Opinion: Woes of LGBT Justice Group



Former TD Bank CEO Mount Following Allegations by Calgary MP and False Statements to Ontario Legislature

TORONTO – Questions about the legitimacy of a series of claims made by “Canada’s only national LGBT charity” have surfaced as transcripts from the Ontario legislature indicate staff for the organization, co-chaired by former TD Bank CEO, Ed Clark, have claimed credentials to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy that they don’t possess.

An email from Mark Pioro, Director of Professional Conduct & Deputy Registrar for the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario confirms that “Ronnie Ali is not a Member” and “only CRPO Members can use the title “psychotherapist” or claim to be qualified as a psychotherapist,” following Mr. Ali’s June 3rd testimony in an Ontario legislative committee hearing where he claimed to by a “psychotherapist for Egale.”  Ali’s claims have raised serious concerns about the organization’s qualifications as it prepares to open one of Canada’s first LGBTQ homeless shelters.

With nearly a million dollars in funding from the City of Toronto, and over a million from the Province of Ontario, it is unclear how the City or the Province have based their funding approvals when there has been no evidence that the organization possesses the necessary qualifications to open such a facility.

Furthermore, complaints with the Ontario Labour Relations Board, the Toronto Police Service, the Upper Law Society of Canada and the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal allege a series of scandals involving the organization and its Executive Director, Helen Kennedy which don’t appear to be diminishing anytime soon.

Partner organizations aligning with Egale include Toronto Pflag, whose President Anne Creighton once referenced the organization’s partnership with hopeful marketing award wins, stating, “I think it would be fantastic” which has caused other members to cry foul.

“The due diligence necessary to ensure proper partnerships is simply not being done sadly.  Not only have there been multiple red flags, including misrepresentations in the Ontario legislature, that have been brought to attention, Egale has been acting autocratically for so long that nobody bothers to verify anything, making it very hard to partner.”

Calgary-Centre MP, Joan Crockatt, whose son volunteer’s on the Board for Calgary Pride, was recently ostracized by Egale following advice she sought regarding Bill C-279.  The Bill, which would have brought a series of changes to ensure Transgender individuals receive the same protections under Human Rights legislation as other Canadians, was defeated as the Conservative government, which included Crockatt, voted against it following discussions with Egale.  Egale claims it was “misrepresented” by Crockatt, saying it did not advise the MP to vote against the Bill.

As questions continue to mount about the organization’s credibility, political backers such as CUPE and the NDP appear to be distancing themselves from the group.  Wynne Hartviksen, Executive Assistant to the President of CUPE Ontario points out “This issue has nothing to do with CUPE” even though multiple interviews which can be found online show the union proud to have its Rainbow Executive member, Jane Walsh, trumpet their involvement.

Staff for local City Councilor, Kristyn Wong-Tam, call the issue “quite serious in nature” and the Province has indicated they will be doing a full investigative audit of the organization shortly.  But when questioned, Helen Kennedy and the organization’s NDP-affiliated Human Rights lawyer, Susan Ursel continue to remain silent.

~ Adrian Cornelissen

, ,