappointed that a formal investigation of GSACRD’s actions is not taking place. GSACRD’s repeated formal and public denial to meet their obligation to provide secular education as a Public division no different than other Public divisions across Alberta is in total defiance to your position stated in letters to Morinville parents and to the media. Words only go so far, in the end action needs to be taken to correct this unjust anomaly. I am moving. I don’t want to but I have to because as a non-resident of another Public division my right to have a say, to vote for the Trustees that have the vision for current and future education for my children, in a Public division, adhering to the Constitution, is stripped away. Do I and other parents in Morinville really need to vote, to be residents and active members in our children’s education? GSACRD says no. I say yes! How shockingly disingenuous of GSACRD! This is the issue, not religion, but democracy. Democracy is what makes Canada great and to diminish that is un-Canadian. GSACRD is in violation of Canadian democracy and the Constitution and no member of Government will correct the abuse. I am moving to regain my rights but I will still be in Alberta, the province that allows this kind of violation. I will continue to be an advocate for Public education as it is written in the Constitution within the democracy of Canada. Please be advised I will be writing again. 


April 27, 2011 The Honourable Dave Hancock Minister of Education 224 Legislature Building 10800 – 97 Avenue Edmonton, AB T5K 2B6 Dear Minister Hancock: I am compelled to write a letter to you, as a concerned citizen of Morinville on the issue of secular school education. I cannot believe what has transpired in the past eight (8) months and continues to unfold. I am angrier still as the issue of the last eight months should never have occurred if it had been dealt with in 1988, 1995 or 2000 when the issue repeatedly came up, and was repeatedly ignored or dismissed both by the Government of Alberta and GSACRD. That said; let us deal with the issue as it exists today. I am constantly frustrated and in disbelief by the steps that have had to be taken in the case of the struggle for basic Canadian and Alberta laws to be enforced, to protect fundamental Canadian rights in Morinville schools. Many people want to cloud the issue. The issue is the town of Morinville has four PUBLIC schools. These schools are currently operated by the Greater St Albert “Catholic” (Public) Regional Division. These schools are being operated as if they were separate Schools. Religious instruction is completely and fully permeating the entire instructional day, formal and informal. Setting aside the fact that many parents are already daily driving their children out of town as they will not stand for the fully permeated religious education that GSACRD is forcing into the four schools, less than 30% of the children attending all four of these schools are identified by their parents as Roman Catholic. The issue, raised by a group of residents of this division, is that the public schools in Morinville need to act as PUBLIC schools, like everywhere else in Alberta and Canada. I am the father of Donna Hunter and the grandfather of 5 children who would have been attending GSACRD schools this coming September. The violation of my rights, my two daughters’ rights and my five grandchildren’s rights to an education without religious permeation will end by our three families forced to sell their homes and at emotional and economic loss move to Edmonton. You and GSACRD have now stated that a survey of the citizens will be conducted to see how many people would like a secular education to be provided in Morinville, as an option or alternative program. Unbelievable. Laws in our country are not enforced if “numbers are sufficient”! So let’s be clear. If enough citizens of Canada would actually like to have the laws of our country enforced, then you and GSACRD will attempt to find an alternative program, run by a different public school division to try to accommodate them? If numbers wanting their legal rights to be upheld are small, then their children will have to be bussed out of their public school division’s jurisdiction to another public school division area? Let us look at this from a different point of view. GSACRD believes that they have 148 years of history that allows them to violate the rights of the citizens of Morinville by acting as if they were a Catholic Separate School Board, even though they are the only public school board serving Morinville. 148 years ago, women did not have the right to vote. If we follow the GSACRD logic, then in Morinville, if enough of the citizens of the town would actually like for women to have the vote, even though it is a law everywhere else in Alberta and Canada, then perhaps we could try to find a different voting area that they could be permitted to vote in, as an alternative program. We might even bus them. We are not the first to be forced to move from Morinville in order to have our right to a public education upheld. Many have left Morinville before us for this reason and the inaction of the Government of Alberta to deal with GSACRD. Many others are being forced to plan to take these steps. Many others right now drive their children out of their Morinville public school division daily, to have them attend public schools elsewhere, because of the illegal conduct by GSACRD and the Government of Alberta. In your letter to Donna Hunter dated March 24, 2011 you stated, “As you are aware, yesterday I met with the Board of GSACRD to discuss their responsibilities regarding your request. In my view the law is quite clear that the rights and privileges of the GSACRD board are no different than those of any other public board. The Board indicated that they understood their obligation.” In today’s St. Albert Gazette the Superintendant of GSACRD is quoted as saying, “We recognize that it’s not our mandate to fulfill but in the interest of being [a] good community partner and to try to be as helpful to these parents as possible, we will work to try to find somebody.” In the past two decades GSACRD has continuously indicated that they understand that their obligation is to ignore, deny and disrespect anyone requesting an education not of their faith. They also have understood that their obligation is to break the laws of Canada and Alberta, due to their “legislative mandate”. Unacceptable. The law is clear and they have no “legislative mandate” that puts them above the Constitution! The GSACRD board formally and publicly ignored and defied you twice. What will you do? Give them more chances to do this for another decade, or will you take action to correct this illegal anomaly? Since your meeting with them on March 23, 2011, the position of GSACRD has not changed. They state they have NO obligation to provide a secular education as a public school board. They will try to find a partner. The partner they are trying to find will be as far away from Morinville as possible, to try to make this alternative public school option as unpopular as possible. The meeting with Sturgeon Schools was superficial at best. Enough. The law is clear to both you and the citizens of Morinville. Every child is entitled to a public education free from religious instruction, indoctrination and dogma. In Morinville the law has been intentionally violated by GSACRD and the Government of Alberta for decades. Again, not counting those already being driven out of town daily by their parents, 70% of the town’s enrolled students are not of the Catholic faith. That statistic is redundant. Public schools are secular. Separate schools are faith based. There is no reason for a poll, or census or survey. As Minister of Education, knowing that the public have repeatedly tried and failed and that you have tried and failed to have GSACRD recognize their obligation under the law, you must re-designate the geographic area of Morinville to a public school board that does understand their obligation. The schools in Morinville must be transferred to a “real” public school board. You have this power as the Minister and it is used routinely to handle demographic changes in Alberta annually. Do it now, here, for a far better reason, enforcement of the laws of Canada and Alberta. Then, if numbers warrant, the citizens of Morinville have a legal process to determine if they will have a Catholic, or other faith based school in Morinville. If not, then perhaps a busing agreement can be made with a nearby separate school division. The citizens of this town have waited decades for a public school education to be provided in Morinville. Those wishing a faith based system can legally be provided with an alternative program by September if you act now. GSACRD has made their position clear; they defy you and will do everything possible to delay any action on this issue. The survey is inappropriate. Enforce the law for all citizens and for all the public schools in Alberta. Separate schools do not exist in Morinville but legally there is a process to establish one if it is desired and numbers warrant. Let’s put the issue straight. The anomaly is not the residents who have asked that their public schools stop acting like separate schools, it is the GSACRD school board refusing to act as the Public Board they are paid to be. 

 Posted by at 9:16 PM