Trustees within the Halton Catholic District School Board (HCDSB) voted 5 to 3 in favour of a motion to ban fundraising for charities that run counter to Catholic values. This controversial vote could cost Canadian and international charities and nonprofits thousands of dollars for supporting activities that violate “the sanctity of life from conception to natural death.”
This includes any charities that publicly support (either directly or indirectly) abortion, contraception, sterilization, euthanasia, or embryonic stem cell research.
The board consists of 46 elementary schools and 9 secondary schools that participate in annual charity events supporting foundations like the Canadian Cancer Society (Relay for Life), Me to We, SickKids, ALS Society of Canada, Unicef and many others. The school board’s decision will no longer permit donations to these organizations.
As elected officials, the trustees have a responsibility to ensure their actions represent the will of the majority stakeholders. Many feel like there was no real conversation or research done before the motion was passed. I don’t believe that the thoughts of a few should outweigh the opinions of those contributing to those donations.
As children of God, we are called to be charitable and this motion prevents that.
Keith Boyd – the Halton secondary unit president of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association – suggested that organizations could sign a waiver agreeing that none of the funds donated by the Board would go to the restricted activities. This way, we could have control over where our money goes to.
Donating to charitable organizations through the school gives students a powerful outlet to enact change both globally and within their community. If we remove the ability for students to fundraise and speak about the causes that they believe in, the board is practising selectivity, not acceptance.
Ultimately, could this decision do more harm than good?