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Need strong verdict on religious freedoms

On May 18th, in the Supreme Court of Canada, the Québec government
will try to set a limit on religious freedom.

The case revolves around parents’ rights to decide whether their children
receive any religious instruction and, if so, who does the teaching.

Under the British North America Act of 1867, regulation of education is a
provincial responsibility; so, a Québec court has said it is OK for the
Québec government to require all school children to receive the same
teaching in religious studies. This course of instruction is intended for
use in public schools, private schools, religious schools and home schools,
without exception.

Understandably, one argument in favor of such action is that knowledge
of what other people believe will help young people to grow up tolerant
of our country’s multicultural diversity.

On the other side of the case, there are people who believe that
government-mandated religious instruction would be a violation of the
1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which puts “freedom of conscience
and religion” as our first fundamental freedom.

I pray that our Supreme Court judges will not announce a 5-4 decision,
but will give us a clear and strong majority verdict.

Al Reimers
Wellington

Filed Under: Letters and Opinion

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