When I entered the Public School Trustee race in Trinity-Spadina, I did it because the Toronto District School Board is plagued with major problems which have not been properly addressed and I wanted to raise awareness about them.
Those issues include exposing the politicization of the school curriculum, the decline in standards, and that the TDSB has infused what is actually racist ideology into the school system by promoting the idea that children should be treated more as part of a collective and less as an individual and that the Board needs to focus more on race. And of course the gross waste, mismanagement, and incompetence at the TDSB.
But as it so often happens in life, things didn't go quite according to plan.
The NDP ran a candidate as part of their ticket that included Mike Layton and Joe Cressy named Ausma Malik, a person with an extremely questionable past.
There are numerous reports in the University of Toronto's newspaper, The Varsity, pertaining to when Ms Malik, as a union official tasked with investigating a disputed student union election was, according to those articles, shown to have colluded with the people she was investigating to produce the results they wanted. That scandal led to the University's Provost taking the extraordinary measure of freezing funds to the student union.
That is the more serious of the controversies regarding someone seeking a position of trust that would be involved in overseeing a $3 Billion budget that is supposed to be devoted to public school students' needs.
Unfortunately, another controversial aspect of Ms Malik's past has become the media focus. In 2006, Ms Malik delivered an anti-Israel speech at a rally filled with supporters of the terrorist group Hezbollah, at which the deaths of Israeli soldiers were cheered. That 2006 event was organized by the so-called "Canadian Peace Alliance," a group that is intimately involved with the annual anti-Semitic al Quds Day rallies. At one such rally, Ali Mallah, a Steering Committee member of the Canadian Peace Alliance, shouted at the Khomeinist crowd that he supports "resistance ..by any means necessary!"
While the U of T election scandal is I believe a far more serious issue, the Hezbollah angle became the media's sole interest. I have spoken to reporters at the Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, and the National Post about The Varsity articles and they are all aware of them, but they prefer to write about Hezbollah because they think it's "sexy" and easier for their readers to comprehend.
Recently some idiots attended a debate in which they heckled and tried to shout down Ms Malik, at which point I and other Trustee candidates had to intervene and stand up to tell them to respect her right to speak.
Some idiots have been distributing inflammatory flyers in Trinity-Spadina trying to link Ms Malik directly to Hezbollah. The prevention of a candidate from speaking at a public debate and the flyer distribution are deplorable and reprehensible. Ms Malik is not a member of Hezbollah or any terrorist group. Moreover such actions are counterproductive to shedding light on the real issues facing Trinity-Spadina.
At this point, the TDSB Trustee race in Trinity-Spadina needs to be one that is about integrity and credibility. Because if a Public School Trustee lacks those attributes, then the serious issues at the School Board will never be properly addressed.
The facts about the candidates in Trinity-Spadina's TDSB race and the truth behind them are matters of public record and can be easily accessed by online research, both through Google and at thevarsity.ca.
It is my hope that the voters selecting the next TDSB Trustee look into the facts and make an informed choice based on them.