Questions about Rizzo's legitimacy as trustee at TCDSB

di Joe Volpe del December 15, 2020

TORONTO - Yesterday, we provided a simple analysis of the facts relating to the latest assault on the Catholic ethic in our Schools System. Whether people like it or not, Catholics – still the largest single religious group in the country and the province – hold some hard-won Constitutional rights in Education by virtue of their contribution to the creation and development of our Confederation.

Those rights, exercised differently, are available to all non-Catholics in the Public School system. In this regard, just to make one thing clear, the Law requires that to be one or the other, a citizen wishing to register a child, in one or the other system, must provide proof of tax support to that system.

There may be some exceptions. These are resolved on appeal with documentation. Generally, one is a Catholic school supporter if one’s property or residential rental agreement is listed for assessment as a separate school supporter. Only those “supporters” have the legislative, constitutional right to run for elected office on Catholic boards (and to seek the approval of the local bishop) to effect decisions consistent with the constitutional mandate enshrined in Section 93 of the Constitution Act, 1867 and reaffirmed in 1982.

Trustee Maria Rizzo appears to disqualify herself as a Catholic School Supporter on several counts. First, the last three addresses in which she lives or has lived are all listed as being owned by an EP (English Public school) supporter. They include her current address in Springwater, bought in 2016 and co-owned with her husband. This is not a summer cottage; she refers to it as her “house”. It is not in the electoral jurisdiction of the TCDSB (in the pic, Maria Rizzo's residence in Wasaga Beach).

The address which she listed as her home address prior to, and including the election year 2018, is owned by someone with a Rizzo last name, but not her. The owner was also registered as Public School supporter. That changed in 2019 and 2020. What did not change is the absence of a registered rental agreement attesting to her determination to be a Catholic School supporter.

Second, the evidence our researcher obtained from the town of Springwater, the Toronto Municipal Elections Office and City Planning and Assessment suggests strongly that Rizzo was ineligible to seek office in 2018 (or 2014 for that matter).

The Municipal Elections Act demands that candidates who meet the qualifying criteria to run for office must, if elected, remain qualified for the duration of the term, as does the Education Act, sec. 236, (1) (2).

Rizzo moved to Springwater in 2016. She should have resigned at that point (in the pics, Maria Rizzo's residence in Toronto and the document we found).

Third, as “evidence” of the qualifications she was required to meet under the Education Act, section 236. (2) she presented a standard form signed only by her, without any corroborating documentation. The Clerk accepted her nomination, no doubt trusting in the “honour system”.

Fourth – and this speaks to “character” – she and her crew swore obeisance to the magisterium’s (Bishop) guidance on Catholic ethic (and confirmed as recently as November 28) then proceeded to introduce cultural values inimical to that ethic; fraudulently so, as per the Human Rights Code, the Education Act and the Constitution. In the process, they turned one of their colleagues who defends that ethic as a “proxy punching bag”.

On Wednesday, December 16, 2020, she and her gang of four will lead the Board in consideration of an appeal by trustee Del Grande to rescind an illegal decision visited upon him regarding an issue on trustee code of conduct.

If an independent audit confirms the above facts, the TCDSB may be faced with rescinding all decisions in which she cast a determining vote.

Note: Corriere reached out to the TCDSB and Maria Rizzo following the receipt of an email from torontoschoolboardwatch, a group of concerned catholic parents. The TCDSB handed off the issue to their Integrity Commissioner. We conducted our own research as per above.

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