Food writer Corey Mintz hosts a dinner party with a crew of GSA activists. Guests included activists Leanne Iskander and Casy Oraa, journalists Andrea Houston and Johnathan Goldsbie, and CCLA lawyer Noa Mendelsohn Aviv.
Once everyone has some food in their bellies, they try to explain to me how this type of discrimination is allowed in Canada, in the 21st century.
“These schools are answering to the bishops,” rasps Aviv, her voice lost to a cold. “The Ministry’s in there somewhere.” That would be the Ministry of Education, which sets policy that is supposed to be followed by all Ontario schools. “It seems fairly clear that there was an unwritten ban across the province. Unfortunately for them and fortunate enough for us, that they went so far as to ban it on paper.”
Halton Catholic District School Board chair Alice Anne LeMay went further, explaining that they would also not allow Nazi groups. She later apologized.
The provincial government took no action.
“They’re abdicating their responsibility,” says an emphatic Oraa. Everything he says is emphatic. “Because they’ve created this policy, specifically the one for GSAs.”
A partial transcript of the evening is posted here. It’s a good introduction for anyone not familiar with the GSA issue and separate school funding. The only cringe-worthy omission was when Andrea mentions that the CCLA and Queer Ontario have been in the fight against Catholic school funding since ‘the beginning’ when they’ve really only been at it for the last year. Atheist groups, like CFI, have been involved for years, and independent groups like CRIPE and Education Equality Ontario have been around for decades.