TORONTO – Hypocrites and gamblers, last night (December 16) Toronto Catholic school trustees told the Archbishop of Toronto, Thomas Cardinal Collins, to “take a hike”. They are hoping no one will notice and no one will care [enough] to do anything about it. They voted 8- 1 (plus three wise recusals) on a Motion to condemn one of their colleagues with malicious, vindictive intent to humiliate and subjugate.
Their target was to drive a stake through the heart of Catholic education. Trustee Nancy Crawford, the singular contrary vote, defined the issue as faith based.
Ironically, on November 28, last month, all twelve trustees acknowledged the primacy of the magisterium (the archbishop) on matters that define Catholicism.
That primacy is at the base of the Constitutional guarantees for Catholic schools, their funding and their right to exist. The Education Act and even the Human Rights Code (HRC) enshrine that relationship.
For those of us who work in a lay person’s world, it means that the religious-cultural freedoms and rights (along with the educational-instructional structures that make them possible) cannot be violated. No School Board group of Trustees can diminish them by setting up a “competitor” set of rules of behaviour that undermine that relationship.
No Trustee Code of Conduct (TCC) authored under the Education Act or the Human Rights Code can trump the obligations of the Province to its Roman Catholic citizens under the Constitution. In other words, no TCC can result in erosion of those rights – no matter how meticulously worded. It is a fundamental rule of Law that one cannot make legal through the back door what is illegal if attempted through the front door.
In government, every proposed legislation and/or change in regulations flowing from those laws must first be reviewed by the Ministry of Justice (and/or of the Attorney General) to ensure that neither impacts negatively on Constitutional rights and duties.
For that reason, as we have pointed out in previous articles, the Education Act specifically prohibits the Minister from doing anything that diminishes Roman Catholic Rights under section 93 of the Constitution Act. For that same reason, under section 19 (1) and (2) of the Human Rights Code the Minister of Justice states that the HRC does not apply to Roman Catholic schools.
When Trustees emerged from Private session last evening, they reported having “received” legal opinion on the only matter at hand. They neither made that opinion public nor debated its merits.
Nor did they reconcile how their decision would impact on the religious teachings demanded by the Catholic Catechism and the Church’s reliance on the Good News Gospel. It is an awkward position for the Cardinal and the Premier.
What those trustees also did not do is explain how one of their colleagues, who appears to be occupying a seat at the Board while in contravention of the law – and is not a Catholic schools supporter in law – was allowed to vote.
The nominal – proxy – object of their venom, Michael Del Grande must surely be contemplating legal action. If he does file for Judicial Review, then we the public will know everything as the issue moves to discovery. No more lurking in the shadows and skullduggery.