TORONTO - It had no other choice. An ill-conceived Motion to censure the Corriere for articles published about a School Board (Catholic) over which a City Council has NO jurisdiction was withdrawn - amended as a face-saving exercise. The amended version (here below) was accepted unanimously, including its “mover” and her cabal.
That didn’t stop her from taking almost immediately to Twitter to declare victory. She and her colleagues will have learned that Corriere Canadese takes its role of informing the public seriously. Council’s original Motion sought to silence the Corriere.
Even with the constraints imposed by shortage of economic resources, Corriere Canadese provides a product that reflects the Italian culture of its readership and their adherence to factbased decision-making, a process that is often multi-layered.
In Canada’s democratic environment, even politicians must the division of powers, due process and the rule of law. Regrettably, some elected officials and twitter terrorists find that too difficult a burden to bear. And so, they replace debate with unfounded, drive-by smears in the direction of our newspaper and its publisher, hoping to sway public opinion.
But strident repetition of what we considered libelous, slanderous, defamatory statements does not make those utterings any less untrue.
That left the Corriere with no other choice than to embark on two unpleasant paths. First, after due warnings to cease, desist and retract proved fruitless, Corriere will pursue the recourse left to us – the Courts.
At our own costs, we have registered Statements of Claim, and request for Jury Trial to resolve them, and served them on several Trustees and City Councillors. We will see if they defend themselves with public funds.
Second, Corriere Canadese, as an editorial team, decided to refresh the memory of readers and outside observers as to the genesis of the controversy: the rights of parents to educate their children in an educational environment mandated by our Constitution and supported by both the Education Act and the Human Rights Code.
If elected officials, bureaucrats and twitter warriors choose a different approach, they can. For us, it is about our children. Call us old fashioned. We are still within what the Constitution and the Education Act say is the right of Catholics to their own system of education.
The adherents of the Catholic system presumably prefer the values structure and moral compass promoted by its code – whose leadership is provided by the archbishop (Cardinal). Anyone else, including Catholics, can attend the other state run (Public) system.
Our readership is primarily Catholic in culture, if not in religion. Hence, what happens in school boards is of interest to them and by extension, to the Corriere. For reasons not related to that Catholic ethic, the TCDSB hosts a link to a website whose content considered inappropriate for school aged children, and for a school board to host it – especially one that professes to be Catholic.
We made the difficult decision to publish some of the least objectionable graphic images from that website to better illustrate why. Some found them shocking. The site is geared to young adults aged 16-29. Defenders of the website claim it saves “thousands of lives”, without sourcing the research validating that claim.
No matter. Corriere has never contested its right to exist.
The Corriere simply asked why the TCDSB would host a site whose content is at odds with its legal obligation to parents: to provide their children with a Catholic upbringing.
The answer cannot be “you are a homophobe”. Even City Council realized that. The TDCSB’s trustees still seem confused about their mandate.
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