Legal muscle to boost squeegee bylaw in Toronto FWD

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Fri, 19 Jun 1998 17:52:44 -0700 (PDT)


http://www.canoe.ca/TorontoNews/ts.ts-06-17-0010.html
FWD  Toronto Sun - Wednesday, June 17, 1998


     LEGAL MUSCLE TO BOOST SQUEEGEE BYLAW

     Robert Nenzie, City Hall Bureau


Toronto councillors have called in their lawyers to help them crack down on
city panhandlers and squeegee kids.

Defying attempts to kill a new bylaw restricting begging -- and ignoring
"threats" from poverty activists at Metro Hall -- the emergency and
protective services committee yesterday referred the issue to the city's
legal department.

"People have had their fill of squeegee kids," fumed Councillor Denzil
Minnan-Wong, who thwarted a bid to put the bylaw on ice.

Minnan-Wong lashed out against the "veiled threats" from some homeless
advocates at the committee hearing.

"Should they get away with threatening me? When they say that, it's time to
do something."

Municipal lawyers will study the planned new legislation -- banning
panhandling near TTC stops, liquor stores and banks as well as prohibiting
squeegee kids from demanding cash from motorists -- and report back next
month.

But Aprille Rhomer, an activist who lived on the streets for seven years,
said politicians ignore the poor at Toronto's peril.

"We'll shut down every tourist attraction in this area until this matter is
dealt with," said the executive with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty.

Rhomer said panhandlers and squeegee kids will organize mass
demonstrations, harass tourists and cripple the city if the begging
clamp-down is made law.

Lawyer Stephen McCammon of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association noted
the bylaw may hit Salvation Army canvassers and veterans selling
Remembrance Day poppies.

Councillor Jack Layton was disappointed his colleagues are tackling the
symptom instead of the disease.

"It's a sad day for Toronto. We're becoming the city with a vengeance,"
Layton said.

But downtown condo owner Martin Hill lauded politicians.

"There's a real feeling out there that people are being intimidated," he said.

END FORWARD

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