Monday, November 28, 2011

The Trap Of Public Funds - Quebec To Ban Prayer In Home-Based Daycares

It starts with the notion that paying for a service most of us need should not be our responsibility, but that of the government. But once we let the government assume these responsibilities, once government subsidies (and the artificially low prices they create) become the norm, we shouldn't be surprised that the government starts imposing its own rules on all businesses, including home-based, family-run enterprises:
QUEBEC, November 24, 2011 ( – Nearly a year after the Quebec government banned religion from the province’s subsidized daycares, they have signaled that they will extend the directive into daycares run in private homes.

Jean Charest’s Liberal government issued a directive last December stipulating that government-funded daycares must not offer any activity that aims to teach a belief, dogma, or practice of a particular religion.

The directive, which took effect June 1st, banned religious prayers, crafts, and songs – including many Christmas carols. Religious symbols, such as Christmas trees, crucifixes, and menorahs were allowed as cultural expressions, but staff cannot explain their religious significance.

Now the Ministry of Families and Seniors has indicated they will extend the ban into home-run daycares that are subsidized by the government.
I wonder if daycare owners can sue the government. Not so much for discrimination (although, what we witness is a blatant case of religious discrimination,) but against unfair business practices. There's simply no other name to the situation when the government first uses subsidies to bring the prices down to ~15% of the market price (or no more than one third of the actual cost of doing business) and then withdraws these subsidies from businesses that don't adhere to specific religious (secular fundamentalist) values, leaving them with the choice of complying or trying to survive when their own tax money is used by the government to price them out of business.

If the government chooses to subsidize an entire industry - it should be all or none. And it should be up to the parents and daycare owners, not up to the government to decide whether or not religion they want religion in their daycares and to what extent.

P.S. There's no better argument against government-subsidized daycares than Quebecers' own experience. If anyone believes this wouldn't happen with government subsidized daycares in any other province - he is way too naive.

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