While many provinces are liberalizing laws on land-based and Internet gambling in Canada, Alberta won’t be following suit if one high-ranking religious figure in Edmonton has his way. Edmonton archbishop Richard Smith yesterday ordered that all Catholic schools and organizations in his diocese would hereby be banned from accepting funds from gambling-related activities or programs.
Taking a 180-degree view in opposition to loosening Canadian gambling laws, the archbishop stated that his position was “an issue of morality” for modern Catholics. Though the ban had actually first been written up in 2007, the order was not publicly announced until yesterday and will go into full effect on October 1.
The Edmonton Catholic School Board receives some $3 million in funding from sources such as the Alberta Lottery Fund. Board spokesman Lori Nagy was quoted in local media as stating that “This funding is critical for our schools. It pays not only for field trips and for technology, [but] perhaps even more importantly, it pays for breakfast and hot lunch programs in our schools that we know thousands of children would do without if we didn’t have this funding available.”
Some members of the board will be meeting with the archbishop on October 5.