Jewish community organizations ask Premier to reconsider remarks

    TORONTO, Aug. 30 /CNW/ - UJA Federation of Greater Toronto and Canadian
Jewish Congress Ontario Region (CJCONT) are asking Premier Dalton McGuinty to
reconsider his suggestion that including all qualifying faith-based schools in
the public education system would lead to the unraveling of social cohesion.
    "The remark is deeply offensive to our community and all faith
communities," said UJA Federation chair David Engel. "Our schools teach
respect for all members of Ontario society - not the opposite - and we
encourage our students to strengthen the society around us through their
volunteer work and their careers."
    "Thousands of graduates from more than 40 Ontario Jewish day schools and
other faith-based schools are important contributors to the greater good of
Canada and its celebrated diversity. They include political representatives,
social workers, members of the armed forces, professionals in the arts and
many others who help strengthen our province in all areas," noted CJCONT chair
Frank Bialystok. "The suggestion that our schools are in any way divisive or
segregationist is hurtful."
    "Regardless of how one feels about the issue of inclusive public
education, the debate should be conducted in an atmosphere of mutual respect,
without casting aspersions on faith communities," said UJA Federation
President and CEO Ted Sokolsky. "We've been waiting for the Premier to
reconsider his hurtful remarks. But now we have no choice but to issue this
public appeal."
    Since the Premier made his remarks on August 22, distress in the Jewish
community has been building. Many community members have been calling UJA and
CJCONT to express their dismay. These concerns have been communicated to the
Premier's office.

For further information:

For further information: Media Contact: Howard English, VP Corporate
Communications, UJA Federation, (416) 631-5735 or (416) 274-8461 (cell)

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