Labor Board Rejects Catholic Appeal Over Closing of School
PRINCE GEORGE, British Columbia, Apr. 4, 01
(CWNews.com/LSN.ca) - The British Columbia Labor Relations
Board (LRB) has rejected an appeal to a September 2000
decision, saying that Bishop Gerald Wiesner of Prince
George was wrong in closing down a school after a conflict
with teachers over adherence to the Catholic faith.
After the teachers of the Catholic school joined the BC
Government Employees Union, the union rejected the bishop's
right to remove a teacher for failing to uphold Catholic
teaching on issues including abortion, homosexuality, and
divorce. When the union refused to budge, the bishop closed
the independent school, which is 50 percent government
funded. While the labor board ruling did not insist that
the school be reopened, it said that the teachers must be
compensated for their loss of employment.
Ted West, superintendent of schools for the northern
diocese, hinted that the socialist provincial government
may be in some way responsible for the anti-Catholic
decision. West told the BC Catholic that the past 10 years
under the present government have been "difficult ones for
our schools," and that the diocese looks forward to better
days under a new government.
The diocese is likely to appeal the new decision to higher
courts and has previously indicated a readiness to take the
case to the Supreme Court if necessary. Following the 2000
LRB ruling, West said it imperils the province's 75
Catholic schools and hundreds of other religious
independent schools. "All Catholic and Christian schools
throughout the province will be unable to carry forward
their mission in the light of this development," he said.
He also noted that if the Church cannot mandate the
religious practices of her teachers there is no point in
the Church running her own schools.
April 5, 2001
volume 12, no. 95
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