TORONTO - She tried hard to maintain her composure as she watched her colleagues on the Catholic school board satisfy their political bloodlust with vicious vindictiveness against Trustee Del Grande.
They had opened for reconsideration an earlier decision not to find him in violation of the Trustee Code of Conduct. Then, they voted to find him in contravention for vocabulary the LGBTQ2+ community chose to find offensive. Finally, they imposed sanctions that were so beyond the pale that Nancy Crawford could no longer hold back.
It is all on the record. I felt the need to take a shower after witnessing their behaviour – a hyena-like pack of predators fighting over their wounded prey. It was a sad morning – the bloodshed did not end until 2:30 am.
From a political perspective, it had everything to do with caucus election on November 26, when they will be parcelling their pound of flesh in the form of committee chairmanships and other extra-TCDSB bodies.
From an educational (and Catholic) perspective, the same trustees who swore an oath to uphold and promote Catholic ethic interrupted a delegate to prevent the reading from a Catholic catechism because the language was inappropriate.
If you were watching, you might have wondered whether this was indeed a Catholic board. The malice and viciousness oozing from the interventions of trustees like Rizzo, Li Preti, De Domenico (identified as a bullying misogynist by one delegate), Di Pasquale was palpable.
They must be anticipating legal action because trustee Di Giorgio took pains for 90 minutes to insist on the eligibility of Rizzo to vote to ensure that the meeting and subsequent consequences meet the test of legal scrutiny. He must be aware of corporate director’ liability. The Chair, Joseph Martino, threw up his hands in frustration and called for a break.
In the end, they voted with the pack. Trustee Kennedy, who spilled her “holier than thou” to another publication last week, and Trustee D’Amico, did as well.
Trustees Lubinski and Tanuan, exited the meeting and the debate, citing possession of a Legal opinion sustaining the view that the meeting would violate process and the law. That opinion is one in addition to that expressed by the previous Interim Integrity Commissioner. The current one has a “shrug of shoulder”, not in my mandate approach.
Discussing the merits of the interventions, whose purpose it should have been to inform trustees, is pointless. The “star witness”, Kathleen Wynne, admitted to not having even reviewed a tape of the meeting where the alleged offense, a year ago. Nor had she read the transcripts…but she knew…
Another is an online cyber activist who is part of an organization that will produce online petitions and secure signatures – for a price – from around the world. They were allowed to blather on without anything other than their data-free opinion. The other side by comparison came equipped with material relevant to Toronto, education, and the Toronto Catholic School Board. How naïve.
The Board decided to punish Del Grande with a three-month suspension, among other measures designed to humiliate him. He has fourteen days to appeal the decision, which effectively secures control of the Board in the hands of the pack.
As Nancy Crawford said: “abominable”. A crowdfunding campaign has started to raise funds for a legal challenge to the Board’s actions: www.wonderwe.com/StandWithMike