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February 4, 2000
Ontario refuses funding to minority schools
J M Shenoy
Ignoring appeals from leaders of the Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and Jewish communities and protests from the United Nations, Ontario province has refused to allot funds for educational institutions run by minorities.
The United Nations has ruled that Ontario's policy violates the fairness bar and the concept of education for all. Ontario gives aid only to public and Catholic schools.
Jurists have suggested that the Canadian province has violated human rights by excluding many people from its educational grants. Ontario is the only province in Canada not to fund religious schools in some form.
"If Canada is truly multicultural, how is that an important province in the country does not want to help minorities," asks a Columbia University graduate.
United Nations received a letter from Ottawa saying it had failed to persuade Ontario to change its present policy.
Minority leaders said Ontario cannot exclude other minorities and support one or two religious denominations. Ontario would not have to spend more than a few million each year to aid minority schools, many people say.
When the country and the province have strong economies, no province has the moral right to ignore minorities some critics of Canada said.
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