Is this a true formula — socialism equals totalitarianism?
Quebec, is increasingly becoming more totalitarian. Children are to go to government subsidized day-care to be "socialized", even as research shows poor results from these day-care programs. Homeschooling parents are discouraged and steered into public schools. Ethics and Religious Culture courses are mandatory in public and private schools.
Who are the motivators behind Quebec's statist mandates in childhood care and education? I get little conversation about this in British Columbia, Canada. But, this is what I posted recently — both to clarify things in my own mind and to publish these questions to a broader audience.
Parents Cornered By The State — Any Options?
(by Tunya Audain 20110519 comment to blog, The Report Card, by Janet Steffenhagen, Vancouver Sun Education Reporter, on story “Canada's top court considers mandatory religion course in Quebec schools” 20110518)
Increasingly the state imposes what it thinks best in the cause of “The Common Good”. Creeping statism !
(Statism: the practice of concentrating economic and political power in the state, resulting in a weak position for the individual or community)
How does this happen? Do politicians meet in secret, and then proceed to legislate, some decree? No, generally such an action is in response to pressure or persuasion from some lobbying group — either self-interested or well-meaning.
Thus we see a group, in knee-jerk fashion, approach government for some comprehensive, universal program to correct a problem on behalf of some public good. Very recently, in the name of reducing obesity and overindulgence in salt and sugar, two groups (Canadian Medical Association Journal and Active Healthy Kids Canada) suggested government remedies.
But the Globe and Mail did a blistering editorial on their starry-eyed suggestions. Some quotes:
– People in a democracy should be free to make bad choices.
– The attitude seems to be that only the government can rescue children from bad habits.
– How the state is supposed to program the pounds off today’s children is not explained.
– Shaming and blaming, taxing and banning, will not work.
– The heavy hand of the state is not the answer to every ill.
(Globe and Mail, April 27, 2011, Toward a Utopia of Apples and Nuts)
I mention the above as introduction to my fears about the creeping totalitarianism in Quebec. I’m referring to the two related stories — a) The Supreme Court of Canada hearings on the legality of Quebec’s imposition of Ethics and Religious Culture (ERC) curriculum on all schools, private and public, and b) a Quebec judge ordering a family to send their 3 and 5 year old children to state-funded daycare for “socialization” and which family had earlier had to send their homeschool children to public schools.
The Supreme Court started its hearings yesterday, with at least 8 interveners including the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. The testimonies and presentations will be extremely important to follow to determine just far we have come in losing our freedoms in Canada. "Can the state impose, without the possibility of an exemption, a program of study about religion and ethics on parents who view it as infringing on their religious beliefs and their freedom of conscience? Such is the stake in this case."
The case about the homeschooling family and the day care issue is being handled by a group called the Home School Legal Defense Association. http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/quebec-judge-orders-three-year-old-into-daycare-for-socialization video “Forced into Daycare” http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/video/939198910001
In the matter of freedoms being squeezed, is our only recourse the law courts?
One big question for me is who are the lobbies behind these moves in Quebec, making it such a totalitarian province? Is it just the Liberal government of Quebec or are there other lobbies such as public service unions who stand to gain if all children are made to attend state daycares and schools? Or are other groups that oppose school choice and parental rights in education involved?
This week I heard yet another presentation of why we “need” universal Early Childhood Education (ECE) programs in BC when I attended the public COPE meeting on Public Education. However, as persuasive as the speaker, Dr. Paul Kershaw, was, he admitted three times that in Canada there was a growing “nervousness” toward such programs. Could it be that the heavily subsidized $7.00 a day program in Quebec is not producing the intended results? See this May 12th report: “Quebec’s massively-funded daycare program ‘very low’ quality”. http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/quebecs-massively-funded-daycare-program-very-low-quality-expert
A comment on this story of poor daycare results says: “This interference is our generation’s residential school system. Hopefully when these children will grow up they’ll be able to make a class action lawsuit in the same fashion.”
Are we only to wait until these children grow up when they might see that they have been cheated and they go to the courts for reparations? They, who now are so seductively herded into universal state programs to be “socialized” and alienated from their families. How can the parents be so compliant? But what can resistant and cornered parents do? That’s what those two legal actions are about in Quebec. Follow closely.
Why are families and parents in Canada treated so much like breeders for the state machine which “needs” children to process — one-size-fits-all, for the “The Common Good”? I hope these Quebec cases provide a cautionary tale for the Rest of Canada (ROC).
What is needed, when governments fund, produce, and monopolize services is for the consumers/clients/captives to have enforceable rights and remedies as obligatory policy. If these rights are not in place — when citizens can have some safeguards against state oppressiveness — the state should step aside, trust its people and offer free choice of programs it funds through equitable vouchers.
At this point, as we seem to be incrementally becoming more “socialized” I see no option but to look at the urgency for enforceable parent rights — for special education needs, general education and day care. A good starting point would be look at these parent rights as compiled from good practices of the past. http://education-advisory.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/parent_-rights_-and_-their_-children.pdf