Election's importance leads to Toronto archdiocese policy change

  • September 15, 2010
Archbishop CollinsTORONTO - Archbishop Thomas Collins has given the green light to campaigning for the Oct. 25 school board trustee election on Church property across the archdiocese.

Neil MacCarthy, the Toronto archdiocese’s spokesperson, said this signals an opening up of parish halls to all-candidate meetings for those running for trustee.

MacCarthy said the announcement targets all candidates in the five English Catholic boards and one French Catholic board within the Toronto archdiocese.

“It is the general policy of our archdiocese not to allow political campaigning on Church property, but because of the extraordinary importance for our Catholic community of the election of highly qualified Catholic school board trustees, I have chosen to make an exception for the Oct. 25 election,” Collins said in a webcast on the archdiocese’s web site (www.archtoronto.org). The message was also sent out in a Sept. 12 letter to all parishes and published on the web site.

This would mean that trustee candidates can present information to parishioners outside Catholic churches from Sept. 12 to Oct. 17.

The archbishop urged Catholic school supporters to know their candidates and vote on Oct. 25.

“The well-being of Catholic education depends to a great degree on the trustees whom we elect. We literally entrust Catholic education to the trustees, and it is crucial that they be faithful to that trust,” Collins said.

In his web message, Collins mentioned some basic qualities of a Catholic school trustee, including being a faithful, practising Catholic and being a person who “should be exemplary in personal integrity and conduct, always striving to foster the good of the children and not personal interest.” Other qualities include “competence, wisdom, maturity, fiscal responsibility, respect for the law and the capacity to work effectively with fellow trustees for the common good of Catholic education,” the archbishop noted.

This is not the first time the archdiocese has encouraged involvement in the upcoming municipal elections across the province. In January, the archdiocese held a trustee training workshop at Toronto’s St. Augustine’s Seminary for candidates interested in running in Ontario.

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