Thursday, May 19, 2011 | Categories: The As It Happens Blog
by jeff douglas
Here's my problem - one of my problems - I'm a flip-flopper.
Perhaps it's my Gemini coding. But after spending minutes/hours immersed in one side of a debate, finally secure in my stance, I relax my attention and there it is.
The other side of the argument.
It makes me a frustrating guy to argue with. Drives my wife crazy.
The reason I bring that particular failing up now is an item one of our producers, Diane Eros, brought to our story meeting this morning.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court of Canada heard from Quebec parents' groups. They are challenging the mandatory Ethics and Religious Culture Program introduced to the province's classrooms in 2008.
You know what? Best if Diane explains.
The groups went to the Quebec courts, saying they wanted to pull their children out of the course. The courts denied their request. So, as Diane mentioned, they are appealing on the grounds that their Charter rights to freedom of conscience and religion have been violated.
Tonight on the show we'll have Richard Decarie, a spokesperson for one of those parent groups. He argues that, because the course is mandatory and begins in the early grades, it could undermine parents' roles in the moral development of their children.
This course, known by educators as ERC, replaces a religion course, and - again, as Diane said - incorporates elements of the different faiths and cultures that are represented in modern Quebec society.
In 2009, the Vatican spoke out against the course along the same lines as the parents' group represented by M. Decarie.
Here's the flip-flopping part for me:
I get that parents are concerned for the moral welfare of their children and that they want to be in control of what those children are exposed to, particularly at young ages. And I get that they're worried about the consequences of that exposure may be.
But, man, what I wouldn't give to be better informed - about anything! And to be engaged in an ongoing dialogue with and about my neighbour cultures from such an early age that I wouldn't have the opportunity to get into the whole 'them' and 'us' thing?
That would be awesome.