Ford quietly giving CCC, run by Ford ally Charles McVety, the power to grant degrees
McVety and his school have a history of promoting Islamophobic, transphobic and homophobic views
QUEEN’S PARK – Laura Mae Lindo (Kitchener Centre), the Official Opposition NDP’s Anti-Racism critic, is exposing the fact that Doug Ford is planning to give Canada Christian College, run by political ally Charles McVety, the right to call itself a university and award degrees. The troubling measure is buried in the government’s omnibus Bill 213 (Schedule 2), which is supposedly about helping small business during COVID-19.
McVety has a longstanding and ongoing record of Islamophobic, transphobic and homophobic bigotry. He has made horrific Islamophobic comments. He has led hateful campaigns targeting 2SLGBTQIA+ people, and was once taken off the air after the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council found his show made “malevolent, insidious and conspiratorial” remarks about the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. He denies evolution as well as the climate crisis, calling carbon pricing “the Anti-Christ.”
He is also a political ally of Doug Ford, having supported Ford’s campaign for premier. Favours McVety has received from Ford while Ford has been premier include provincial funding for the Jesus in the City parade, which typically wouldn’t quality for funding because of its religious content, and the premier’s personal attendance at McVety’s Canada Christian College Christmas party.
“Doug Ford is using the cover of the pandemic to hand out political favours to his far-right friend Charles McVety, who we know is racist, homophobic, transphobic and Islamophobic,” said Lindo Tuesday at Queen’s Park. “Doug Ford’s choice to give this man and the institution he leads more power, authority and legitimacy is incredibly hurtful for people. Particularly for religious minorities and for queer community members, who have been repeatedly targeted by his bigotry.
“The post-secondary community also has the right to be horrified. Ontario has one of the very best post-secondary education systems in the world. Attacking and undermining its integrity and credibility does damage to our great province’s excellent reputation.”
McVety’s Canada Christian College has hosted notorious Islamophobe Geert Wilders. At the time McVety welcomed Wilders by saying he would warn Canadians about Islam’s threat of ‘demographic jihad.’ In its submission as part of its efforts to gain university status, Canada Christian College cited a document that includes a student code of conduct forbidding “practices that are Biblically condemned” including “sexual sins”.
“Doug Ford must not be allowed to sneak through this special favour to his bigoted friend who wants to spread more hate and division, and discriminate against Ontarians. This is an affront to our shared values as Ontarians, and we must stand together against the hatred and extremism that Mr. Ford’s friend Mr. McVety represents,” said Lindo.
Lindo will be will be asking the Ontario Human Rights Commission for guidance on this matter and intends to raise it with the province’s Integrity Commissioner.
The Canada Christian College lost its right to grant BA and MA degrees in 1983 under Conservative Premier Bill Davis. The college had previously come under fire after a series of scandals involving the college and its founder, TV preacher Elmer McVety, Charles’ father, including a March 8, 1976, Toronto Star article revealing accusations that donations meant for overseas charitable relief went into Elmer McVety’s pocket instead.
- Charles McVety is the president of Canada Christian College. He is also a political ally and friend of Doug Ford.
- McVety is notorious for his longstanding and ongoing Islamophobic, transphobic and homophobic bigotry.
- In 2018, McVety led transphobic efforts to remove gender identity from the public school curriculum, and campaigned for Doug Ford based on Ford’s pledge to do the same.
- McVety backed Doug Ford’s leadership bid.
- While campaigning for Ford in 2018, McVety said teaching creationism in Ontario schools “sounds like a good idea.”
- In 2019, the Ford government was obliged to defend a Celebrate Ontario grant given to McVety’s Jesus in the City Parade, which would normally not be eligible for such grants due to its religious content.
- In 2011, McVety invited the notoriously anti-Islam hatemonger Geert Wilders to speak at the college to warn Canadians about what McVety called “the threat of demographic jihad.”
- In 2010, McVety’s bigotry got him dropped by Christian broadcaster CTS, after the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council ruled that his hateful comments on his TV show violated broadcasting codes.
- In 1983, the Davis PC government took away Canada Christian College’s right to grant degrees with the Degree Granting Act, which was enacted to crack down on private “degree mills” that promised BAs or BScs that were worthless as recognized credentials.
- A front page Toronto Star article on August 12, 1982, cited a ministry backgrounder identifying the college as one of four schools that would no longer be able to grant degrees as a result of the Act, with ministry officials describing the college’s BA and MA degrees as “misleading.”
- The college had previously come under fire after a series of scandals involving the college and its founder, TV preacher Elmer McVety (Charles’ father), including a March 8 1976 front page Toronto Star article outlining accusations that donations meant for overseas charitable relief went into Elmer McVety’s pocket instead.
- The college was barred from granting degrees until 1999, when PC MPP and former Baptist pastor Frank Klees — also a Doug Ford supporter — sponsored the private bill that legally reconstituted the college, and allowed it to grant theological degrees (but not BAs or BScs). McVety made a $1,000 donation to Klees’ re-election campaign that same year, and later backed Klees’ 2009 PC Party leadership run.
- The Harris PC government loosened the restrictions on university credentials by repealing the Degree Granting Act in 2001, and replacing it with the Post-secondary Education Choice and Excellence Act, which established the Post-secondary Education Quality Assessment Board (PEQAB) as the guardian of the integrity of Ontario’s university credentials. The Harris government had previously disbanded the Ontario Council on University Affairs in 1996. Since then, private colleges have regularly pursued private legislation to enable them to grant non-theological degrees like BAs, or to use the word “university” in their name.
- The College is currently undergoing a major expansion of its campus in Whitby, which moved to its current location in 2018. A centrepiece of the development is the “Truth Project.”
- Canada Christian College has been seeking to have PEQAB endorse its new degree-granting authority and “university” status. It has submitted a document that includes a code of conduct forbidding “practices that are Biblically condemned,” including “sexual sins.” The code of conduct refers to Biblical passages such as 1 Timothy 1:10, which is commonly understood to condemn homosexuality.