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Tcdsb and Minister Lecce
in legal troubles

TORONTO – Enough is enough! It was expected that Del Grande would fight back. An Application for Judicial Review (JR) between Michael Del Grande and the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) has been filed in Divisional Court. Understandably, it took a while to materialize in its final version.

In its reading, it resembles a thin veil pulled back that reveals the governance rot beneath the surface that has been afflicting Catholic education boards and the TCDSB in particular. It also exposes the perverse – even illegal – meddling by Queen’s Park in areas arguably beyond its jurisdiction.

Whatever one thinks about the merits of Catholic education, the TCDSB has been mired in a bog of confusion about its mission statement and its Constitutional mandate to serve its Catholic ratepayers. The trustees do not appear to know why they are in office or which master to serve. Their charges, our children, seem rarely to enter into their decisional calculations.

Corriere Canadese has been following, and critiquing, almost all of the “deliberations” of the Board for the better part of seven years. It is an organization in desperate need of committed leadership.

The Application for Judicial Review reads like an anatomy of why this is so. Time will tell if a Judge to be assigned the case will have the courage or the “competence” to decide accordingly.

First, he/she will have to sort out the internal procedural mess that trustees and Staff created in their vengeful, often vicious (in the perception of this writer) pursuit of one of their own. Legal Counsel to Trustee Del Grande’s application itemizes no less than 61 examples of a perversion of purpose and authority motivated by a seemingly singular objective of “sticking it to” the plaintiff. He backs everything up with references to sixteen statutes and doctrines of law.

Second, that Justice may have to decide if in so doing he/she thinks it an appropriate time to venture into “denominational rights” under the Constitution and kick start a crisis for which surely there is no political appetite or need. The JR claims Del Grande acted continuously and consistently within the parameters of the mandate of the TCDSB and his sworn, solemn, oath of office.

Third, while the Application points to an aggressive, perhaps illegal, overstepping of authority by the Minister, it does not implicate the magisterium and/or its explicit/ implicit obligations, in respect of the Catholic doctrines that validate the education system, to the over 90,000 students under its aegis, in Toronto alone.

How did we get to this stage? Corriere Canadese has documented its on-going observations: four anti-Catholic trustees (at least one of them ineligible as an elector); a rogue teacher in the system; a gadfly activist; a post graduate student, and lately a city councillor with no material interest in the issue.

That appears to be the composition of the group driving the personal and religious hatred that eventually led to the JR.

Who will pay for the unravelling of this imbroglio? From the defense point of view (TCDSB) the costs will be borne by Catholic ratepayers in Toronto. Shadowy figures behind the above may escape “scot-free”.

Irony of ironies, the TCDSB appears to have hired as its legal counsel a firm specializing in servicing a group determined to eliminate the Catholic system.

Del Grande will have to fund raise to cover his own expenses.

Finally, first indications are that the Government of Ontario, which has “deep pockets” (our taxes), will attempt to extricate the Minister of Education from the Judicial Review. It is not an issue that will disappear tomorrow.

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