Ask City Council to Refer Motion Seeking Limits on Freedom of Expression

Councillors James Pasternak and Brad Bradford have a motion going to City Council this Wednesday, May 22, 2024. The motion is asking the Attorney General of Ontario to introduce legislation to create “safety zones” to limit where protests are allowed.

If ⅔ of City Councillors vote in favour of this motion, it will pass without a chance for community engagement on it. If it gets less than ⅔ support, it would be referred to the Economic and Community Development Committee (ECDC) where there would be an opportunity for public consultations and for community residents to make deputations and share feedback with Councillors on the Committee.

We are asking you to:

  1. Sign the letter to be sent to all members of City Council and the Mayor, asking them that this motion be referred to ECDC so that they can hear from constituents about it. (Click on the "start writing" button. It will bring up a template letter.)

  2. Contact your Councillor. We only need 1/3 of council members to agree to send this draconian motion to committee for further review. Many Councillors may not have read the motion as it was recently added to a large agenda. Ask your Councillor to vote against the motion so that it will be referred to committee which allows for community consultations. If the motion is passed, Toronto City Council will be endorsing action which would significantly curtail our freedom of expression. Preventing consultation on it would be another way our democratic rights are being eroded.

  3. If you belong to, or have contacts in civic organizations, legal groups and/or unions, encourage them to write or contact their Councillors and the Mayor. If this protest ban were to be put in place, it would negatively affect them too.

Of course, we’d prefer that the motion be abandoned altogether, but as a first step we’re aiming to convince Councillors that there should at least be community-based consultations.