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Investigator had “documented history of exhibiting sneering contempt and derision regarding concerns about antisemitism”

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A partner in a Toronto law practice, the bio of Morgan Sim does not mention any interest or expertise on Israel, antisemitism, or “Islamophobia”. But on her Twitter account, she had lots to say, calling her conclusions in a recent investigation for the Toronto District School Board into a dispute. (Photo: parkersim.com)

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(R. Michael Teper has emerged as a leading voice from the Toronto Jewish community in matters connected to public education and antisemitism. He sent the following letter to the Toronto District School Board.)

Dear TDSB Trustees —

Thank you for your collective vote to vindicate Trustee Lulka and dismiss the accusations against her. To those who voted to reject the Integrity Commissioner’s report, thank you especially for your courage and independent thinking.

To those who voted against the resolution to reject the Integrity Commissioner’s report, quite frankly, you’ve been duped.

The Integrity Commissioner’s report was, regarding the only live accusation brought before the Board, an opinion about an opinion. The Integrity Commissioner told you last night that in coming to her finding that Trustee Lulka breached the TDSB Code of Conduct, she relied on the opinion of the Independent Investigator. Relied – in the sense that the finding of the breach was a finding of the Independent Investigator, not a finding of the Integrity Commissioner. 

The Independent Investigator’s own report was not part of the public materials laid before you; there were only snippets quoted by the Integrity Commissioner in her report. Nor was the Independent Investigator present at the meeting to be questioned. So you were asked to conclude that your colleague acted wrongfully based on a second-hand report that you did not and could not review or question.

Now let’s dig a little deeper. Trustee Laskin asked the Integrity Commissioner several questions about who this Independent Investigator was, and how they came to be appointed. The Integrity Commissioner’s response hardly instilled confidence about that process. It appears that the Integrity Commissioner made that decision by herself, based on her “experience”, with no apparent objective criteria, collegial review or consultation, or vetting process.  

Next, Trustee Laskin asked a question about the Independent Investigator’s impartiality. Again, the answer was hardly satisfactory. The Board heard some generic comments that the Independent Investigator represented themselves as free of conflict of interest, but there was no evidence presented of due diligence procedures to ascertain the Independent Investigator’s impartiality.

 Of course, the Independent Investigator’s impartiality is the foundation on which their report depends, and is the foundation for the Integrity Commissioner’s report. Without the Independent Investigator being impartial, the whole investigation collapses like a house of cards.

The Independent Investigator was the firm of Parker Sim LLP; the individuals fulfilling that role were the principals of that firm, Cenobar Parker and Morgan Sim. Morgan Sim has an extensive history on social media. Over 4,000 Twitter entries. I suggest someone at the TDSB take a good hard look at that social media history. As just one example, there’s an entry that she made on February 21, 2019:

“Yes!  Also @Sean Robichaud, did you read Klippenstein’s op-ed?  It is a clear denial of the lived experience of racialized lawyers full of dog whistles about how social justice warriors are allegedly coming for the Jews and other nonsense.”

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Even that single example, taken alone, raises questions about the appropriateness of choosing Morgan Sim as Independent Investigator. How can someone with a documented history of exhibiting sneering contempt and derision regarding concerns about antisemitism act as an Independent Investigator in a matter that involves a Trustee being charged with a Code of Conduct violation for expressing concerns about antisemitism? 

Think about that.

I have filed a request under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act for all records and correspondence of the TDSB Integrity Commissioner in the engagement of Parker Sim LLP, and Morgan Sim in particular, to act as Independent Investigator, and all records, notes and correspondence pertaining to the due diligence procedures completed by the Integrity Commissioner in assessing the impartiality of the Integrity Commissioner. 

Given what I have seen so far, the optics are crappy.

If the TDSB is going to look at systemic issues relating to how this matter came to a vote last night, I suggest that it start by looking at how these Independent Investigators are chosen.

Yours very truly,

Michael Teper.

Michael Teper is an Ontario lawyer, TDSB graduate, and parent of several current and graduated TDSB students. He attests that he is not and never has been an employee or independent contractor of any organization mentioned in this article, and has neither received nor will receive a fee for writing this article from anyone.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

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