Petition ramps up Hamilton French Catholic school fight

News Jun 02, 2015 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

Hamilton’s French Catholic school board is hoping a show of political force will convince the province to fund a new high school rather than fight in court.

About 100 students, parents and supporters joined an official delegation at Queen’s Park on Tuesday morning to present a 2,500-signature petition supporting a 475-student school on the east Mountain.

The province has offered $26 million for the school if it is shared with the French public board, arguing the Catholic board doesn’t have enough students on its own.

However, Mark Power, lawyer for the Catholic board, said the school can draw 1,000 or more students based on elementary enrolment and Tuesday’s event sought to show “these are real people.”

He said English Catholic and public boards aren’t asked to share schools, and with good reason.

“Catholic schools need separate spaces to transmit faith,” Power said.

“Public schools need to be truly public and that means no religion, and so it’s very difficult either practically or legally to conceive of true share situations that would be able to reconcile those very different visions.”

The French Catholic board is suing the province, arguing it is being denied a constitutional right to a school substantially equal to English ones.

Power said he’d prefer to settle the dispute but is confident of victory based on Supreme Court rulings, including a recent one in B.C. where he acted as counsel.

The existing Académie catholique Mère-Teresa on the east Mountain is a converted elementary school and has classrooms without windows or proper sound-proofing, an undersized gym and no playing field, he said.

Powers said the B.C. ruling found equality is based on how an average parent would compare available schools and ACMT clearly isn’t equal.

He said he expects a decision in 2016 if the dispute goes to court and believes the province is taking a big risk by not settling because a favourable ruling for the board will have Ontario-wide implications.

“It would then allow smaller boards, smaller cities, towns, to simply insist on having more schools,” Power said. “From the province’s perspective, from a risk-management perspective, I’d want to settle.”

Petition ramps up Hamilton French Catholic school fight

News Jun 02, 2015 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

Hamilton’s French Catholic school board is hoping a show of political force will convince the province to fund a new high school rather than fight in court.

About 100 students, parents and supporters joined an official delegation at Queen’s Park on Tuesday morning to present a 2,500-signature petition supporting a 475-student school on the east Mountain.

The province has offered $26 million for the school if it is shared with the French public board, arguing the Catholic board doesn’t have enough students on its own.

However, Mark Power, lawyer for the Catholic board, said the school can draw 1,000 or more students based on elementary enrolment and Tuesday’s event sought to show “these are real people.”

“From the province’s perspective, from a risk-management perspective, I’d want to settle.”

He said English Catholic and public boards aren’t asked to share schools, and with good reason.

“Catholic schools need separate spaces to transmit faith,” Power said.

“Public schools need to be truly public and that means no religion, and so it’s very difficult either practically or legally to conceive of true share situations that would be able to reconcile those very different visions.”

The French Catholic board is suing the province, arguing it is being denied a constitutional right to a school substantially equal to English ones.

Power said he’d prefer to settle the dispute but is confident of victory based on Supreme Court rulings, including a recent one in B.C. where he acted as counsel.

The existing Académie catholique Mère-Teresa on the east Mountain is a converted elementary school and has classrooms without windows or proper sound-proofing, an undersized gym and no playing field, he said.

Powers said the B.C. ruling found equality is based on how an average parent would compare available schools and ACMT clearly isn’t equal.

He said he expects a decision in 2016 if the dispute goes to court and believes the province is taking a big risk by not settling because a favourable ruling for the board will have Ontario-wide implications.

“It would then allow smaller boards, smaller cities, towns, to simply insist on having more schools,” Power said. “From the province’s perspective, from a risk-management perspective, I’d want to settle.”

Petition ramps up Hamilton French Catholic school fight

News Jun 02, 2015 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

Hamilton’s French Catholic school board is hoping a show of political force will convince the province to fund a new high school rather than fight in court.

About 100 students, parents and supporters joined an official delegation at Queen’s Park on Tuesday morning to present a 2,500-signature petition supporting a 475-student school on the east Mountain.

The province has offered $26 million for the school if it is shared with the French public board, arguing the Catholic board doesn’t have enough students on its own.

However, Mark Power, lawyer for the Catholic board, said the school can draw 1,000 or more students based on elementary enrolment and Tuesday’s event sought to show “these are real people.”

“From the province’s perspective, from a risk-management perspective, I’d want to settle.”

He said English Catholic and public boards aren’t asked to share schools, and with good reason.

“Catholic schools need separate spaces to transmit faith,” Power said.

“Public schools need to be truly public and that means no religion, and so it’s very difficult either practically or legally to conceive of true share situations that would be able to reconcile those very different visions.”

The French Catholic board is suing the province, arguing it is being denied a constitutional right to a school substantially equal to English ones.

Power said he’d prefer to settle the dispute but is confident of victory based on Supreme Court rulings, including a recent one in B.C. where he acted as counsel.

The existing Académie catholique Mère-Teresa on the east Mountain is a converted elementary school and has classrooms without windows or proper sound-proofing, an undersized gym and no playing field, he said.

Powers said the B.C. ruling found equality is based on how an average parent would compare available schools and ACMT clearly isn’t equal.

He said he expects a decision in 2016 if the dispute goes to court and believes the province is taking a big risk by not settling because a favourable ruling for the board will have Ontario-wide implications.

“It would then allow smaller boards, smaller cities, towns, to simply insist on having more schools,” Power said. “From the province’s perspective, from a risk-management perspective, I’d want to settle.”