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November 29, 2019 (Every Day For Life Canada) – On November 8, 2019, trustees at the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) voted 8 to 4 to include “gender identity” in its Code of Conduct. The terms “gender expression”, “family status” and “marital status” will also be added. Instead of defending Catholic teaching, the majority of trustees voted to follow the Ontario Human Rights Commission and Ministry of Education policies. Politics trumped Catholic education.

Here are the eight trustees that voted to add “gender identity” to the Code: Joseph Martino, Ward 1, Markus de Domenico, Ward 2, Ida Li Preti, Ward 3, Maria Rizzo, Ward 5, Frank D'Amico, Ward 6, Norm Di Pasquale, Ward 9, Angela Kennedy, Ward 11, and Daniel Di Giorgio, Ward 10.

The trustees that voted against adding inclusive language to the Code even in the face of criticism are Garry Tanuan, Ward 8, Michael Del Grande, Ward 7, Nancy Crawford, Ward 12, and Teresa Lubinski, Ward 4. These four trustees followed the Board's own policy on “Equity and Inclusive Education.” Sadly, the followers of inclusion have been treated by them as infidels.

The 8 to 4 result to add inclusive language to the Code of Conduct is actually in contradiction to the Board's own “Catholic Equity and Inclusive Education Policy H.M. 24” which states:

The Board recognizes that social or cultural discrimination is incompatible with Catholic moral principles. The Board recognizes that the mandate of Catholic Education is to instruct students on how to live as followers of Jesus Christ and gives pre-eminence to the tenets of the Catholic faith. The Board further recognizes that we must uphold the protections entrenched in the Ontario Human Rights Code (the “Code”), the Constitution Act, 1867 and confirmed in the Constitution Act of 1982 –the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

As a Catholic school system, the Board and its staff are committed to the elimination of discrimination as outlined in Ontario’s Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy and the Ontario Ministry of Education Policy/Program Memorandum No. 119 (2009) in a manner which is consistent with the exercise of the Board’s denominational rights under section 93 of the Constitution Act, 1867 and as recognized in section 19 of the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Where there is an apparent conflict between denominational rights and other rights the board will favour the protection of the denominational rights.

All Ontario school boards have policies that require them to follow the Education Act, Ministry policies and the Ontario Human Rights Code. But Catholic schools have an additional legal and moral responsibility when implementing any policy or regulation and this includes “Equity Education.” Catholic boards must develop these policies in a manner consistent with denominational rights. This means that the Catholic board has the right to follow Catholic teaching first on matters of morals and then Ministry policies, program memorandum and the Human Rights Code.

In short, the terms “gender identity” and “gender expression” are not tenets of the Catholic faith and should not be included as a component of Catholic education.

So, the trustees that voted to include “gender” as part of Catholic teaching are in total breach of Board policy, but more importantly, they have abrogated their fiduciary responsibility to defend denominational rights. Virtue signaling and political correctness don't matter. Neither does support from the Toronto Star.

Furthermore, in Regulation 1 of the Policy, we find the Catholic approach to implementing inclusive language. It states:

Consistent with Catholic teachings and denominational rights the Board is committed to serving students, families and staff in its diverse Catholic community by incorporating the principles of equity and inclusive education in all aspects of its policies, programs, procedures and practices.

The keyword is “incorporating” inclusive language. It does not say supplanting the language of Catholic belief with secular, progressive terms. So, the two great teachings of the Gospels being the love of God and neighbour are more than enough to deal with equity and inclusive education because nobody is excluded. The Regulation doesn't permit staff and trustees to overrule denominational rights and Catholic teachings even at the request of the Minister of Education or a public push from the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

The trustees who voted to include “gender identity”and “gender expression” are in violation of the Board's “Catholic Equity and Inclusive Education Policy.” Their vote contradicts Catholic teaching about the human person. They failed in their fiduciary duty that they were elected to faithfully carry out.

The anti-Catholic vote cast on November 8 has broken both Board policy and the right of Catholic tax payers and separate school supporters have to defend and fully live their faith.

These trustees should seriously reconsider their vote or resign.

Editor’s note: This article first appeared on Every Day For Life Canada. It is republished here by permission of the author.