Duelling Perspectives on Religious Schools

This letter I wrote about funding for religious schools was published in the Vancouver Sun.

Re: Should the public fund religious schools?, Oct. 31

The question posed by columnist Douglas Todd — Should the public fund religious schools?”– is the wrong question and leads to false conclusions.

The questions ought to be, Should parents be able to send children to a school of their choosing with the money the government seizes as taxation? And why is government running any school system?

Let parents direct the money they earn to a quality school in an independent educational marketplace and end the government tax-monopoly.

Marc Emery

Leader, BC Marijuana Party, North Fraser Pretrial Centre,

Port Coquitlam

Marc Emery
Marc Emery

Marc Emery is a Canadian cannabis activist, entrepreneur, and politician. Known to his fans as the Prince of Pot, Emery has been a notable advocate of international cannabis policy reform for decades. Marc is the founding publisher of Cannabis Culture and Pot TV.



  1. jodie on

    You’re right — Sandra was the teacher and owner of the school, and Marc learned a lot over the 8 years the school operated when he was her partner (it ran longer than that, too). Marc fought for homeschooling rights with his next partner Deb.

  2. jodie on

    As told over the phone:

    What I’m advocating is choice, freedom and diversity in education as I do similarly for cannabis law reform. All people living in British Columbia deserve what was promised in the 2001 BC marijuana party campaign of “Choices, Options and Tolerance”, no matter what the government program.

    To that end the government should merely act as an intermediary between the tax paying parents and the school. People on these comment forums think that freedom and choice is a far worse paradigm then monopoly and conformity. In a free open market in schools, parents could direct their tax money to a Montesorri school, Waldorf school, science school, art school, technology school, Muslim school, Christan school, Jewish school, athletic school – a qualified school of any number of different kinds. There would be schools in little houses for 20 children and there could be big campus for schools of 3000 students.

    There would be teacher co-op schools, where the teachers equally own the school. There would be parent teacher schools where the schools run by non-profit societies, and schools and for profit. Schools of all sorts where every child would attend a school of their parents choosing.

    The money to pay for these schools would still be collected from taxation, but instead of the government directing where it goes, the parent would direct their portion (through a voucher, to the school of their choice). As to some of the critics saying “my tax money should not go to the schools of lies” — that is my point exactly. In a free system of choice, each person who pays taxes will direct that money to the school or school system they agree with. No one will be funding a system they are apposed to.

    And then there was this so-called libertarian anonymous posters that said a “few could afford the good schools”, but in the current system the poor surly get the worst schools, now don’t they — the rich always have access to the best schools. What we need to do is create a competitive environment for the ordinary family so they get more of the control through a voucher to the school of their choice.

    As a leader of a provincial party and with experience in educational matters, its important to promote freedom of choice and better opportunity for ordinary tax-payers and citizens in any sphere of government policy, not just drug law reform.

  3. Anonymous on

    I realize that you weren’t even born yet, way back then, but Marc never ran a Montessori school, his ex Sandra owned an operated that school, Marc didn’t have any say in that business.

  4. jodie on

    Marc actually believes in school vouchers (to choose which school your child will go to) and homeschooling, above all else. He ran a Montessori school for some years, too.

  5. Cremater on

    It doesn’t matter if your talking about religious schools, your run of the mill public school, or high cost private schools. They ALL are indoctrination facilities.

    It seems in todays day and age a schools primary goal is to get our young children conditioned to submit to authority without question. Very little of real importance is actually taught in schools anymore.

    Limiting your comment to only religious schools is ingenuous.

  6. Herb on

    He isn’t smoking. : )
    Marc is a “libertarian capitalist”. That’s why he should rename HIS party the Libertarian Party. If it’s the Marijuana Party it should be about marijuana.
    Here, he’s just using cannabis to further his ideological/political vision.

  7. Anonymous on

    As a Libertarian I agree with Mr. Emery on the matter personal freedom, but so few could afford a non-public school system. UBC costs about six thousand dollars every year, but a private Secondary School such as St. George’s costs eighteen thousand. I don’t know about you but I couldn’t have afforded that. Somehow I don’t think Marc is considering the financial difficulties of what he is suggesting.

  8. Anonymous on

    Marc you are completely wrong.

    I would like to see the complete eradication of an education system that incorporates religious brainwashing into the curriculum. Furthermore the segregation only furthers cultural divides in this cultural mosaic we call Canada.

    If you must to have your school teach the lies of the bible then I feel people should be free to pay for that themselves. My tax money should not go to these schools of lies.

    Education, Healthcare, public services and HYDRO AND WATER the roads and universities should all be completely socialized away from the greed machine that is capitialism.

    Every single instance of privatization from Hydro to the 407 highway, has resulted in a shitty deal for the consumers.

    That B.S that it will cause competition is a proven lie. Look at the steady increase in Hydro costs for people.

    I paid 340$ to even get hooked up to Hydro. If I am late on a bill that is 90$ I get charged a 30$ fee? Not only do they have my 90$ already from the 340$ deposit. But 30$ on a 90$ bill is a clear violation of the illegal interest rate of 60% annually. These fees were recently declared interest in a class suit against bell that was settled Januarary 2009.

    I think if people want an American style operation they should move south and bask in all the spender that privatized everything offers.

  9. Anonymous on

    What a great question Marc!

  10. Anonymous on

    I totally agree. I live in Norway, and above everything else the government schools here are about social control. Everyone gets brainwashed with the same moralistic values.

    That is especially problematic for responsible adult cannabis users, of whom I know several who have lied about their cannabis use to their children all their lives. Because all use is defined as abuse by the government control mechanisms that operate under the guise of helping people, many families are destroyed. This is big mother state socialism for you, it doesn’t work and never will. Libertarian socialism mixed with a market economy is the best solution in my opinion.

  11. Anonymous on

    you can’t let the education system be run by private interests or else it will end up like health care in the states, which is its all about the money. if you cant afford to send your kids to the best schools well then ur kids r screwed