It was clear from the very start of Tuesday night’s meeting that Vince Iantomasi had no intention of supporting the motion to raise the Pride flag over Catholic schools.
Hours later, when the Board voted 5 to 3 to “fly the flag for the month of June, every June, beginning in 2022”, the Aldershot trustee voted No.
The Halton Catholic School Board meeting was highly contentious with Iantomasi dualling all evening with Board Chairman Marvin Duarte. At times it got heated.
Among several exchanges Duarte declared; “Trustee Iantomasi, you will not raise your voice” and “stop interrupting, Trustee Iantomasi”.
Iantomasi argued points of order with the Chairman all night in what appeared to be an attempt to undermine procedural decisions that he felt favoured the motion to fly the flag.
He protested Duarte’s rulings regarding; which delegations could speak, how delegations could be questioned, the appropriateness of the motion itself and whether the entire matter should be referred to the local Bishop.
Iantomasi signaled his opposition early in the evening when he argued with delegations from the public. When one spoke about the difficulties of being gay in a Catholic school, Iantomasi responded that he was not aware of those experiences. When another talked about a national study suggesting gay Catholic students have a more difficult time than other gay students, he challenged whether the study reflected the reality in Halton. When it came to a delegation opposed to the flag, however, he responded that the presentation was “Well thought out”.
Last Friday, local Members of Parliament wrote an open letter in support of the Pride flag. During the meeting, Iantomasi said that he had written back to them protesting federal interference in a provincial matter.
By Rick Craven