Wednesday 25 May 2011

So what's going wrong in Quebec?

Institutionally left wing and anti-Catholic since (at least) the 1960s, the Canadian province of Quebec seems to be turning into a heavy-handed statist dystopia if recent news stories are anything to go by. Following in the footsteps of German and Swedish court decisions limiting freedom in education, a Quebec court recently ordered a Catholic home-educating family to send their children to state schools and (and this is the scariest bit) to send their pre-school children to state-run daycare for "socialisation". The family are backed by the  Canadian branch of the Home School Legal Defense Association who comment on the case on LifeSiteNews.  You can support the family and others like them here if you're interested.

Worse yet is the relativist  “Ethics and Religious Culture” (ERC) course forced onto all families in the province. This purports to present the spectrum of world religions and lifestyle choices from a “neutral” stance, and which teaches children from an early age that homosexuality is a "normal family lifestyle", and requires the children to question the beliefs and values from their own religious and moral upbringing. Unlike the UK's SRE courses, Quebec's ERC course is also mandatory for private schools and home-educating parents. This reminds me of a moment in the SRE debates in the Houses of Parliament a year or two ago when a Labour MP suggested that the SRE programme should be made compulsory for all children, including, and, it seemed, particularly those children educated at home. It was suggested that SRE sessions could be held in community centres and schools on weekends with mandatory attendance for home educated children. The suggestion didn't get anywhere, but as we can see from Quebec, it wasn't as far-fetched as it might have seemed at the time.

I wonder if a good measure of how much we can trust a government to govern is how much that government trusts parents to parent?

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