Today in Ottawa we will be seeing one more reason to junk the Ontario Separate School System:
High school students from Ottawa Catholic schools will have time off to join the anti-abortion protesters. Communications officer Mardi de Kemp said the board pays for buses to the event.
This is, or should be, intolerable to Ontarians in 2013. How dare Catholic school boards use tax money to send kids out of the classroom to attend a religio-political demonstration? Can you imagine the howls if any other religion had access to public monies to abuse in this fashion?
Well, actually, yes I can.
This wasn’t on the same scale as busing hundreds of kids into downtown Ottawa to oppose women’s rights on our dime, but it was objectionable. Unfortunately, however, the opposition was hijacked by professional Islamophobes making false appeals to secularist principles. No “mosqueteria” for them.
Where are they now? Where is their concern, as Ontario schoolchildren are press-ganged into attending an anti-choice rally, with you and me helpfully paying the transport costs?
Only one religion—Roman Catholicism—is so privileged in this province. Time to scrap the Separate School system as the outmoded, patriarchal relic that it is—and get those kids back into the classrooms where they belong.
UPDATE: There were sure a lot of kids on the lawn today, courtesy of the taxpayer. Here are a few quick photos. First, an unlovely synthesis of patriarchy and colonialism, a few Knights of Columbus in full regalia:
Then a few of the lads in cassocks:
And lots of schoolchildren:
But I will confess that I was far more interested in the small pro-choice contingent—small because we lacked access to public funds to bus in our allies. Here are some Atwood-inspired Handmaids:
…and one of their number setting up a thank-you card for the staff of the Ottawa abortion clinic on Bank Street, closed today over security concerns:
I saw a lot of myself in this young man:
And the women here were royally upset, and rightfully so:
Frankly I was embarrassed for the little teeny-boppers on the other side of the fence. One yelled, “If your Mom thought the same way as you, you wouldn’t be here!” Of course the same argument applies to the Church-approved rhythm method, but the Separate School system apparently teaches dogma, not logic.
A pretty shabby day, given that this is 2013, when women in Canada allegedly have equal rights. Not if those anti-choice people have anything to do with it, of course. But the pro-choice folks were here to let them know that there will be no going back, despite these taxpayer-subsidized circus sideshows. Felt good being in their number.