Ontario teachers' discipline chief quits over racy novel

In a story full of bizarre angles, the head disciplinarian for Ontario teachers has resigned after it was revealed he authored a sexually infused novel for teenagers.
Kingston high school teacher Jacques Tremblay, who resigned as his profession's disciplinary chief on Wednesday, wears many hats on the side: organic produce salesman, author, and star of an internet video series called Tremblay du Saguenay, seen here. (YouTube)

In a story full of bizarre angles, the head disciplinarian for Ontario teachers has resigned after it was revealed he authored a sexually infused novel for teenagers.

Jacques Tremblay said Wednesday he is stepping down from his position as chair of the Ontario College of Teachers' discipline committee to ensure public confidence in the organization isn't eroded. He also resigned from his elected membership on the college's governing council.

The revelation that Tremblay co-authored the racy teen novel The Sexteens and the Fake Goddess landed him in controversy. ((Glowing Shadow Productions))

By Wednesday afternoon, Tremblay was no longer listed as a member of either body and his biography had been deleted from the website of the college, which certifies Ontario teachers and investigates misconduct complaints.

A Toronto Star report earlier the same day revealed that Tremblay co-authored the novel The Sexteens and the Fake Goddess, which was published in 2008. It tells the story of two Grade 9 students who rely on "cleverness and sex appeal" to confront authority figures, according to its description on bookselling website

The book contains multiple descriptions of teenaged girls' breasts and buttocks, as well as scenes of stripping, bondage and sexual assault.

Tremblay said in written comments to the Star that the novel "is meant to empower teenagers, to encourage them to be strong and resist or avoid peer pressure."

The high-school computers and civics teacher, himself a father of four and grandfather of two, had been chair of the teachers college's disciplinary committee since 2006. In that post, he oversaw hearings into allegations of professional misconduct and incompetence by the province's teachers.

His 350-page novel was co-written by his wife, Marie-Ange Gagnon, as well as Frédéric Tremblay, and was published by the family's company Glowing Shadow Productions.

The book's website says all three live on a property in the Thousand Islands near Kingston, where Jacques Tremblay teaches at the French-language Mille-Iles Secondary School.

But the address on the registration for their various websites is a vacant lot on Howe Island that's up for sale. The real estate agent selling the property said she lived on the island and had never heard of the Tremblays or Gagnon.

The Frédéric Tremblay in question appears to be a Queen's University economics undergraduate who lists rock climbing and media production among his activities, and who ran last year for a school-board position overseeing the high school where Jacques Tremblay teaches.

Wine, solar panels, webisodes

Tremblay's company has also published books on organic wine and economics, sells organic produce over the internet, and bills itself as a vendor and installer of solar panels for homes.

The company also produced a series of hokey French-language internet videos titled "Tremblay du Saguenay" — the Saguenay is a region of Quebec north of Quebec City — in which he dons various costumes to rhapsodize to the camera about snow in May, how carpenter's glue reinforces one's self-esteem, and the distinction between gravel and grass. 

Jacques Tremblay's bio on his web page says he leads an organic lifestyle and is certified to train parents in infant massage. He has been a teacher for 16 years and has an MA from Queen's, in Kingston.

Annie Kidder, executive director of the parents' group People for Education, said she didn't think the revelation about Tremblay's racy novel should call into question the fairness of the Ontario College of Teachers' disciplinary proceedings of the last five years.

"Each time a teacher is being assessed or that somebody's made a complaint against a teacher, it's a board of people who look at them," Kidder said.