Toronto

Mayor slams Catholic school trustee, province calls for investigation into conduct

Toronto Mayor John Tory is condemning Catholic school board trustee Michael Del Grande, while the provincial Ministry of Education is now calling for an investigation into his conduct.

School board to hold special meeting Monday to address Michael Del Grande’s comments

The provincial Ministry of Education is calling for an investigation into the conduct of Toronto Catholic District School Board trustee Michael Del Grande. (Toronto Catholic District School Board)

Toronto Mayor John Tory is condemning Catholic school board trustee Michael Del Grande, while the provincial Ministry of Education is now calling for an investigation into his conduct.

Del Grande first came under fire last month when he connected debate over LGBTQ issues with bestiality, pedophilia and cannibalism at a Toronto Catholic District School Board meeting. He previously told CBC Toronto that his comments were "hyperbole" and "not serious."

The board now plans to hold a special meeting on Dec. 23 to address new comments from a recent post on an anti-abortion news website, in which Del Grande wrote that he will take a stand against "evil."

"We are at a critical crossroads," Del Grande wrote on the Life Site News website. "With modern media, the Internet, and the new gods of consumerism and relativism, our society is inundated with post-Christian elements which have a profound impact on those who identify as Christian."

Mayor John Tory said Tuesday that Del Grande, who was once a city hall budget chief, is exhibiting "dinosaur-like" behaviour and a "polarizing" and "inconsiderate" approach.

"We just can't have a situation where people in public life seem to be suggesting that other groups who are our fellow citizens in Toronto are evil as opposed to good," Tory said.

The Ministry of Education is also calling for an investigation into Del Grande's conduct, after a Toronto Star story revealed the school board is looking into a complaint of an alleged encounter between Del Grande and student trustee Taylor Dallin in the fall.

According to the Star story, Dallin, 17, alleges that Del Grande confronted her while alone in the trustee's lounge and yelled at her after a school board meeting back in September where a discussion over screening the controversial anti-abortion film Unplanned took place.

Safety plan for student now in place, board says

Dallin declined an interview when contacted by CBC Toronto, but confirmed a complaint had been made. CBC Toronto has not seen the complaint.

School board spokesperson Shazia Vlahos would not comment on the details of the complaint, but said in a statement that when the issue was brought to the board's attention, "staff acted and a safety plan was put in place to ensure the student feels supported and safe."

Del Grande did not respond to requests for comment about the allegations.

In a statement issued Wednesday, spokesperson Alexandra Adamo told CBC Toronto that the Ministry of Education wants to see an investigation into what occurred.

"We hope the board will undertake a fulsome investigation, which we believe is appropriate to ensure students are respected in the TCDSB by their public servants," Adamo said.

Special school board meeting to be held on Dec. 23

Trustee Markus de Domenico told CBC Toronto that he requested Monday's special school board meeting, and wanted to make sure it happened in public.

He said he will be bringing forth a motion to request Del Grande retract his written comments about "evil."

"It is critical that this board address the comments made by Trustee Del Grande that I and many other trustees consider to be extreme and disrespectful to our Catholic school community," he said in an email.

"These comments in no way represent the vast majority of the TCDSB community and need to be challenged publicly. Let trustees stand in their place, speak and vote publicly and be accountable to their constituents on this issue."

adam.carter@cbc.ca

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Adam Carter

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Adam Carter is a Newfoundlander who now calls Toronto home. He enjoys a good story and playing loud music. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamCarterCBC or drop him an email at adam.carter@cbc.ca.

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