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Catholic Parents Demanding Teachers Do Not Officially Attend Gay Pride March in Toronto this Month

18 Jun 2014
Catholic Parents Demanding Teachers Do Not Officially Attend Gay Pride March in Toronto this Month

TORONTO: Parents as First Educators (PAFE) and its supporters are urging the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic board to take action against teachers who attend the World Pride Parade in Toronto on June 29.   The board will be debating a formal protest of the decision by OECTA, the Catholic teachers’ union, to send a delegation to the parade at a meeting Tuesday, June 17.  PAFE supporters are urging Trustees to look into possible actions that can be taken by the board as the employer of the teachers.

PAFE President, Teresa Pierre, PhD, said, “It’s an outrage that the teachers’ union is officially attending the parade when the Cardinal has said this goes against Catholic faith.  As a Catholic organization the union is obligated to support the faith in all its public activities.  Our supporters are asking Trustees in the Algonquin and Lakeshore board to step up and ensure that teachers in the board stay on the same page with the Cardinal.”

The Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) voted to participate in the World Pride Parade in Toronto at its Annual General Meeting in March, 2014.  In April The Catholic Register reported that Cardinal Thomas and Bishop Gerard Bergie of St. Catharine’s had tried to convince OECTA President James Ryan to withdraw from the parade but failed to achieve resolution of the problem.  Cardinal Collins opposed the decision because it demonstrated “an inadequate and mistaken” understanding of what the Church teaches about sexuality and marriage.

PAFE put up an online petition in April protesting the union decision.  It is addressed to Catholic Trustees, the direct employers of the teachers and the ones legally responsible for ensuring the promotion of the Catholic religion in the boards.

The petition was signed by over 1000 people in its first week and currently has over 5200 signatures.  The story made headlines across the province the week of April 21 in news outlets including the Sun and Metro media chains and the Huffington Post, and saturated talk radio and TV.  Wei Chen memorably put OECTA President James Ryan on the spot on Metro Morning on CBC.

Motions to send letter to the union asking teachers not to participate in the Parade were passed in the York and London Catholic boards and debated in numerous other boards, including Halton and Waterloo, where Trustees additionally suggested their boards determine consequences for teachers who participate in the parade.

Pierre said, “Many parents have reached out to Trustees in the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic board to ensure teachers support church teachings in all their official activities. Our students need to see the partners in Catholic education - parents, trustees, teachers, administrators, support staff and students - standing together as a community and upholding Catholic teachings. Otherwise it is just confusing for our students and sends the wrong message.”

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