Guilty Until Proven Innocent: The Real Assumption of Some Bureaucratic Tribunals, Part Five

It is supposed to be a fundamental principle of criminal law that a person is presumed innocent until proven otherwise by the State (government). This is the ideology or the rhetoric (which much of the left have swallowed). The reality is otherwise. In reality, the administrative apparatus of various organizations of the government and semi-governmental organizations assume that you are guilty first and that you have to prove your innocence; otherwise, you suffer negative consequences.

An example is the requirements that the Ontario College of Teachers imposed on me in order for me to qualify as a teacher in the province of Ontario after I moved from the province of Manitoba. To qualify as a teacher in Ontario, you must gain the approval of the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT). The OCT website explains what this organization does:

ABOUT THE COLLEGE

The Ontario College of Teachers licenses, governs and regulates Ontario’s teaching profession in the public interest. It was created by the Ontario College of Teachers Act to:

  • issue, suspend and revoke teaching certificates
  • set ethical standards and standards of practice
  • investigate and hear concerns and complaints about members
  • accredit teacher education programs and courses.

All publically funded school teachers and administrators in Ontario must be certified by us and be members of the College.

OUR COUNCIL

The College is currently transitioning to a new governance model. A Transition Supervisory Officer (TSO) has been appointed to help the College with the changes. The TSO acts in place of Council during the transition period. 

Once established, the new College Council, statutory and regulatory committees, will be established through a competency-based selection process. All committees will include an equal number of Ontario Certified Teachers and members of the public.  

OUR LEADERSHIP

Our executive team includes the Registrar and Chief Executive Officer, the Deputy Registrar and four Directors overseeing:

  • Corporate and Council Services
  • Investigations and Hearings
  • Membership Services
  • Standards of Practice and Accreditation.

To qualify as a teacher in Ontario, among other things, you have to answer a questionnaire. On the questionnaire, there are questions concerning arrest–and since I was arrested by the RCMP (the Royal Canadian Mounted Police)  (but never convicted), I was obliged to prove my innocence in various ways.

I sent, along with my explanation, a table that I had constructed concerning my experiences (and the experiences of my daughter, Francesca) with the child welfare organization Winnipeg Child and Family Services (CFS), located in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The table that I constructed about events is a revised version (always subject to change as I gather further evidence). I will post the table gradually, in the section Publications and Writings on this blog.

I outlined in earlier posts in this series that I had to justify myself via a questionnaire on the Ontario College of Teachers website (see for example Guilty Until Proven Innocent: The Real Assumption of Some Bureaucratic Tribunals, Part One). Below is a reply by the Ontario College of Teachers, specifying the conditions that I must satisfy in order to be granted a teaching certificate in Ontario–despite never having been convicted of any crime.

July 2, 2014.                                                                                                                 Application No. 653493

Fred Harris
3250 Keele Street
Toronto, ON M3M 3C5

Dear Mr. Harris, 

Re: Your Application for Certification and Membership

Thank you for your application to the Ontario College of Teachers. I note on your application that you answered yes to several questions within the Declaration portion of the application. I have reviewed the explanations that you provided on your application as well as the related documentation you submitted.

Please provide me with the following additional information: 

  • Copies of reports from the Children’s Aid Society related to any investigation of you, as well as any reports from Anishinaable Child and Family Services related to you, especially the information from the agency’s worker, Daryl [should be Darrell] Shorting. I probably made this mistake in spelling.]
  • Copies of police reports from Ashern RCMP, regarding the charges you cited in your application. As you provided no information in your application re these charges and the criminal record check report received at the College is negative, please also provide me with court documents that arose from the charges indicating the disposition of the charges.
  • Please arrange to have sent, directly to my attention, letters of reference from at least three individuals who have known you for at least five years, yet are not related to you, who are aware of the charges and incidents declared on your application and can attest to your suitability to be licensed as a teacher. These individuals should be professionals such as a doctor, lawyer, teacher, spiritual leader or employer. Please ensure the letters are sent to me directly from the referees and that they indicate in the letter their awareness of the charges and incidents.
  • Please provide me with your written, signed authorization to discuss your file with a representative of the Human Resources department in the Lakeshore School Division, Manitoba, regarding your statement that you were not fired from the school division but placed under “intensive supervision.” 
  • Please provide me with your written signed authorization to discuss your file with the principal who completed the clinical supervision.

Once I have received the additional information, I will review your file. More information may be required. Please contact me at 416-961-8800, ext. 398 if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Linda Zaks-Walker
Director of Membership Services 

There are a nunber of noteable things to observe about the above. Firstly, nformation from the Winnipeg Child and Family Services in general indicates definite bias–and yet this is what I had to provide (see the post A Personal Example of the Oppressive Nature of  Public Welfare Services for a table of my dealings with the Winnipeg Child and Family Services).

Secondly, why would she request information from Darrell Shorting? Mr. Shorting evidently considered it appropriate to judge me beforehand as guilty without a trial (why else would he claim that he knew what I had done–choked my daughter and threw her to the ground?) Furthermore, why would she expect me to have any information from Mr. Shoring? I received no information from him other than his judgement and his threat that if I did not inform the principal that I was under investigation by the Ashinaable Child and Family Services, he would inform them. Finally, and ironically, as I wrote in another post:

(As an aside, it may be that Darrell Shorting is the same person who complained about how children in First Nations communities should be kept in their own communities rather than shipped to Winnipeg under the “protection” of Winnipeg Child and Family Services (https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/cfs-is-new-residential-school-system-says-former-cfs-investigator-1.2788730 ). If so, then Mr. Shorting saw fit to falsely accuse me of choking Francesca and throwing her to the ground and contributing to Francesca’s legal separation from me. Mr. Darrell, Shorting, as the article shows, was a former CFS abuse investigator for Aninshinaabe CFS.) 

Thirdly, reference to the RCMP indicates that this institution, for bureaucratic organizations such as the Ontario College of Teachers, is beyond reproach. The “official” judgement of the RCMP is more important than anything I wrote or provided as evidence of the oppressive nature of its function. 

Fourthly, the requirement that I had to have three references that attested to my suitability to teach assumes once again that I, a citizen, am less worthy than others because I was charged (but never convicted). The fact that the charges were dropped without any explanation is irrelevant for the Ontario College of Teachers. The RCMP proceeds to charge me, and then drops the charges several months later–and yet I still had to prove my “innocence.” This is the real world of “law,”, not the fantasy world of so-called socialists like Herman Rosenfeld, who talk of “transforming the police” without even inquiring into the real nature of the police and the courts.   

Fifthly, letters of reference from “professionals” indicates another bias; workers who are less than “professionals” are implicitly considered unworthy of providing adequate, accurate and relevant information. Such arrogance and bias. 

Sixthly, a possible letter of reference from an “employer” indicates another bias–to be an employer is to be elevated beyond reproach–as if the view of an employer were tantamount to a statement of the truth whereas the statement of, say, a custodian, were expected to be a lie. 

Seventhly, although I hardly had any problem with the Ontario College of Teachers dicussing my file with the principal, Neil MacNeil (I have written several posts that contain Mr. MacNeil’s clincial evaluation and my critical response–see for example A Principal’s Evaluation of My Teaching Basic French, or: How to Oppress a Worker Through Performance Evaluation, Part One   ), it is instructive that it wanted to consult with the principal–in this context, a representative of the employer. 

After having jumped through the many hoops required, I was–finally–“allowed” to teach in Ontario. I simply did not bother to do so since working as a teacher for any particular employer necessarily involves oppression in one form or another–and even more so initially as a substitute teacher. I was able to do so since I was receiving disability benefits from the Manitoba Teachers’ Society Disability Benefits program–something like a guaranteed basic income for those who are “disabled.”

Conclusions

In effect, despite never having been convicted and never having been fired, I had to prove in fact that I was “worthy” of being a teacher in Ontario.

The social-democratic left generally ignore such oppressive experiences. Its idealization of “public education” and “public ownership” simply neglects the oppressive nature of much public education and much public organizations. By doing so, it of course plays into the hands of the right.

Why do the social-democratic left ignore such oppressive experiences? Is there really any wonder why there is a disconnect between regular people and the social-democratic left? Is there really any wonder why some would vote for the right?

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