As of this writing, it appears that Doug Ford is headed to a second majority government. Ontarians will have elected a new government by the time this update is posted.
As Shabbat ends, tomorrow night, Jews around the world in their respective time zones, will welcome the Festival of Shavuot in rising waves of syncopated celebration. Some 50 days after the Festival of Freedom, we gather in synagogues, study halls and especially around dining room tables to commemorate the Festival of Giving us our Torah (Shavuot).
The near coincidence of the two occasions this year – Ontario’s provincial election and Shavuot – brings with it a poignancy we ought not ignore. Indeed we must point it out and suggest its meaning for us.
Some 3,500 years ago, the children of Israel were still a rabble of former slaves when they assembled at the foot of the lowly desert mountain to receive the law. But, though a rabble, they were able nevertheless to burst through their emotional and psychological bonds to commit personally and for all generations to bring justice, purpose, order and God into human history. Liberty joined with law. Emancipation joined with responsibility. Men and women were no longer to be governed by strong man, slave master or tyrant. Men and women were to be governed by the true rule of law. The fair, just, wide application of commonly shared values and governing principals, was born.
Alas, successive governments of Ontario have ignored and violated this sacrosanct hallmark of true rule of law. For more than a quarter century, through its unfair and unjust educational funding policies, Ontario has actually preferred one religion over the other religions observed by Ontarians.
As we wrote in this space last week, GAJE’s great dream is to try to help make Jewish education affordable for every family in Ontario that seeks it for their children. Our chief strategy in achieving our aim is to try to change the law that applies to educational funding in Ontario. Private and public lobbying has failed to move the respective consciences of the past many governments at Queen’s Park, even though the provincial governments British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec provide some funding to the independent schools in their provinces.
We have no alternative to achieving this fairness and justice other than resort to the courts.
As a result, GAJE has launched an application to try to bring fairness and equity to the Government of Ontario’s education funding. It is moral and right that we do so. Why should the law of Ontario abjure fairness? Why should it be hollow and bereft of justice? Of course it should not.
Even as we congratulate Premier Ford and the newly elected Conservative members to the legislature, we also express to them our fervent hope that they will change their funding policies if not the law to make them fair and free of preference for one religion over the others in our province.
If, at some point during Shavuot, you look heavenward, to be reminded of the event at Sinai so long ago, remember the message we heard then is always relevant and must be repeated and re-affirmed today: the foundation of all law is justice
If you wish to contribute to the funding of GAJE’s lawsuit, please click here.
For further information, please contact Israel Mida at: email@example.com
Charitable receipts for donations for income tax purposes will be issued by Mizrachi Canada. Your donations will be used for the sole purpose of underwriting the costs of the lawsuit.
Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE),
June 3, 2022