The Hon. Joe Volpe, Publisher
TORONTO - I attended a Vaughan Afro-Canadian Association event in Concord Wednesday night. To be more precise, I accepted an invitation, extended to the Corriere Canadese, to be a “keynote speaker” at the gathering.
I was prepared to speak, but I was frankly unprepared for the intensity of what I heard.
That a significant component of the Vaughan community and indeed of Canadian Society would invite the publisher of an Italian language daily to their event is flattering.
The evening was organized by mothers of children whose experience in the York Region District School Board has been a subject of concern for all thinking Canadians.
The Corriere Canadese has been covering the unfolding series of educational missteps, Administrative “lapses of judgement”, insensitivity (blatant intolerance and prejudice by Board officials) and the persistence of the parent groups to get a receptive ear.
It has not been alone in this, although the Corriere’s reporter – Mariella Policheni -, its political cartoonist – Ynot - and editorial board have been very direct in calling for a complete overhaul of the Board by the Ministry of Education.
We should have been tougher. And we should have done it even earlier.
It is hard to imagine the depth of humiliation, hurt and helplessness of the women who recounted a sampling of the experiences forced upon them and their children by an insensitive, indifferent organization whose funding source is public and whose raison d’etre is to nurture those values which distinguish Canada as a premier society in the world.
They had a difficult time holding back their tears. I thought of my own mother, and others like her who entrusted their children’s education and wellbeing to “reliable authorities” while they went to work in sweat shops or low paying service sector to augment the family income.
The mothers at the meeting were educated women. The vulnerability and long-term damage to their children even less comprehensible.
The Human Rights abuses perpetrated upon them, never justifiable, even more startling. All because of the colour of their skin.
I am glad that through the Corriere Canadese Ontario’s Italian-Canadian community was able to stand with those mothers in defence of decency and dignity. The actions of the offenders, apparently too numerous and “overwhelming” in number, could fill several books.
And this is 2017. And Vaughan’s Mayor trumpets his city’s leading edge “openness and diversity”.
In fairness, the Board’s Chair and Vice-Chair, along with two student Trustees, attended. So did one of the Ministry’s two “reviewers”.
Corriere will continue to follow these stories, but barring any compelling and persuasive developments to mitigate what has happened so far, the Minister of Education can only have one course of action open to her.
Take control of the YRDSB, start over and administer it directly.