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Bill Kelly: Why ending public funding for Catholic schools won’t be an election issue

Former PC leader John Tory's promise to extend public funding to religious schools led to a big election defeat.
Former PC leader John Tory's promise to extend public funding to religious schools led to a big election defeat. Global News

An editorial in the Toronto Star over the weekend has rekindled a long-standing debate in Ontario: is it time to end public funding for Catholic schools?

The arguments for and against are long and incendiary but with a more diverse Ontario population and a growing number of people not affiliating with any specific religious denomination, it’s not surprising that the issue has been raised again.

READ MORE: 57 per cent of Albertans don’t think Catholic system should be fully funded: poll

To be clear, the theory suggests that taxpayers fund only one public education system and all religious-based schools, including Catholic schools, would be funded by supporters of those religious denominations.

Outrageous?

Maybe, but Quebec and Newfoundland have already done it with the support of most of their voters.

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Back in 2007, former Progressive Conservative leader John Tory suggested extending public funding to other religious schools and many pundits suggest that policy was one of the main reasons for the party’s poor showing in that election.

But, in this era, where “finding efficiencies,” which is a euphemism for cutting government programs, is the flavour of the month, would any of the three major parties dare to tackle the issue?

I highly doubt it; recent history shows that controversial policy proposals usually lead to election disasters.

I’m guessing that the issue of public funding for two school systems is a political hot potato nobody wants to touch.

Bill Kelly is the host of Bill Kelly Show on AM 900 CHML and a commentator for Global News