A crowd of parents filled the gallery Monday, May 1, 2023 at the Waterloo Catholic District School Board to support parents calling for the resignation of Trustee Wendy Ashby over tweets containing outrageous racist views. Parent after parent pleaded with the board to declare that the racist and sexist tweets go against the Board’s Code of Conduct.
A first tweet made in October, 2022 alleged “The most dangerous creature on the planet is the white Christian male. They're a threat to anyone that is not them.”
This tweet was followed by another offensive comment in March, 2023 on a line item from the 2023 Ontario budget to promote the PSW profession, in which Ashby further targeted white women. Trustee Ashby tweeted that the money was “hush money” from Doug Ford’s government to buy PSWs’ silence about being underpaid. The tweet read, “White women make obedient soldiers for the christofascist patriarchy."
The tweets reveal that Trustee Ashby holds views that collide with the interests of the institution she is supposed to be representing. Ashby has apologized for promoting her offensive tweets on Twitter but not for what she said.
Parent Chelsea Bogias said that by not condemning the remarks, the board was in fact supporting them.
WATCH video of the dramatic remarks of Monday night
Reading from the Board’s Code of Conduct, Borgias noted that Trustees are forbidden to “cause or allow any conditions, procedures, actions or decisions that are undignified, unprofessional, or contrary to the preservation of Catholic values and teaching.” I ask every member of the board,’ said Borgias, “would you not agree that Ms. Ashby’s conditions are undignified, unprofessional and contrary to the preservation of Catholic values and teaching?”
Ashby’s comments are contrary to the Ontario Human Rights Code as well, Borgias charged, noting they violate its protections of groups based on immutable characteristics like race, colour, sex and religion.
So far the board has said in a public statement that they “do not support” the tweet but furious parents called for a stronger remedy.
Parent after parent called for the trustee to step down. Referencing the Parents as First Educators petition demanding Ttrustee Ashby’s resignation, Borgias implored, “I ask, along with more than 3,000 signatories, that the board please uphold the Code of Conduct, and protect our institution from board members who hold clear and long-standing prejudices against protected groups including but not limited to race, sex and religion.”
Presenter Conrad Stanley agreed, saying “When you attack another group of people and start going into the realm of outright racism, hate speech, I think everyone can stand up and stay that’s just simply unacceptable,” delegate Conrad Stanley said at the meeting Monday. “I think the prevailing wisdom, which I agree with, is that she needs to resign.
"I don’t see how she can continue in her functions on this board, given the controversy. It will continue to hound this board and embarrass this board.”
The way the events have unfolded has now thoroughly eroded the confidence of taxpayers in her ability to represent them without internal conflict of interest, according to Borgias.
Near the end of the meeting, trustees passed a motion to appoint an outside consultant to investigate an allegation of a breach in the board's code of conduct.
“This is just smoke and mirrors,” said Pierre. “The change this community is calling for is Trustee Ashby’s resignation. They won’t be satisfied with less.”