Whitehorse Daily Star

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VANIER NAME DROPPED – For the second time in its 49-year existence, a new name will adorn the front of Vanier Catholic Secondary School in Riverdale, it was announced Monday.

Secondary school to receive new name

Following incidents of sexual abuse by its namesake patron, Whitehorse’s Vanier Catholic Secondary School is being renamed – again.

By Whitehorse Star on June 22, 2022

Following incidents of sexual abuse by its namesake patron, Whitehorse’s Vanier Catholic Secondary School is being renamed – again.

“The Government of Yukon and the St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Secondary School Council are pleased to announce ‘St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Secondary School’ as the new name of the school previously known as Vanier Catholic Secondary School,” said a news release from the Yukon government issued Monday afternoon.

Vanier, of course, was a well-known and much-respected figure in the Catholic Church for many years. However, two years ago, it was revealed he sexually abused at least six women.

That has led to an international movement to remove his name and legacy from institutions and facilities such as schools.

The school was named for the Vanier family, according to a government spokesperson, rather than Jean Vanier himself.

According to the news release, “The school council, staff, student body, Diocese of Whitehorse and school community supported changing the school’s name and picked this name after accepting suggestions from students and families.

“The name ‘St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Secondary School’ was chosen because it encompasses the mission and values of the school community.

“The new name embodies the school’s focus on the Catholic faith, respect for the land, animals, natural resources, and social, economic and environmental justice.”

Education Minister Jeanie McLean added, “Yukon schools should reflect the needs and values of the communities they serve.

“I want to thank the St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Secondary School community for working together to find a name that fits their values as a school community.

“This new name will help instill strong connections for students and teachers to their faith and the Yukon’s natural and unique environment,” the minister said.

The St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Secondary School Council added, “We are pleased that with the approval of this name, we can start a new chapter in our school’s journey.

“The selection of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Secondary School embodies the values, ethics and culture of our Catholic school for every member of our community,” the council said.

Bishop Hector Vila of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Whitehorse said Francis of Assisi “gave up a life of prosperity, social standing, and self-interest, and instead found happiness in poverty, serving his neighbour, and devoting himself to God.

“It is my hope that students will be inspired by this humble young man,” Vila said.

This isn’t the first name change for the Duke Street school, which opened in 1973.

It was once named after George Allen Jeckell, an educator, civil servant and political figure in the Yukon.

He served as the territory’s comptroller from 1932 to 1946, and was accordingly the highest-ranked government official in the territory.

A number of years ago, however, historic writings were unearthed which suggested Jeckell held questionable views about Indigenous people which were deemed completely inappropriate for modern times. At that point, the school was renamed after Vanier.

Comments (45)

Up 11 Down 2

Charlie's Aunt on Jun 28, 2022 at 12:48 pm

@ Patti; What are you talking about? Institutions may be tax exempt but individual Catholics, like French people, are subject to income tax and other taxes in same way as everyone else.

Up 3 Down 1

Yukon on Jun 28, 2022 at 11:43 am

@ joeh and contributions by people named Bob is more too, what's your point? Maybe we should build a school that only kids named Bob can attend?

I would probably argue that the amount those two groups draw from the total tax base on a per capita basis is higher than the average Canadian too as they are two special interest groups who get a lot of assistance.

Up 3 Down 9

Patti Eyre on Jun 27, 2022 at 7:01 pm

@joeh you do realize Catholics don’t contribute much of anything to the tax base because they’re tax exempt. Your comment makes me lol.

Up 9 Down 1

Vlad on Jun 27, 2022 at 5:03 pm

@Joeh…please do tell how much “Francophones” contribute as you say. How much did they put into the French albatross of a secondary school? Be interested to know.

Up 9 Down 6

joeh on Jun 27, 2022 at 2:46 pm

@ yukonner...you do realize how much "Francophones" and " Catholics" contribute to the tax base right? Annual contributions to the tax payer base from either group in Canada is higher than all contributions from all Yukoners together for all of time. lol

Up 6 Down 4

DA on Jun 27, 2022 at 9:02 am

"St. Francis of Assisi" is a bit of a mouthful...

Up 15 Down 3

Yukoner on Jun 27, 2022 at 7:50 am

@Anie you do realize that Catholics didn't build Vanier, the same way Francophones didn't build any of the French schools that exist; tax payers did. If you start building a school for every interest group there is literally a hit to tax payers; they are the ones building it. Public schools are that, public they should be available to all, there shouldn't be a screening system to determine if you are religious or French enough to attend.

Religion has caused enough problems in the world; time to stop using tax payers money to further indoctrination.

Up 8 Down 9

Liberals in La La Land on Jun 26, 2022 at 10:21 pm

In response to North_of_60 on Jun 24, 2022 at 6:44 pm:

But for the absence of evidence of his “card carrying” membership status what would you offer as proof to the contrary, that he was not a card carrying member? His behaviours were definitely Communistic as were his intellect, his values, and his moral perspective. The man was a nut bar but popular with what were referred at the time as “the ladies”.

Trudeau Senior was deported from the USA for attempting to paddle to Cuba from Florida. Many thousands had died in the ocean fleeing the oppression of communist Cuba but here our once fearless leader fled democracy to embrace and absorb himself into the communist mindset in Cuba. Yah, there might not be any evidence of a “membership card” but there is certainly a lot of evidence to say that Pierre and his son are Communists… The religion of all to replace all religions…

“Trudeau is not the first Canadian prime minister to heap praise on Communist China and its authoritarian leaders. A previous prime minister swung Canada far to the ideological left. He downplayed the importance of free enterprise and private property rights, and sought to implement his vision of a “just society.” He annihilated the role of Christianity in Canada, and he became famous for initiating the multicultural experiment that seeks to turn Canada into an ethnic representation of the world. By the time this man left office, he had taken a virtually debt-free country to the edge of bankruptcy.

This prime minister also invoked Canada’s War Measures Act and suspended the Canadian Bill of Rights during peacetime. He claimed the power of censorship and initiated search without warrant and arrest without trial.
He became Canada’s third-longest serving leader. And Canada’s only dictator.

This man was Justin’s father: Pierre Elliot Trudeau.

Almost 30 years ago, the elder Trudeau was asked his views on democracy and communism. He replied that under certain conditions, a one-party state would be the ideal government. “I wouldn’t be prepared to think I would be successful in arguing that for Canada at the present time,” he said. “But such times might come, who knows?” To say Pierre Elliot Trudeau admired communism would be an understatement.”

I do not think hyperbolic is the right word. It is an unfair description of Pierre Trudeau’s love for and integration of communist values into Canadian society. If you’re part of the Communist Party you don’t need a card:

“Justin Trudeau’s mother recounted how Castro would get drool marks on his shirts while pacifying the younger Trudeau boys on his shoulder during the family’s visits to Cuba. A Canadian ambassador to Cuba said that Pierre Trudeau and Fidel Castro were fast friends and “intellectual soul mates.”

Pierre Trudeau had a penchant for studying Communist tactics up close and firsthand. He hated the wars of ‘Western imperialists’ but Communist wars were just fine.“

The Trudeau’s are dyed in the wool communists looking to turn citizens into comrades. While I respect your opinion and your right to have one, I find that in this instance, it is a tad minimizing of the consequent reality, the erosion of democracy… Why is this not first and foremost in the minds of all Canadians? What dark psychology voodoo inducing psychoactive stimulant are you people smoking?

Up 12 Down 4

Guncache on Jun 26, 2022 at 7:31 pm

STOP. Don't make a sign with the new name yet. I'm offended

Up 6 Down 6

Anie on Jun 26, 2022 at 9:03 am

Yukoner - actually, yes, So long as we are funding some separate schools then we should fund all, so if the Muslim community decides to build a school, yes we should fund it. There is no hit to the taxpayer, the school gets the equivalent per student that would be expensed for public school. In my own opinion, all schools should be public. But that's not the way the majority want it to be.

Up 21 Down 5

drum on Jun 25, 2022 at 7:28 pm

Things are completelly out of hand.
First Nations Tradional Lands - does that mean they own the whole of the Yukon now under a Liberal regime?

Up 14 Down 5

North_of_60 on Jun 24, 2022 at 6:44 pm

The reference to "card carrying member of the Communist Party of Canada Pierre Elliott Trudeau" is a bit hyperbolic. Nonetheless, the well documented facts clearly show that PET was an avowed communist sympathizer who championed Marxism and communism as ideal governments and advocated for socialism as the path to his communist ideals.
CANADA - How The Communists Took Control by Alan Stang
April 1971

Up 18 Down 6

Yukoner on Jun 24, 2022 at 4:46 pm

@bonanzajoe It's called separation of church and state.. yes Catholic people pay taxes too, but so do Buddhists, Muslims, etc., and I'm sure you wouldn't get behind a Muslim school. And moral perspective from Catholics sounds a little rich.

Up 8 Down 5

Dan Davidson on Jun 24, 2022 at 3:34 pm

bonanzajoe: I can't find any support for your "card carrying member of the Communist Party of Canada Pierre Elliott Trudeau" claim. What's your reference? This seems unlikely for someone who "As a university student .... joined the Canadian Officers' Training Corps (COTC)" He did later begin "an (unfinished) dissertation ... on the topic of communism and Christianity"

Up 20 Down 2

Groucho d'North on Jun 24, 2022 at 9:58 am

I suspect if you dig deep enough and intrepret what you find as you want to, just about anybody has some history for others to take offence to. During the month of June I watched a number of excellent programs on Aboriginal history in Canada. One that stood out for me was a production on Cowichan Chief Tzouhalem, who had some nasty habits that would be considered violent and criminal today. There are no movements or campaigns to change the name of the mountain named for him as well as roads and some social groups in the region. As suggested below, stop using names of individuals for these buildings and be generic. Remember when there was a push a few years back from the Liberals to rename Mount Logan in honor of the senior Trudeau? Crisis averted.

Up 24 Down 15

Woodcutter on Jun 23, 2022 at 9:42 pm

I've always found it reprehensible that religious organizations operate educational facilities. They should be an outright ban on this practice as it breeds extremist and waste time on religious education. Like dude, i learned the bible in Sunday school, it's not that complex of a story, why you need waste 12 years of school to tell the same story over and over?

Why not spend the time on science, it's like magic but real.

Up 14 Down 0

Nell Fenwick on Jun 23, 2022 at 9:05 pm

The apostle of humility. That's setting the bar awfully high. I'm betting kids will shorten it to "Assisi" and make a pun out of it.

Up 12 Down 22

bonanzajoe on Jun 23, 2022 at 9:00 pm

@Yukoner. "no reason why public money should be funding religious schools." Why not, at least they have a moral perspective. And religious people pay taxes too.

Up 13 Down 15

bonanzajoe on Jun 23, 2022 at 8:57 pm

@Dan Davidson. What about the card carrying member of the Communist Party of Canada Pierre Elliott Trudeau who single handedly Communistized the Liberal Party of Canada. They even named an Airport after him.

Up 7 Down 4

bonanzajoe on Jun 23, 2022 at 8:51 pm

@Ted Parkinson on Jun 22. Then, there's always Jughead High.

Up 0 Down 6

bonanzajoe on Jun 23, 2022 at 8:49 pm

@We don’t need no education on Jun 22,". Your comment proves that you do.

Up 4 Down 14

Nathan Living on Jun 23, 2022 at 5:46 pm

I like the name 4S or Sandy Silver Secondary School.

Up 19 Down 7

Davis on Jun 23, 2022 at 5:33 pm

Seems crazy to me that we still have publicly funded religious schools!

Up 11 Down 4

You don't believe those women? on Jun 23, 2022 at 4:58 pm

It's hardly as if the accusations against Vanier were the first time a priest, lay brother, or other figures in the hierarchy of the Church were the first. Ugh - all over the world, in almost every diocese. @Pierre, I am Catholic and always will be, but I am ashamed that the Church I believed in could be so callous and downright evil when it came to these women and children.

Up 17 Down 6

Yukoner on Jun 23, 2022 at 4:55 pm

@Anie if it has very little to do with religion then just remove it. Creating streams for certain groups is a problem. We have long pandered too much to religions which often have caused just as much bad as good.

Tax dollars should not be spent on it, churches already get a great deal where they don't have to pay any.

Up 16 Down 16

Anie on Jun 23, 2022 at 3:45 pm

To those who question funding religion based schools - the per student funding is the equivalent of what the govt would have paid if that student was at a public school. So there is no additional cost. And let's be honest - for whatever reason people choose to send their kids to catholic schools, it has very little to do with religion. It's more likely convenient location or the unproven theory that religion based schools have better discipline or academic achievements. Way back in the dark ages when I went to catholic school, parents thought the discipline would be better for their unwieldy offspring who were expelled from public high schools - and as a result, our population of juvenile delinquents probably exceeded the norm.

Up 20 Down 5

Anie on Jun 23, 2022 at 3:37 pm

Wilf, you have accused the Premier of "looting senior Canada and old age pension". That's a pretty steep accomplishment for a Yukon Premier, or any provincial Premier. I think that you should tell us how you reached that conclusion.

Up 48 Down 15

Heathen Protestant on Jun 23, 2022 at 11:29 am

The better question arising from this is why are there publicly funded catholic schools in the Yukon or Canada for that matter? Public funding of religious institutions is a relic of a bygone era.

Up 30 Down 21

Wilf Carter on Jun 23, 2022 at 8:46 am

The name doesn't mean anything it is the system and people in it. Both of our kids went there and got a great education. I am sure our Premier who went to SFX will fix it like he fixed gas tax, creating inflation, looting senior Canada and old age pension, not developing any land for housing, not supporting Yukoners for Yukon jobs, no training for admin, accounting, financed jobs in public services, etc.

Up 18 Down 12

BigJay on Jun 23, 2022 at 8:29 am

Pierre: The allegations came out after Vanier died. The authorities do not pursue criminal cases against the deceased. So your comment does not make a whole lot of sense, you see?

Up 14 Down 5

Steven on Jun 23, 2022 at 7:44 am

Pierre - Now, I'm not Catholic at all however, even I understand the process one has to go through to become a Saint. It's not just an overnight thing: https://www.ewtn.com/catholicism/library/process-of-beatification-and-canonization-13747

So, ok, Pierre, please start your investigation into St. Francis. Let us all know what you dig up. ~insert eye roll~ I'll get you started: https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=50

Up 18 Down 14

Good move on Jun 23, 2022 at 5:08 am

If the Catholic school system insists on naming schools after people, St Francis is a good choice. He's been dead for 800 years, so it's not likely any abuse of children or women will come to light. And @Pierre - 'cancel culture'? Really? Would you prefer that people just stay quiet, like they have done for generations?

Up 22 Down 21

We don’t need no education on Jun 22, 2022 at 10:41 pm

I am sick to my stomach thinking about what Frederick H Collins might have done. I heard “he” was a white dude in charge of overseeing the Residential School(s) in the Yukon as the federal representative for the Yukon…

Curious, that a school remains named after someone who authoritatively participated in the Residential School system’s cultural genocide of the First Peoples… Nice… But

Up 45 Down 13

Max Mack on Jun 22, 2022 at 9:46 pm

Jean Vanier has not had any opportunity to challenge the allegations of which he is accused in any court of law. His "guilt" was solely established by an "internal" review by L'Arche International, which was carried out by GCPS Consulting.

Against a backdrop of #MeToo, #BelieveAllWomen, widespread anti-Catholic hostility, an activist consulting group, and possibly even Vanier's adversaries within L'Arche and the RCC, was the internal review anything more than a kangaroo court with a pre-determined outcome?

To be clear, Vanier was not accused of rape. His "misconduct" seemed to stem from his role as spiritual advisor.
I am somewhat dismayed at how easily the media perpetuates serious and unproven claims as fact.

Up 23 Down 3

Rick S on Jun 22, 2022 at 8:42 pm

I've heard it sung in old bard tales this Francis of Assisi was a regular at dingy Italian brothels.

Up 10 Down 6

bonanzajoe on Jun 22, 2022 at 8:29 pm

@Ridiculous on Jun 22, Give it time, they'll come up with something.

Up 45 Down 16

Yukoner on Jun 22, 2022 at 8:21 pm

Time to lose the Catholic.. no reason why public money should be funding religious schools.

Up 15 Down 6

Dan Davidson on Jun 22, 2022 at 7:53 pm

to Pierre: The allegations were confirmed In February 2020, an internal report by L'Arche concluded that Vanier sexually abused six women in Trosly-Breuil, France, between 1970 and 2005.
You DO know who St. Francis was, yes?

Up 38 Down 4

Dan Davidson on Jun 22, 2022 at 7:45 pm

Prior to becoming Vanier, the school spent several years as Riverdale Junior-Secondary. Might have been wiser to just leave it that way.

Up 34 Down 3

Ted Parkinson on Jun 22, 2022 at 6:46 pm

Yes, "Riverdale High" with the patron saint: Archie Andrews!

Up 33 Down 5

Dominic Gibson on Jun 22, 2022 at 6:30 pm

I would be personally amazed if any of the school "council" know exactly what the "values, ethics and culture" of the Catholic Church actually are. They are certainly not something to be taken, or taken on, lightly, and they are not supposed to be seen and used as a sound-bite to be lived up to or, more than likely, have a blind eye turned to, as and when they become inconvenient, or too difficult to follow, because we'd much more prefer to be trendy, and, apparently, "woke"...a stupid term, for an even more dangerous way of looking at society.

Up 14 Down 14

Dan Davidson on Jun 22, 2022 at 6:19 pm

Pierre: Since the allegations were made by his namesake society we should probably take them seriously.

Up 68 Down 42

Pierre on Jun 22, 2022 at 4:18 pm

"Vanier, of course, was a well-known and much-respected figure in the Catholic Church for many years. However, two years ago, it was revealed he sexually abused at least six women"....Exactly where are these allegations in the criminal courts? Or is this another one of those "Cancel Culture" targets? Has anybody dug deep on this St. Francis fellow...will there be allegations down the road.. say in 20 years when they will have to rename it..perhaps St. Snowflake?

Up 79 Down 7

Ridiculous on Jun 22, 2022 at 4:02 pm

Can we just change it to Riverdale High School? Everything is getting so ridiculous. I’m sure this new namesake with also offend many in some way.

Up 119 Down 7

Seriously. on Jun 22, 2022 at 3:52 pm

Stop naming things after people. Whitehorse Catholic Secondary School should do just fine.

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