The Comment

Catholic Teachers declare war…on Catholic schools and parents (Part I)

TORONTO – Yes, you are reading that correctly. The “employees” hired to educate children ages four to eighteen have decided that they no longer need to abide by duly constituted school boards whose trustees are elected by parents to safeguard the interests of their children.

First, all Law flows from the Constitution – the covenant/contract agreed to by what we call provinces and accepted by the Crown in 1867 and modernized in 1982. Section 93 of that Constitution accords educational responsibilities exclusively to the province, with one particularly important exception for a “founding partner”, Roman Catholics. The recognition and protection of their “denominational rights” as defined by the Magisterium (the Pope when speaking ex cathedra, through the local diocese) are inviolable – no matter how insistent the opposition may be.

Second, subsequent “legislation” in the province (the Education Act, the limits to the Minister’s powers, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Human Rights Code) specifically defer to the denominational rights and to the Magisterium on matters in the curriculum relating to the “cultural environment” in Catholic school boards. There is no coercion involved. In crass sports terms, one can be a fan of the Montreal Canadians, but then they cannot claim to play for the Maple Leafs.

Third, teachers are “players,” hired to provide service according to specific standards established by the Ministry and, if they choose the Catholic Boards, by the Magisterium. They have no standing in the Constitution to set policy. They might be consulted, but they either serve with competence and dedication and negotiate working conditions with appropriate remuneration, or they go elsewhere.

Imagine the pretentious haughtiness of the York Catholic Teachers unit of OECTA in their letter to former Chair trustee Frank Alexander expressing their frustration with him and “certain [other] York CDSB trustees” for daring to exercise the duties and obligations under which they ran for office and which they took an oath to promote. (read it here below)

The letter is laden with innuendo of unacceptable (non-Catholic) behaviour and downright accusations of “hatred, bigotry, homophobia and transphobia” allegedly exhibited by Alexander’s Motion on the flying of flags other than the Canadian, or by his supporters on the Board – all Italian. Mike Totten, the OECTA, York Unit president, refers to the motion as “an affront to the core teachings of Catholicism”. In an interview post meeting of the Board, he called it “underhanded”. Totten and his crew are not the Magisterium; heck, they are not even employees of the Ministry or of Minister Lecce. Yet, he chooses to refer to Alexander’s intentions as “misrepresentations of our faith”.

The Board, in its wisdom, decided to defer the motion (two of them) to a Policy Committee for further study. But Totten’s menacing parting words to Alexander [and his “ally” trustees] “withdraw your proposed … or be prepared to be held accountable for your actions” are by any standards a threat by subordinates to their employer.

Corriere asked Totten, via email and in person on repeated occasions, whether he had consulted with his lawyers prior to sending out his letter, advising him that silence might be interpreted as acquiescence. Silence. Their lawyers from Cavalluzzo Law filed a Defamation Claim with the Human Rights Tribunal against Alexander and the Board.

The “reparations” demanded in that application are overwhelming.

(to be continued…)

The public at Tuesday evening’s meeting at the YCDSB (photo Corriere Canadese) and, from left, Mike Totten (OECTA president, York Unit) and trustee Frank Alexander (photo from Twitter X – @YorkOECTA)

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