The early settlers of Canada brought with them the religious feuding of Ireland leading to a divide between the majority Protestants and incoming minority Catholics. Like hockey players seething in the penalty box, the two sects were segregated into independent religious schools. This was prior to even the writing of the Canadian constitution and forming of the country itself, and thereby it was written with the allotment for this school system.
That system persists to this day, having survived a supreme court decision upholding the right of government funds biasedly towards a religious sect or sects, despite the updated Canadian rights as formulated in the 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms. So obviously it is legally permitted.
Canada is fortunate in its current religious climate. While boasting similar religiosity demographics as the United States, with ~70-80% Christian and 10-20% non-religious, it’s much more of a pacified faith than what is seen south of the border. There is a war in the US, fought not with guns but with legislature and propaganda with science education and minority rights at risk. This all with the establishment clause demanding freedom of and from religion right there in the Constitution preventing favourable treatment towards Christianity or any other religion.
The situation in Canada with regard to religious schools is not in violation of our legal rights, but that should not be the end of it. While I would prefer it, I am not calling for the suspension of government funds to these schools (yet). What is needed–however needless as it may seem right now–is a constitutional amendment providing freedom of and from religion and the separation of church and state–while we still can.
The consitutional freedoms in the United States constitution is the only thing holding their school systems together right now. While Canada’s are doing relatively fine, the constitutional rights aren’t meant for the easy times; they’re meant for the worst of times. We have the opportunity in the time of peace and tolerance to properly protect the minority from the tyrrany of the majority.
The multimedia lobbyists are already pounding at Canada’s door, leading to a fight for our rights with regard to digital media; let’s close the door on the religious lobby that could well follow.