Editor's Note: Sue-Ann Levy reports on Toronto city council’s hasty and secretive approval of councillor Neethan Shan’s motion to designate January 29th as a “Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia” with zero input from the public. This despite a petition that within a week received 2,500 signature to designate an “anti-hate day” instead of an “anti-Islamphobia day.” But, in Toronto at least, it’s more important to take action to protect one particular group over any others.
Toronto City Councillor Neethan Shan
Council yet again proved Thursday that when it comes to social justice issues — no matter how ridiculous — they simply can’t say no. After waiving referral of the motion to executive committee earlier in the afternoon, council voted after their dinner break (when they thought no one was watching) to approve a ridiculous Islamophobia motion by council’s newest social justice warrior, Neethan Shan. Instead of sending this highly contentious motion — which proposes designating Jan. 29 as a “Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia” — to executive committee where stakeholders could provide public input, they made it a slam dunk. I might mention, although it is not the least bit surprising given his focus on pandering to the left on council, that Mayor John Tory also voted against public input.
Toronto Mayor John Tory
So much for transparency. The date, which just passed (but why should that matter when it comes to social justice causes), would commemorate the tragic shooting one year ago at the Islamic Cultural Centre in Quebec City. It was yet another effort by Shan — who ran eight times politically (and mostly lost) and quickly traded up from his TDSB trustee role to win his council seat — to become council’s official social justice warrior. That’s been his sole claim to fame since he joined council just under a year ago. (So much for the real duties of a councillor.) Not allowing public input is particularly disgraceful considering a petition calling for council to say no to an “anti-Islamophobia day” and yes to an “anti-hate day” had 2,500 signatures by Thursday afternoon. That’s a pretty resounding statement considering it was posted just one week ago by community activist Vivienne Ziner, who also wrote a letter to all councillors with a plea that they think beyond this very “exclusionary” motion. “To focus on one group only and to exclude our Aboriginals/First Nations people, our LGBTQ folk, our people of colour, other faiths and nationalities is divisive, exclusionary and quite frankly, offensive,” she wrote. She’s right. Besides, Canadians are not Islamophobic. I repeat, we are not Islamophobic. To continue lecturing us that we are — and all levels of government are to blame for this — is offensive and simply wrong.
This article was originally published on the Toronto Sun website on February 1, 2018, and can be viewed on their site by clicking here.