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Mike Del Grande, a trustee of the Toronto Catholic District School Board.Lianne Laurence / LifeSiteNews

TORONTO, November 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Ontario’s Conservative education minister is pressuring the Toronto Catholic school board at the request of LGBTQ activists to release a confidential report investigating a code of conduct violation charge against Catholic trustee Michael Del Grande, who was cleared of the charge in August.

Del Grande has been under sustained attack for a year by the LGBTQ lobby — as well as by pro-LGBTQ trustees on the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) — after he defended Catholic teaching during the protracted debate over amending the board’s code of conduct to include the terms “gender identity” and “gender expression” as prohibited grounds for discrimination.

The attack reached a new level last week when lesbian and former Liberal premier Kathleen Wynne raised the matter at Queen’s Park.

Wynne said she received a letter from LGBTQ activist, former Catholic student trustee, and homosexual Kyle Iannuzzi, who remains upset about remarks Del Grande made a year ago during the board meeting where the trustees voted to include the controversial terms.

According to Wynne, Iannuzzi wants the ministry to “intervene in order to secure the release of the report on the homophobic, bigoted behavior and language of trustee Michael Del Grande.”

Progressive-Conservative education minister Stephen Lecce responded by agreeing that Del Grande’s remarks were “deeply disturbing” and said he had urged the TCDSB to investigate.

“And we look forward to accountability for those students who’ve been offended by the comments made by the trustees,” added Lecce.

Furthermore, later that Thursday, Lecce “spoke to the leadership of the board to make clear his expectation that the board would deliver on his initial request: a fulsome investigation, a public release of the investigation’s report, and accountability for this trustee’s actions,” the minister’s spokesperson Caitlin Clark told the Toronto Star.

However, Clark declined to confirm the accuracy of this statement when LifeSiteNews asked her to do so. Instead, she responded that: “Minister Lecce addressed this in the legislature last week. Please refer to his comments from the house.”

Meanwhile, pro-LGBTQ Markus de Domenico tweeted his intention to bring a motion at this Wednesday’s board meeting asking the board to take unprecedented action of releasing the confidential report. He has been quoted in Toronto Star and appeared on City TV.

Notably, former TCDSB chair Maria Rizzo has twice been found guilty of violating the trustee code of conduct, once for a conflict of interest and another for uttering a threat against a union representative, but Lecce has not called for the release of confidential TCDSB reports investigating these allegations.

Similarly, Lecce has not asked the TCDSB to release the confidential report investigating the code of conduct that Taylor Dallin, then a student trustee, brought against Del Grande last December.

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The alleged reason for the continuing attacks against Del Grande is the “hyperbolic” motion he tabled on November 7, 2019, which was ruled out of order, and which he intended to underscore the consequences of amending the code.

Del Grande’s motion asked the board to refer the matter to committee to study whether it should add other aberrant sexual behaviors, such as pedophilia or bestiality, as protected categories under the code of conduct along with “gender identity” and “gender expression,” terms which refer to a view of human sexuality that is incompatible with the Catholic faith.

Campaign Life, Canada’s national pro-life, pro-family political lobby group, is urging supporters to protest this latest attack against Del Grande, who has a Masters in theological studies and a teaching degree, was twice chair of the TCDSB, as well as budget chief for Toronto under the late Mayor Rob Ford.

Jeff Gunnarson, Campaign Life Coalition national president praised Del Grande for defending the faith “as was his moral and fiduciary duty” as a Catholic trustee, and described Wynne’s move — and Lecce’s response to it — as a “political set-up” orchestrated by “the gay-activists who are persecuting Del Grande.”

If the LGBTQ lobby “succeed in having the private TCDSB report released to the public, their next step will be to re-open the closed complaint in which he was found not guilty of Code of Conduct violation, and to force a re-vote,” Gunnarson said in an email to supporters.

He also excoriated the media for spinning Del Grande’s comments out of context.

This “new witch hunt against Del Grande” is designed to “bring so much pressure to bear on him, that he will cave, apologize for defending the faith, and resign,” said Gunnarson.

That was echoed by Joe Volpe, former federal Liberal cabinet minister and publisher of Corriere Canadese, the only Italian-language daily print newspaper in Canada and which has the largest sales of any community print newspaper in the country.

“This is a butcher job on a single citizen,” Volpe told LifeSiteNews in a telephone interview.

“What I dislike about it from a personal point of view, a human point of view, is that somebody is going through all kinds of effort to humiliate, denigrate, and expel a guy because he has defended the position that is the basis for that school board,” said Volpe, who reports regularly on the TCDSB.

“He said some words that they think equates their activity to uncomfortable practices. They haven’t said it’s wrong, they just resent the fact that somebody would call that what it is,” he added.

Volpe blasted Wynne for taking “liberties with somebody else’s reputation by suggesting, implying, and asking people to think that there was something nefarious in that investigator’s report that would otherwise have incriminated this guy.”

He likewise castigated Lecce for his remarks and for pressuring the TCDSB on the matter.

“I don’t have a legal background. But for me, as a private citizen, Stephen Lecce is getting dangerously close to libel and slander by insisting on those things. And…with that kind of action, he is undermining the legitimacy of all of those trustees, senior staff and the Toronto District Catholic School Board,” Volpe said.

“He’s essentially accepted somebody else’s view that the board has somehow done something wrong, after four separate investigations of an issue that’s there in the public domain for everybody to determine whether it’s appropriate or not,” he said.

“I just can’t believe that we’ve reached that level with insanity.”

Moreover, the TCDSB’s handling of the matter is “none of the minister’s business, because it raises issues of Catholicity,” pointed out lawyer Geoff Cauchi.

The right of Catholic schools to teach the faith is guaranteed under the Constitution Act, 1867, Section 93, he told LifeSiteNews.

And while the provincial Education Act gives the ministry the right to investigate and to take over a school board if such an action is deemed warranted, “the statute clearly says those are restricted to financial issues and issues that have nothing to do with the Catholicity of the board and any issues related to Catholic teaching,” Cauchi noted.

“They have no business judging discussions of Catholic teaching among the trustees. It’s absurd that they would interfere in discussions about the Catholic faith at a board meeting.”

Lecce should have brushed off Wynne’s “nonsense” noted Catholic principal and former Catholic school trustee Dan Di Rocco.

The minister “ought to be ashamed of himself for making that the asinine remarks he made in the legislature in response to the matter being raised by the former premier,” he told LifeSiteNews.

Lecce “should have accepted Wynne’s concerns and left it at that, not approving and not giving in any way some hint of, oh yeah, there should be some public censure about this matter,” said Di Rocco.

Campaign Life is asking that people call the TCDSB trustees, Minister Lecce, and Premier Doug Ford to protest “the anti-Christian bigotry and hatred for religion that is on display here.”

It also asks supporters to “request that pressure be brought to bear upon Trustee de Domenico to withdraw his motion to publish the Del Grande report.”

Contact information for respectful communications (calling recommended):

Education Minister Stephen Lecce

Phone: 416-325-2600

Email: [email protected]

 

Premier Doug Ford:

416-325-1941

Email: [email protected]

 

TCDSB trustees:

Joseph Martino, Chair

Ward 1: Etobicoke

Phone: 416-512-3401

E-Mail: [email protected]

 

Markus de Domenico
Ward 2: Etobicoke

Phone: 416-512-3402

E-Mail: [email protected]

 

Ida Li Preti
Ward 3: North York

Phone: 416-512-3403

Phone: 416-222-8282 Ext.2660

 

E-Mail: [email protected]

Teresa Lubinski
Ward 4: Parkdale-High Park, Etobicoke-Lakeshore

Phone: 416-512-3404

E-Mail: [email protected]

 

Maria Rizzo
Ward 5: North York

Phone: 416-512-3405

E-Mail: [email protected]

 

Frank D'Amico, CD
Ward 6: York

Phone: 416-512-3406

E-Mail: [email protected]

 

Michael Del Grande
Ward 7: Scarborough/ North York

Phone: 416-512-3407

E-Mail: [email protected]

 

Garry Tanuan
Ward 8: Scarborough

Phone: 416-512-3408

E-Mail: [email protected]

 

Norm Di Pasquale
Ward 9: Toronto

Phone: 416-512-3409

E-Mail: [email protected]

 

Daniel Di Giorgio
Ward 10: Toronto

Phone: 416-512-3410

E-Mail: [email protected]

 

Angela Kennedy
Ward 11: East York/Toronto

416-512-3411

E-Mail: [email protected]

 

Nancy Crawford
Ward 12: Scarborough

Phone: 416-512-3412

E-Mail: [email protected]

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