Reserving the right to rescind

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The Liberals may rescind Bill 29. Can we rescind the Tobin referendum? On July 31, 1997, a snap decision by then premier Brian Tobin called for a referendum on Sept 2. The referendum violated many democratic ideals.

On July 26, The Telegram reported that this province was in fourth place among crime centres in Canada — a big shift since Tobin changed education. The removal of the cross from St. Matthew’s Elementary in St. John’s required just one anonymous person. Students in Catholic and independent schools can enter government competitions but can’t take the prize. Catholic and independent schools are not eligible for free text books in one of Canada’s richest provinces.

A 32-day notice for a referendum is disrespectful of democratic ideals. The mandate for both referendums was suspicious and anti-democratic. The savings from abolishing minority rights are grossly exaggerated.

Tobin’s question and its logical conclusion is a masterpiece in deception. Ottawa has mandated that the separation question in Quebec be crystal clear. Why wasn’t Tobin’s question subject to the same rigour?

The Supreme Court heard the case of the fly in the bottle but refused to hear the Newfoundland case, despite thousands of names on various petitions.

Tobin would not allow scrutineers. A petition to rescind the Tobin regime could have more substance than a referendum without scrutineers — a cornerstone of our democratic system.


Garry Bambrick

St. John’s

Organizations: The Telegram, Supreme Court

Geographic location: Canada, Ottawa, Quebec Newfoundland

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Recent comments

  • Doug Smith
    August 21, 2013 - 21:44

    The ending of denominational education in NL by former premier Brian Tobin can rightfully be called the greatest achievement for the promotion of freedom of thought in the province’s history. No longer would children be subjected to vile religious propaganda. I’m somewhat surprised by people like Mr. Bambrick who want the tax payer to fund schools where their brand of retrograde religious ideas would be espoused. If they believe in their religion so much then there is nothing stopping them from funding their own private schools with their own private money. I don’t want any of my tax dollars going to support or promote religion in any way, shape or form. Doug Smith, Grand Falls-Windsor

  • Saying No To Apartheid
    August 21, 2013 - 08:56

    Mr. Bambrick, the denominational education system in NL was just as discriminatory as the policy of apartheid in South Africa was. It gave each religion the opportunity to promote itself and its followers as being superior to all others. At least two religious organizations took that position publically. The majority voted against the demonational system and ended the process that allowed a religion to promote its superiority by using taxpayers dollars. I say thank you Mr. Tobin for allowing citizens to exercise their democratic right. While I have some issues with the way our elected official spend tax dollars, I am forever grateful that I don't have to sit and watch some religious leader tell me my money will be spent on his superior system and its followers. If you think our current crime rate is due to the ending of the denominational system take a look at countries or regions where religious segregation, separation, superiority prevails.