Ottawa

Tory pledges support for religious schools

A Conservative government in Ontario would give financial support to parents whose children attend faith-based private schools, party leader John Tory says.

A Conservative government in Ontario would give financial support to parents whose children attend faith-based private schools, party leader John Tory says.

Speaking at a policy conference in Niagara Falls on Sunday, Tory said he thinks the province's current practice of providing funding only for Roman Catholic schools amounts to discrimination against people of other faiths.

While he promised to preserve the current Catholic and public education systems, Tory said a Conservative government would look at some sort of financial assistance to parents who pay tuition for other faith-based schools.

Tory said his party has not yet decided the details of such a plan.

However, "I am still completely and totally committed to ensuring that part of our platform for the 2007 election is a policy that addresses the fairness issue for independent schools," he said.

"That needs to be addressed, but does not override our paramount obligation … to make sure that we maintain in place a quality public education system."

Tory added that the assistance might be limited to faith-based schools, rather than extended to all private schools.

In 2001, the Conservative government of then-premier Mike Harris introduced tax credits for parents who paid private-school tuition.

The credits were cancelled by the Liberals when they came to power in 2003.

With files from the Canadian Press

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