School Board Rebukes CUPE’s Ryan
TORONTO — The Toronto District School Board sent a letter last week to Sid Ryan, president of CUPE Ontario, expressing strong disapproval of his recent proposal to have his union urge Canadian universities to sanction Israeli academics and post-secondary institutions in the wake of the Gaza conflict.
Trustees Josh Matlow, who tabled the motion calling for the letter at the TDSB’s Feb. 4 meeting, and James Pasternak, who seconded it, thanked TDSB chair John Campbell and the board for “their principled stand against intolerance.” CUPE local 4400 represents the TDSB’s education support workers.
“The nature and tone of your remarks are contrary to the spirit with which our staff, your members, support their students,” Campbell wrote to Ryan. “While your comments were directed at universities and not school boards, they can leave the impression that you think that children (and adults) from some cultures should be less welcome in our schools than others. This is contrary to both TDSB policy and to the daily commitment demonstrated by our staff who are members of CUPE 4400.”
Shul Attack Decried
OTTAWA — Ottawa last week condemned the recent attack on the main synagogue in Caracas, Venezuela. Up to 15 people attacked the shul overnight on Jan. 30-31, damaging Torah scrolls and spraying graffiti such as “death to the Jews” on the walls. A shul guard was also bound and gagged at gunpoint. “We urge the government of Venezuela to follow through on their commitment to investigate this crime and bring the perpetrators to justice,” Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Peter Kent said.
NDP Chides Church
OTTAWA — The NDP’s Charlie Angus has urged his fellow MPs to “speak out” against the Pope’s decision to welcome back into the Catholic fold Bishop Richard Williamson, “a notorious supporter of the lies of [Holocaust denier Ernst] Zundel.” Angus, his party’s heritage and culture critic, said last week in the House of Commons that the bishop “has consorted with the Zundel defenders” and claimed “that no Jews died in the gas chambers. By rehabilitating [him], the church has shown a surprising indifference to the international fight against Holocaust denial.” In 1989, the bishop “was investigated by Canadian police after he publicly defended Zundel from the pulpit of a Canadian church,” Angus said on his website.