After meeting with MPs from around the country across the span of two days, CCSTA is confident in its support from political representatives at the federal level.
On Oct. 30 and 31, CCSTA Board of Directors scheduled meetings with MPs to discuss Catholic education in Canada and its long-serving role since the country’s earliest days.
They met on Parliament Hill, followed by an open reception for networking.
“In my view, overall, the day was a huge success,” says CCSTA President Marino Gazzola. “We were very well received and had many very positive comments.”
The first meeting included a sit down with the Leader of the Opposition Party, Andrew Scheer. Scheer – who is a Catholic school graduate – reiterated his support to the system.
“Mr. Scheer was unequivocal in his support,” says CCSTA Executive Director Julian Hanlon. “He said if we ever need his backing, don’t hesitate to call.”
The following day, CCSTA hosted several meetings individually with MPs including Charlie Angus, Earl Dreeshen and Peter Fonseca.
“The meetings were outstanding,” says Mr. Gazzola. “Very strong support for Catholic education was indicated by almost every MP that we met with. The highlight of the day for me was two of my MP meetings ended with the comment, ‘if you need someone to stand up in the house and speak in favour of Catholic education, I am your man’.”
According to Mr. Hanlon, they consistently received the same message from the MPs.
“The key message from many was keep doing what you are doing; do not let up and continue promoting your system,” he explains.
Following the Oct. 31 meetings, CCSTA hosted an evening reception on Parliament Hill.
“The reception went well,” says Mr. Gazzola. “Those who attended were positive, supportive and spoke highly of our system. Many are graduates of our system and have children or grandchildren in our system.”
Anthony Rota from The Liberal Party, Conservative Harold Albrecht and Charlie Angus of the NDP spoke at the reception.
“All three were very encouraging and were adamant that we continue our work in support of Catholic education,” says. Mr. Gazzola.
From here, CCSTA will follow up with the MPs to continue to build on these meetings to foster these relationships.
“Part of our missions includes political advocacy, and these meetings and reception put us in front of our politicians to have meaningful conversations regarding the impact of Catholic education in Canada,” says Mr. Hanlon. “We’ll continue on with this conversation.”