PRESS RELEASE 24 May 2013 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Trustee Disappointed with Colleagues for Defeating Motion Toronto

, ON

Background: Trustee Garry Tanuan of the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) submitted a notice of motion to ban Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) clubs and to ensure that antibullying clubs and their activities adhere to the framework outlined in “Respecting Difference”, a resource document of the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association (OCSTA). His motion was defeated by Toronto Catholic trustees at their meeting on Thursday 23 May 2013. Garry Tanuan states: “I am disappointed as a Catholic, a parent and a trustee that my colleagues made a poor decision. They failed to see the big picture because they failed to protect the Constitutional rights of Catholic ratepayers, students and staff. The Accepting Schools Act violates the constitutional rights of Catholics because Church teaching is being undermined by GSA clubs. By using the raw power of the state to force GSA clubs into the schools, the provincial government violated section 93 of the Constitution, which enshrines the denominational rights of the Catholic schools. The Toronto Catholic trustees have failed to assert our constitutional rights and put an end to the legislative bullying by the government of Ontario”. GSA clubs violate the Constitutional rights of Catholic schools because GSAs promote a positive view of homosexual activity, which undermines Catholic teaching on chastity and marriage. Tanuan cited a press release issued by Cardinal Thomas Collins when Bill 13 was being debated in the Ontario legislature in the spring of 2012, which states: “So the key issue is not just the [GSA] name itself, but the content connected with the name” (statement on behalf of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario, “Observations on a recent change in government policy Re: Proposed anti-bullying legislation”, May 28, 2012). Tanuan contends that winning 40% of the votes in his recent by-election, especially in a field of 10 candidates, provided him with a clear mandate to raise the key issue for which he ran in the elections. His campaign brochure and website highlighted the clear intention to “promote ‘RD’ (Respecting Difference) clubs as the solution for bullying issues and fight for our Constitutional rights to a meaningful Catholic education." Tanuan said: “I am convinced by reading the British North America Act, and its interpretation by the courts, that Bill 13 is unconstitutional. Since trustees have the responsibility to run the school system, I am disappointed in the majority of my colleagues since they failed to assert that GSA clubs and Bill 13 are unconstitutional and do not belong in the Catholic school system”. Tanuan concludes: “Banning GSAs and promoting “Respecting Difference” clubs is the constitutional and responsible solution to helping all children, bullied for any reason, in the Toronto Catholic school system. This evening, the majority of my colleagues let down the Catholic community when they failed to protect the Constitutional rights of Catholics in Toronto.”
Contact: Trustee Garry Tanuan garry.tanuan@tcdsb.org 416.512-3408