English Articles

Theatre of the absurd
at YCDSB, part two

TORONTO – A Look at the picture below and ask yourself whether this school board meeting is a cause to laugh or to cry. Trustee Jennifer Wigston, elected by the cerebral elite among Catholic ratepayers in Woodbridge, Wards 3 and 4, manifests her interest in the “affairs concerning Catholic education” (sarcasm intended).

Every year, before the end of November, all school boards must “renew” the executive of its governing structure. That does not include its CEO, the Director, who is responsible for the day-to-day “operations” of the board.

He has been busy since at least the beginning of 2022 “navigating” allegations of “discrimination” (hatred is the mot du jour) by one trustee, Theresa McNicol, against some of the others (ethnic Italians). He also orchestrates calls to the local police station for armed support when parents come to defend the interest of their children against radical activists funded by the local unit of OECTA (the teachers’ union) – as happened at least four times between January and June.

Note the dates. Take a deep breath. Continue reading. Try not to cry.

The YCDSB has total annual revenues of about $ 663 million; is entrusted with the education, according to Catholic values, of approximately 50,000 students, in 101 schools, employing circa 5,000 teaching personnel for that purpose. Most of them pay annual union dues to OECTA.

On Monday, November 20, ten trustees of the Board met to determine who among them should be the next Chair, as of December 1 (for 2023-2024): five of them, supporters of the hater above (found to be so by an independent investigator), five others (a black man, the duly elected Chair, Frank Alexander, and four ethnic Italians) favouring the incumbent.

The hater had threatened lawsuits against the Board unless the sanctions against her were lessened or withdrawn. On October 26, they were diminished such that she was able to vote on November 20.

Further, on the day of November 17, OECTA (which has no Constitutional rights for education) filed a lawsuit with the Human Rights Tribunal against Frank Alexander. To this observer, the relationship at Board meetings between these employees and some trustees, especially Wigston, suffered from lack of professionalism.

Suspiciously, Gillian Tuck Kutarna, a partner in the law firm Miller Thomson, responsible for tallying ten ballots, somehow erred in the calculation and declared trustee Crowe the victor over Alexander. The “error” was only discovered after the meeting adjourned with some trustees, in a private meeting. A “redo” was set for November 22.

At the start of the meeting, Kutarna acknowledged “the error” and that she was “a part of” that error. I did not hear an apology or an explanation of who else was part of that error. A second lawyer, Melissa Eldrige, formerly in-house lawyer at Toronto Catholic District School Board, now with BLG, replaced her as chief returning officer for the vote… involving ten ballots.

No one thought to provide scrutineers. Crowe missed a second opportunity to withdraw her candidacy. It took 25 minutes before Eldrige could say she counted a tie vote. The charade continued for another attempt.

Eldrige’s clock continued to tick, as they say. Same result. Wigston kept knitting. Then, “they drew straws”.

A motion was passed almost immediately after the announcement requiring the Board to write the chief of police in York requesting an investigation into any misfeasance and other irregularities, like breach of trust, associated with the meeting of November 20. Things do not augur well.

The pic is a screenshot from the video of the meeting published by YCDSB

READ THE PREVIOUS ARTICLE HERE: A botched Coup attempt at York Catholic District School Board: what an embarrassment


More Articles by the Same Author: