[Hpn] Today's unacceptable curtailment of democratic rights at Toronto City Hall

Graeme Bacque gbacque@colosseum.com
Wed, 02 Feb 2005 16:13:29 -0500

Sent to all members of Toronto City Council this afternoon.

Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Dear Mayor Miller and Toronto City Council members,

This afternoon I went to City Hall with the intention of watching the
debate and vote on the proposed bylaw that would ban homeless people
from sleeping  on City Hall property.

Upon my arrival I was prevented from entering the building by security,
for my alleged role in Tuesday's confrontational but nonviolent protest
against this latest deplorable attack on our most vulnerable citizens.
At this time I left the area, then returned shortly thereafter
accompanied by a number of other people, at which point my ban from
today's session of Council was reaffirmed. My companions (some of whom
had also participated in Tuesday's demonstration) were all permitted to
enter the building.

I was not arrested or charged with any offense as a result of Tuesday's
peaceful show of dissent, nor was I issued  a trespass letter or any
other formal curtailment of my right to access City Hall. Yet,
apparently  acting on Council's orders,  security chose to selectively
bar me (and possibly others) from attending the remainder of this
specific session of Council. This appears to be based entirely upon  my
strong, publicly expressed point of view on the primary issue being
debated at this session.

Council's overall approach to this issue (the proposed anti-sleeping
bylaw) along with its effort to repress and punish the resulting
peaceful dissent are unacceptable in a supposed democracy and only serve
as a clear indication this Council is unwilling to listen to or respect
the wishes of citizens, or to honour the fundamental principle of
freedom of speech.

On that basis I am demanding that Council formally apologize to me and
to anyone else whose basic democratic rights were curtailed in this
arbitrary and needless fashion. I would also urge you all to show some
honesty for once in your lives by taking a good hard look at your own
behaviour before rushing to condemn ordinary, caring citizens for theirs.


Graeme Bacque
319 Dundas St. E. #408
Toronto, Ontario M5A 2A2
Ph: (416) 368-3366
Fax: (416) 368-5984
E-mail: gbacque@colosseum.com

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