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Toronto Centre MPP Glen Murray to run again

Toronto Centre MPP Glen Murray to run again

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Forms Catholic school GSAs working group
Toronto Centre Liberal MPP Glen Murray had fierce words for the political competition on May 11 after announcing that he would campaign to defend his seat in the October provincial election.
 
About 120 supporters met at the 519 Church Street Community Centre where Murray called Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak “economically incompetent.” He warned that a vote for the Progressive Conservatives would unravel all the work of the provincial Liberals.
 
Murray vowed to stand up for civility and dignity. “Growing up as gay, I heard every ugly homophobic thing you can think of. I will stand up against every Tory that tries to take our rights away because that’s all they ever do.”

Murray won his seat in the Toronto-Centre by-election in 2010 after former MPP George Smitherman stepped down to run unsuccessfully for mayor of Toronto. Premier Dalton McGuinty subsequently named him minister of research and innovation.
 
Murray tells Xtra that he doesn't believe his party wont be routed in this election like the Liberal Party of Canada was in the May 2 general election. Nor, he adds, does he see an NDP sweep in Ontario.

“The governments are very different,” he says. “I don’t think people vote provincially and federally with a great deal of consistency… Really, there’s deep Liberal roots here, but you don’t take it for granted. You work hard all the time. It’s like, for us as gay, lesbian and transgender people we’ve had some tough fights.”

Toronto organizer and artist Dave Meslin says he appreciates that Murray talks so openly about being a gay man.

“And it’s not just in the 519 that he’s this open,” Meslin says. “It’s everywhere, so he deserves a lot of credit for that.”

Still Murray admits his government’s equity and inclusive education policy “has run into some turbulence.” Since January, a growing number of queer youth and allies have been denied permission by school administrators to hold gay-straight alliance meetings in Ontario Catholic schools. Queer youth are asking for help, and GSAs are explicitly mentioned in the provincial policy as one of the best ways to fight bullying in schools.
 
But in February, Xtra revealed that GSAs are are forbidden at Ontario Catholic schools.
 
“I wouldn't say we ban them,” Bruce-Grey Catholic District School Board superintendent of education, Gerald Casey told us then. “We support student clubs that support inclusiveness, especially for students who might otherwise feel marginalized. But all our clubs must, however, adhere to the Catholic teachings and values.”
 
“We don’t have Nazi groups either,” Halton board chair Alice Anne LeMay told Xtra in a January 6 report. “If a gay student requests a gay-straight alliance they would be denied. It’s not in accordance with the teachings of the church. If they wanted to have a club outside of school, fine, just not in school.”
 
Murray says he’s formed a “working group” that meets on the matter every Saturday.
 
“We realize the full implementation is not there," he says. "We came up short, but we have to keep pushing.”

The group includes Egale Canada executive director Helen Kennedy, Halton Catholic District School Board trustee Paul Marai, Toronto Catholic District School Board trustee Joanna Davis, and lawyer Douglas Elliot. This group is separate from the committee formed by the bishops and Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association (OCSTA).

Murray says his first priority is to identify problematic schools.
 
“I have a meeting with [Liberal education minister] Leona Dombrowsky to explain our position. You don’t want to take a baseball bat to people because then you get everyone’s back up. Doug Elliot has been helping us with the legal issues of that.”
 
Liberal Ontario education minister Leona Dombrowski has so far refused Xtra’s repeated requests for an interview.

Ontario goes to the polls on Oct 6.
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Comments

Does Glen Murray hate gay Tory Paul Marai?
The article states that Glen Murray has formed a working group on the GSA issue that includes gay Halton Catholic District School Board trustee Paul Marai. As noted in past Xtra articles, Paul Marai has been working hard to help gay students on the GSA issue. Paul Marai is also a gay Tory. The article quotes Glen Murray as saying "I will stand up against every Tory that tries to take our rights away because that’s all they ever do”. Given his blind hatred of Tories, will Glen Murray now be asking Paul Marai to leave his working group?
The problem isn't with 'certain schools'
It's with ALL of them. Glen, have you really not yet realized that Ontario's 1,500 PUBLICLY FUNDED Catholic schools are hiding behind a "Constitutional guarantee" which permit them to treat gays and non-Catholics as 2nd class citizens? Does the fact that after 2 years of ''trying to implement Ontario's equity policy'' not one Catholic school GSA exists ANYWHERE in Ontario? Does that really not tell you that there is a big problem with a constitution that allows one denomination of one religion to flex its medieval muscle in modern day Canada--at all taxpayers' expense? And if you do actually understand that this is the case, what exactly are you doing to fix it? Are you lobbying the Pope to change the Church's views on homosexuality? Or do you think that maybe--JUST MAYBE--religion and government ought not to get mixed up? What started off, in 1867, as a special protection for a minority religion in largely Protestant Ontario has morphed into a majority privilege, now that Catholics out-number even all Protestant denominations combined. It's quite telling that, now that the Roman Catholics are running the show (c.f. McGuinty, Dombrowsky, Hudack, Horwath, etc.), there is no more talk of special protections for the minority religions--of which Ontario has dozens.
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