Parliament Hill was alive with discussions centered on Catholic education this past week.
The CCSTA Board of Directors travelled to the nation’s capital to meet one-one-one with a number of Members of Parliament. On Tuesday, Feb. 23, CCSTA sat down with a number of influential MPs to talk about Catholic education and its role in Canada’s history and today.
CCSTA directors were teamed up in groups of two or three to sit down with each MP at a prescribed time. The MPs who met with CCSTA include:
The Honourable Michelle Rempel
Conservative Party of Canada, Critic for Citizenship, Immigration and Refugees
Member of Parliament for Calgary—Nose Hill, AB
New Democratic Party, Critic for Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario
Member of Parliament for Timmins—James Bay, ON
Conservative Party of Canada, Critic for Justice
Member of Parliament for Niagara Falls, ON
Liberal Party of Canada, Member of Special Committee on Pay Equity
Member of Parliament for Sault Ste. Marie, ON
Liberal Party of Canada, Member of Standing Committees on Public Accounts, Industry, Science and Technology
Member of Parliament for Nepean, ON
Liberal Party of Canada, Assistant Deputy Speaker of the House
Member of Parliament for Nipissing—Timiskaming, ON
New Democratic Party of Canada, Assistant Deputy Speaker of the House
Member of Parliament for Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing, ON
The Honourable Peter Fonseca
Liberal Party of Canada, Member of the Standing Committee on International Trade
Member of Parliament for Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON
The Honourable Todd Doherty
Conservative Party of Canada, Critic for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, Deputy Critic for Indigenous Affairs
Member of Parliament for Cariboo—Prince George, BC
Liberal Party of Canada, Member of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities
Member of Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas, ON
The consistent message was positively received by the MPs, many of whom have first-hand experience with Catholic education.
Many of the MPs either attended Catholic school or their children attended Catholic school including Charlie Angus, Anthony Rota and Todd Doherty.
Filomena Tassi is a past board member of both St. Joseph’s Hospital and the Catholic Youth Organization, and she also served as a Catholic School trustee. Filomena was also the recipient of the 2010 Brian Halferty Award – presented by the Catholic School Chaplains of Ontario (CSCO) for exemplary service.
Charlie Angus, with his wife, ran a Catholic Worker House for the homeless in Toronto during the 1980s. Terry Sheehan has more than 20 years of involvement with the Huron-Superior Catholic School Board in Ste. Sault Marie.
The meetings ran approximately 20 minutes each, and a lot was discussed during those scheduled times.
From the constitution to the First Nations, the topics ranged when talking about Catholic education’s role in Canada. At the end of each meeting, many CCSTA directors will be getting back to the MPs with any questions or inquiries made from the meetings.
“It was a very productive day, and we had lots of positive feedback from both the Directors and the MPs,” says CCSTA Executive Director Julian Hanlon. “Building this foundation with our MPs is an integral part of why we’re here, and these meetings helped solidify those necessary relationships.”