Saturday, July 27, 2013

Chris Spence's 'Performance': The Reviews Are In

I realize that the subject of Chris Spence is likely of little or no interest to readers of this blog outside of the immediate area, but I cannot apologize for writing what is now my tenth entry on the disgraced former Director of the Toronto District School Board. My anger at his betrayal of education remains unabated, despite the fact that I have been retired from teaching for several years now.

As I observed yesterday, Spence's first steps on his 'redemption and comeback tour' left much to be desired, given the general tone of self-pity and self-justification that permeated his interview in The Toronto Star.

I was pleased to discover this morning that I am not alone in that assessment. In a column entitled Chris Spence seems only somewhat sorry, the Star's Rosie DiManno is unconvinced of the fallen Spence's contrition. Referring to him as a situational fraud, she observes that his disingenuous and blame-shifting spin on events can’t go [sic] be allowed to stand as mitigating epitaph to a career in ashes, reminding us of a rat-a-tat of exculpatory factors he offered during the interview, all of which, in my mind, amounts to a slightly more elaborate 'the dog ate my homework' excuse offered by students over the years.

Interviews at The Globe and Mail and The National Post show Spence offering similar justifications and rationalizations for his 'errors'. Indeed, he goes so far as to proclaim, despite much evidence to the contrary, that he is absolutely not” a serial plagiarist and “never” deliberately lifted any uncredited passages from other people’s work into his own.

The reviews of their former Director are decidedly mixed at the Toronto District School Board. As reported by Louise Brown, Trustee Jerry Chadwick believes that young people still need people like him who believe in them, while Trustee Sheila Ward had this to say:

So he was busy ... “What’s that got to do with plagiarism?” She said she thinks Spence can find a productive role in society in time, but warned, “I don’t think his comments yesterday moved that forward.”

For those interested, there is a more general assessment of the challenges faced by public figures on the road to rehabilitation by the Star's Laura Kane, who wonders whether people like Spence and Adam Giambrone are motivated more by a thirst for power than they are by a desire for redemption.

In any event, whatever the ultimate motive, most, I suspect, would agree that whatever public relations firm Chris Spence has hired has a lot more work to do with their client before he is ready for prime-time.


  1. It's convenient to have underlings, Lorne. When things go wrong, you can assign blame to them.

    1. The higher up on the food chain one is, Owen, the more willing people seem to be to try to sacrifice others.