Respect Bathurst

June 2001

Bathurst Heights Secondary School in Toronto is being closed. A closing ceremony and final reunion is taking place at the school on Saturday June 23, 2001. A prominent figure in the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, Paul Godfrey, has been invited to be the keynote speaker at the school's closing ceremony. There is a feeling among some of the school's alumni, students and staff that the invitation to Mr. Godfrey is highly inappropriate in view of the fact that he is a key behind-the-scenes figure in the Harris government whose cutbacks in education funding are forcing the school to shut down. We are therefore asking that the invitation to Mr. Godfrey be withdrawn. The text of the petition appears below:

We are writing as current and former students and staff* of Bathurst Heights Secondary School to protest the decision to invite a prominent Progressive Conservative, Paul Godfrey, to be the keynote speaker at the school's closing ceremony.

Bathurst Heights, which has played a vital role in recent years as an important adult education centre, as well as a high school, is being closed because Ontario's Progressive Conservative government has ruthlessly cut education funding in general, and funding for adult education in particular. Paul Godfrey is one of the most influential behind-the-scenes power brokers in the Harris government. As such, he is deeply complicit in this government's destructive policies, of which the closing of Bathurst Heights is one deplorable example.

The Harris government stated early in its tenure that it intended to throw the public education system into crisis, and it has followed through on that threat. Its ill-conceived restructuring and funding cuts have resulted in chaos and have undercut the basic principles of public education. Schools which serve less affluent communities and programs which offer adult education are being callously cut in order to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy and subsidies for private schools. The Bathurst Heights community is one of those being forced to pay the price of these policies.

Inviting a prominent member of the Progressive Conservative party like Paul Godfrey to commemorate the history of a school being shut down by his party's policies is not merely inappropriate, but offensive to the community which is being harmed by these damaging cutbacks. Through its actions, Mr. Godfrey's party has shown itself to be hostile to the public education system as a whole, and to adult education in particular, and indifferent to those for whom educational opportunity means the possibility of a better future.

We therefore ask that the invitation to Paul Godfrey be withdrawn.

Signers as of June 6:

This list will be updated as more signatures are added to the petition.

Ulli Diemer
Miriam Garfinkle, MD
David Chapkin, London, England
Peter Matilainen, Edmonton
Howard Stein, Ph.D., Professor of Economics, Roosevelt University
Glen Horenblas
Gary Waters
Sherry Bader
Barbara Carbone
Darlene Andrews
Stephen Arod Shirreffs, Ph.D.
Joel Lexchin, MD
Lori Bull (nee Short), Kibbutz Shamir, Israel
Robin Rosen Silver
Errol Young, Former Trustee Downsview/CWJ
Ruth Cohen
Ruven Wilson, Past President of Bathurst Heights Student Council, 2000-2001
Roberto Cerda
Alexander Cerda
Lester Cerda
Luis Cerda
Kham Phothirath
Pons Phothirath
Dave Clouston
Antony Smith
Daljit Dhamrait
Ronald James
Sean Sinclair
Shaleem Khan
Sherri Rosen
Carol (Garfinkle) Shani, Israel (Class of 1965)
Rod Adams
Karen Rosen
Judith Johnson
Elizabeth Coelho, former teacher, District Co-ordinator, English as a Second Language and English Literacy Development, Toronto District School Board
Brian Short
Mike Sterling
Patti Hinton (formerly Longarini)
Diane Garfinkle
Peter Dorfman, never graduated
Michelle Flecker, presently Literacy Teacher at Bathurst Heights
Nancy Morgan, Math Teacher, Bathurst Heights
Kerre Briggs (class of 1996)
Olivia Hawrish Morose (graduated 1961)
Robert Peter Morose


Background Information about Current Education Issues and about the Harris Government.

People for Education

Board Watch News

Toronto Adult Student Association

Toronto Parent Network

Friends of Public Education

Public Education on the Block: A Straight Goods Forum

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

New Democracy

The Reason I Joined This Program.... Report of the Learner Goals Database Project

Ontario Teens for Our Education

Profile of Paul Godfrey from Report on Business Magazine

Breakfast with the big boys: Eye magazine article on the power brokers behind Mel Lastman

Tories Tipped the Odds in Ontario Election: An analysis of campaign financing

onnexions Information Sharing Services