A Toronto City Councillor is asking staff to look into how the city can prevent ‘hate sponsored rallies’ from taking place on city or provincial property.
Ahead of Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Councillor James Pasternak is asking staff to look at options on how the city can prevent these rallies from taking place on city or provincial properties in Toronto.
“We don’t want to be an enabler of these hate rallies in any way,” the councillor said. “We would prefer that they not be on city property or city institutions.”
Earlier this year, there were instances of violence in front of City Hall where anti-racism demonstrators clashed with far-right anti-immigration groups.
In February demonstrators gathered in front of Masjid Toronto downtown, calling for a ban on Muslims and Islam in Canada.
Then in July, there was outrage when a controversial Canadian group was able to use space inside a Toronto Public Library to host a memorial for a lawyer with ties to holocaust deniers.
The Ward 10 Councillor is asking staff to look into what resources are available to both Toronto police and the City in prohibiting rallies that incite hate or violence on their properties.
“If the city stands for something and diversity really is our strength, then we have to back it up with the full force of the law,” said the York Centre Councillor.
“We have to back it up with the might of our legal department, the might of or police, the might of our municipal licensing office and the might of our criminal code.”
Councillor Pasternak says this may also mean getting both provincial and federal governments involved.
“We may need legislation passed in Ottawa to amend the criminal code to make it easier for us to stop these kinds of hate rallies,” he said.
In a written reply to Councillor Pasternak’s request, the deputy city manager says a response will be provided to City Council on Nov. 7.