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Nursery puts stop to Scientologists staging plays for children

Title: Nursery puts stop to Scientologists staging plays for children
Date: Saturday, 27 July 1985
Publisher: Montreal Gazette
Main source:

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The owner of a Rosemount nursery says he won't allow Church of Scientology members to perform any more plays for the nursery's 30 children.

On Wednesday, two Scientology members presented a 45-minute play — it was about a porcupine who gets lost in the woods — for the children at Le Foyer du Bonheur.

The Scientologists wanted to give the children an encore performance next week, but nursery owner Uri Ravel has quashed the plan:

"I don't want any preaching in a day care," he said. "I don't want the nursery to be associated with any religious belief or religious school."

While there was no religious message in the play, Ravel was annoyed to see the nursery's name mentioned in a Scientology press release.

Scientology members can't understand what the fuss is about:

"We didn't do anything wrong. We just wanted to make people happy, that's all," said Claude Vaillancourt, a Scientologist and kindergarten teacher who performed the play for the children, aged 2½ to 5.

Scientologist official Nicole Crellin said there was no ulterior motive in presenting the play: "If we wanted to recruit people, we'd do something else."

Since joining the church last fall, Vaillancourt has staged five performances for children two — of them at Ste. Justine Hospital.

She said she told the nursery's director, Emmanuel Manos, that she was a Scientologist before perfoming the play.

But Ravel said the nursery was not informed in advance that the performance would be staged by Scientologists. Manos couldn't recall whether he was told in advance.

The Church of Scientology was founded in 1952 by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard.

It has grown into a controversial, multimillion-dollar organization with missions around the world.

Scientology says its aim is to improve the mental health of practitioners and help them to achieve peace of mind and a higher level of awareness.

But it has sparked controversy in Canada and in other countries.

In Toronto last December, 19 former Scientology officials and the church itself were charged with theft of more than $200, possession of stolen documents and breach of trust.

The charges were laid nearly two years after police seized thousands of documents from the Church as part of an investigation into tax exemptions claimed by the church.