Trudeau visit to catholic elementary school spurs controversy

Julian Wolfe
July 4th, 2013

Parents of children who attend St. Claire catholic elementary school in Orleans are crying “scandal” after Liberal leader Justin Trudeau visited and spoke to the children. The parents argue the Ottawa Catholic School Board should have a stricter process of choosing speakers, blocking those that believe in same-sex marriage and “the fundamental right” for a woman to chose whether she’ll have an abortion.

As a result, the school board changed the rules to ensure all partnerships “shall be forged to ensure respect for the distinctive nature of Catholic education and adherence to the Roman Catholic tradition.”

The board says the new rules come from the outcry of parents who want to protect their religious values.

Trudeau spoke to the school last November as part of anti-bullying week but parent Gillian Keenan argued “if you Google anything about Justin Trudeau, it comes up very clearly that he is strongly against some important Catholic teachings.”

“What it suggests is that the Catholic school and anyone supporting the Catholic school, therefore supports his platform,” Keenan said.

“He’s not all bad, but my point is just that we don’t need the star factor like him if what he stands for is contrary to Catholic teachings.”

However, speakers and partnerships weren’t the only thing that concerned these parents. Field trips and who  their children met on them was also a factor. Trips to El Salvador came under fire because some of the student groups part of Save The Children were in favor of abortion and stood against bullying, homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of discrimination. One of the parents said the group’s stances were promoting “the normalization of homosexuality.”

LifeSiteNews, a website launched by the Campaign Life Foundation, a Toronto-based anti-abortion group, and has ties to Harper’s Conservative Party, amplified the criticism of allowing catholic-raised children to participate in normal society. A “Get out the vote” field trip during the last American election campaign was canceled after an article on LifeSiteNews claimed the teacher that was organizing the trip was a Barack Obama advocate. The parents didn’t want their kids campaigning for Barack Obama who is pro-choice.

The controversy over the restrictiveness of the Catholic community wouldn’t be as much an issue if the Catholic education system wasn’t receiving taxpayer funding. It is understandable that parents who refuse to accept the world around them want to keep their children ignorant of opposing views and people. It is understandable that discrimination is alright for these people when it applies to their religious views. It is also understandable that the children are being brainwashed and used as political vehicles as they attempt to impose their views on society when no one is forcing them to enact in same-sex relationships and when no one is forcing them to get an abortion when one of their members get pregnant.

It appears this scandal and revisions to the board’s policies are but a mere tactic to save the sinking ship that is the Conservatives – but even they came under fire by the same people for not doing enough to impose their values on Canadians. This brings the irony of a government that claims it promotes freedom while imposing its views on the public.

What do you think of the controversy surrounding the Catholic community and their new rules to further isolate their children from the outside world?

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