The witch hunt against Toronto Catholic school trustee Mike Del Grande is falling apart – LifeSite

Stand with pro-life trustee Mike Del Grande: LifeFunder

(Campaign Life Coalition) — Good news! Based on the latest eyewitness testimonies, I believe the Ontario College of Teachers’ (OCT) witch hunt against Michael Del Grande is falling apart.

However, there’s so much more at stake than the unjust persecution of a faithful Catholic school trustee in the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB)…

If Trustee Del Grande is found guilty by the OCT, it could seriously damage the very foundations of our parliamentary democracy.

I’ll get to more on that in a moment, but first I’d like catch you up on the hearing dates, which saw two defense witnesses testify.

READ: Toronto Catholic school trustee vows to defend the unborn after defeat of pro-life motion

As many of our supporters know, the OCT is pulling out all the stops to revoke Mike’s teaching license over a set of trumped-up “teacher misconduct” allegations (even though he has never worked as a teacher).

As a left-wing institution that is fully aligned with the LGBT lobby, the OCT is putting on this sham show trial as revenge for Mike having dared to oppose the addition of transgender ideology into the TCDSB’s Code of Conduct during a past board meeting.

The process has been dragging on with numerous disciplinary hearings since November 2022.

Even though Mike has never worked as a teacher, nor ever set foot in a classroom as a teacher, he is defending his teaching license for a couple of reasons. First, to defend his reputation.

Secondly, and more importantly, to prevent a dangerous precedent from being set which would endanger the free speech rights of thousands of democratically-elected politicians across Canada.

I’m talking about men and women who happen to hold a professional designation and might have to self-censor their political speech in the legislative chambers, in order to avoid punishment by their profession’s regulatory college.

The ordeal has been beyond frustrating (and costly) for Del Grande, but the latest witnesses have renewed my hope that he will win.

On May 22 and 24, the OCT judicial panel heard overwhelming evidence refuting one of the baseless allegations in this case.

One of the complaints against Del Grande alleges that he was verbally abusive toward a then 16-year-old TCDSB Student Trustee during his capacity as a Trustee (not as a teacher) back in 2019.

It’s being claimed that Mike “yelled” and “shouted” at the elected Student Trustee during a private board room discussion that took place in the trustees’ lounge.

READ: The Toronto Catholic school board is engaged in a witch hunt against a pro-life trustee

This private conversation between trustees happened right after a special TCDSB committee meeting about whether the Board should allow students to watch Unplanned, a movie about how Abby Johnson, a Planned Parenthood clinic manager, became a pro-life activist after watching a guided ultrasound abortion.

During the public debate about the pro-life film that Mike and other trustees were recommending for high schools, the Student Trustee strongly opposed showing the movie to students, and expressed her pro-abortion belief that “the fetus is just a bunch of cells,” not a human child.

So egregious was the anti-Catholic counter-witness given by the Student Trustee, that a priest in attendance that night, Father Peter Turrone, publicly rebuked her during the meeting.

Afterwards, Trustee Del Grande had a conversation with her in the lounge, during which he encouraged her to reconcile her beliefs on abortion with the teachings of the Catholic Church, so she could be true to the expectations of a Catholic education leader.

Eyewitness said no yelling or shouting ever happened

On May 22, Mike’s trustee colleague, Nancy Crawford, took the witness stand for the defense.

Nancy was in the trustee lounge and witnessed almost the entire conversation between Del Grande and the Student Trustee.

Nancy Crawford, TCDSB Trustee for Ward 12. (Source:

Crawford’s testimony was devastating to the accusations put forward by the College’s prosecution lawyer.

Trustee Crawford stated unambiguously that Del Grande never once yelled, shouted or even raised his voice throughout the entire conversation!

Below is a sample of the exchange between Nancy Crawford and Mike’s lawyer, Charles Lugosi:

LUGOSI: What would you say of the tone of the conversation?

CRAWFORD: The tone was concerned, respectful, I remember they were both engaged in the conversation. It seemed to be important to both of them. There were no raised voices or anything, but there was a commitment to it, in a sense. (emphasis added)

LUGOSI: Did you observe any kind of bad behavior, in your mind, exhibited by Trustee Del Grande?

CRAWFORD: No. I did not observe any bad behavior. I observed that he was talking reasonably – fatherly, I would describe it as – in the way of guiding the Student Trustee in terms of our Catholic expectations, our Catholic beliefs, and her role as the lead Student Trustee… They were conversing. They were respectful. They weren’t talking over one another. They were taking turns talking back and forth, speaking.

LUGOSI: Did you observe any verbal, emotional, or psychological abuse of any kind between the two of them?

CRAWFORD: No. I did not observe any abuse. I did not observe any bullying… I observed a reasonable exchange of points of view.

Second eyewitness testifies that Del Grande did not raise his voice

Two days later, on May 24, Mike’s defense lawyer called on his TCDSB colleague from Ward 8, Trustee Garry Tanuan, to testify.

Garry Tanuan, TCDSB Trustee for Ward 8. (Source:

Tanuan was also in the trustees’ private lounge and heard the whole exchange between Del Grande and the Student Trustee. In fact, he even joined the debate at one point.

Tanuan testified that Del Grande did not raise his voice with the pro-abortion Student Trustee in the lounge.

He also told the OCT’s prosecutor during cross-examination that in all the years he has been familiar with Michael, he has always known him to be a soft-spoken person.

Garry’s testimony lined up perfectly with Crawford’s evidence that Mike did NOT raise his voice or yell or shout on the night in question, that he was calm, and respectful, and that the conversation he had with the Student Trustee looked like a normal conversation.

Case should be closed

So, between these two eye-witness testimonies, it seems to me that any fair and reasonable tribunal members would have no choice but to conclude that the accusation against Mike is not supported by the evidence, and he must be found not guilty of “teacher misconduct” for yelling, shouting, or otherwise being abusive towards the Student Trustee.

Parliamentary democracy and the ballot itself is at stake

Michael Del Grande has maintained his defense that this Ontario College of Teachers discipline hearing is completely out of order because the OCT exists to regulate the profession of teaching, not the political speech of elected municipal officials performing their jobs in a legislative chamber.

He was not a teacher in a classroom. The Student Trustee was not his pupil. So, the OCT has no jurisdiction.

As Del Grande’s defense lawyer, Charles Lugosi, put it to the tribunal on May 22:

What (the OCT) is saying is that by merely holding a teacher’s license, we can regulate the political debates entered into by an elected official, whether municipal, provincial or federal, because we, as an administrative body, have the jurisdiction to strip somebody’s livelihood away from them if we don’t like what they say or how they say it, because it offends us, or somebody in our organization.

This is a huge issue that I see will ultimately end up in the Supreme Court of Canada.

Lugosi is absolutely right…

A ruling against Del Grande would set a dangerous precedent that professional regulators have the power to restrict the speech of democratically elected officials – be it federal MPs, provincial MPPs or MLAs, mayors, city councillors, or school board trustees.

If Del Grande has his teaching license taken away over these allegations, it will undermine Canada’s parliamentary democracy and the right and duty of elected officials to advocate for the voters who elected them.

So, this is a much bigger issue than what tone Michael used in conversation with a fellow trustee, or whether his colleagues on the TCDSB felt triggered by the sarcasm and hyperbole in one of his motions.

This is about our democratic rights and whether elections actually mean anything, if those we elect aren’t truly free to engage in political speech, inside their legislative chambers, to advocate for us.

Do our votes in an election really matter if the person we elect to speak out on certain issues can be silenced or cancelled by an unelected administrative body?

Is your local MP truly free to represent you in the House of Commons, if he or she must worry about losing their professional license over something they say in a parliamentary debate, which somebody in the public finds offensive?

This isn’t a baseless, paranoid concern.

For now, only an elected school trustee is being targeted (Mike), but we know from studying how liberalism/socialism operates, that this logic will eventually bleed into city halls and even be weaponized to intimidate and silence democratically elected provincial and federal politicians.

This is the second reason why Mike has been so insistent on defending himself and not allowing this anti-democracy precedent to stand. However, it hasn’t been easy for him. Mike has endured an incredible amount of suffering, more than I can even write about here, and it’s taken a toll on him, both physically and financially…

Which is why we’ve been working to help cover his legal costs.


Mike is like the canary in a coal mine, a trial run for what’s coming at other elected politicians who happen to hold professional licenses in teaching, law, nursing, medicine, clinical psychology, engineering, or any number of self-regulated professional bodies.

So please, if it’s within your means, donate now to his legal defense fund and stand with Del Grande.

If you’ve already given to this cause, then thank you kindly.

Also, please remember to pray for Michael and his lawyer, along with the judicial panel, and for the College’s prosecutor…

The more prayers for everyone involved, the better.

Reprinted with permission from the Campaign Life Coalition.

Stand with pro-life trustee Mike Del Grande: LifeFunder

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