(update of article first appearing November 14th)
TORONTO - Acting on Minister Lecce’s contentious (it may be a serious overstepping of jurisdictional authority) public demand that the Board release an investigator’s report on the Trustee Del Grande’s Code of Conduct issue, and following heated Board meeting ending at 2:30 am Thursday, November 12, the TCDSB released a redacted copy of a short version of the Report.
The full report is 150 pages long. Minister Lecce initially wanted the complete report – in the interests of transparency and accountability - released to the public.
One week prior to the November 11 meeting, a Toronto daily (not the Corriere Canadese), received a 15-page, confidential, summary of findings. It could only have come from (1) the Minister’s o.ce, (2) any of the 12 Trustees on the Board, (3) Senior Sta. and counsel, (4) the investigator herself or (5) the complainants (LBGTQ2+ radical activists).
One can speculate later. For now, it is simply su.cient to note that the reporter, or copy editors and headline writers, chose to describe the contents as “damning”. It triggered a “feeding frenzy” of negative reporting for Catholic education and Del Grande.
The descriptive wording (damning) does not appear in the version released by TCDSB. Of course, on the expert advice of external counsel E. Roher, of BLG, their Integrity Commissioner (Jeffrey Abrams) and in-house lawyer, P. Matthews, they could have deliberately left it out, or it was never there.
Here is what does appear in the redacted copy (cover page, then pages 11-15): (a) obligations to Catholic education by trustees, (b) investigator’s assurances that she had reviewed the unedited video of the meetings where the alleged violation occurred, (c) her statement that she did in fact speak to Mr. Del Grande, and finally (d) her findings, (i) on fact and (ii) her personal views.
On the Facts: “Mr. Del Grande explained that his comments were an argument ad absurdum and a use of hyperbole in order to make his case; having no evidence to the contrary and finding Mr. Del Grande to be credible on this point, I find this to be true.”
“In reaching this finding, I acknowledge Mr. Del Grande’s evidence that he felt he had the right to provide a Catholic perspective on the amendments. I note that the Trustees’ Code of Conduct specifically states that trustees shall “recognize and rigorously defend the constitutional right of Catholic education.” And… “The Trustees’ Code of Conduct also speaks to the connection between Catholic schools and the teachings and mission of the Church.”
On her personal opinion: based “…not the fact that he opposed the motion, or that he engaged in debate about it [the inclusion of gender specific wording in the TCDSB’s “rights” listing]. In fact, debating the motion would have been squarely within his role as a Board trustee…there were many ways in which Mr. Del Grande could have argued his disagreement with the motion to amend the Code of Conduct without crossing the line into disrespectful rhetoric.”
Just what does crossing the line mean? Is that a reflection of personal bias? At the November 11 meeting, trustees who rely on her judgment shouted interruptions against a very deferential delegation who attempted to read an excerpt from the Catholic catechism regarding the reasons for the Church’s teachings on sexuality.
As for disrespectful language, trustee Rizzo is heard on air berating her supine acolyte trustee Li Preti using the colourful barroom eloquence of “what the F*** are you doing?” with the tone that usually accompanies its expression. In the interests of full transparency and accountability, Corriere Canadese has asked for all 150 pages of the unredacted Report.
A crowdfunding campaign has begun to bring civil proceedings against those involved in this charade: www.wonderwe.com/StandWithMike