Queer Ontario’s Statement on “Project Marie”

November 18th, 2016 Comments off

Queer Ontario Challenges Toronto Police Service, 22 Division with Slew of Questions.

Disheartening as it is to see the police (so soon after their so called ‘regret’ to our communities for the 1981 bath raids) engaging in the types of activities we are seeing at Marie Curtis Park, one cannot help but wonder about their motivation. The police claim that they are not targeting any community although news reports indicate 95 percent of those charged were men who have consensual sex with men (MSM). It would be interesting to know how many of the undercover police officers sent in to investigate and lay charges were female.

Police say they are only responding to complaints. Now Mississauga Councilor Jim Tovey’s, whose jurisdiction includes Marie Curtis Park is having a big rally to “take back the park.” From whom? Who took the park away from them in the first place? Are men, even men who have sex with men, not allowed to use a park as a meeting place? Are parks not a public place? Who gave the go ahead for ‘Project Marie”? How much funding went into carrying out this sweep? Why was this made a priority over other policing needs? What are the actual 89 charges against the 72 people arrested? Are these charges being lumped together as a smear tactic against men who engage in sexual activity in parks?

The LGBTQ communities have a long history of resisting attempts by the police who impose upon and/or restrict spaces we have created to address our needs. From raids on bathhouses and strip clubs to arrests in parks and washrooms, the police have used discretionary law enforcement to try to curtail the sexual activity of men who desire other men. It seems that the police are allowing themselves to be agents of the prurient prejudice of the complainants. Surely whatever minor inconveniences that might have disturbed other members of the community by the presence of these fellow citizens could easily have been addressed without requiring undercover officers laying charges. Could this be a reason they wanted “stealth” vehicles?

Black Lives Matter made a valid point when they disrupted the unveiling of a police mural. Clearly, much work remains to be done. Thank you to Marcus McCann and the other lawyers offering to defend those charged. We believe that standing up to bullying is important.

QO Statement Project Marie

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Queer Ontario Statement on Bill C-51

October 20th, 2016 Comments off

October 19, 2016

 

House of Commons Standing Committee on

Public Safety and National Security

Re: Public Consultation on Canada’s National Security Framework

At the pride march which followed and celebrated the passage of a bill which incorporated the words “sexual orientation” into the Ontario Human Rights Code (1986), two groups where asked to lead that march. One group was the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Ontario (CLGRO), which is the predecessor or our group Queer Ontario (QO). The other was a group named the Right To Privacy Committee (RTPC). This symbolizes the degree of importance placed on the right to privacy in our communities.

Accomplishing this success, which was met with tremendous resistance and had been the major focus of CLGRO for 12 years, enabled us to lobby for and eventually win recognition federally in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Resistance to these accomplishments within Canadian society continues. We see Bill C-51 as an example of that resistance and an effort to undermine the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Much as we appreciate the need for the government to protect Canadian public from the threats of terrorism, we keep in mind that a major goal of those threats is to undermine our way of life and destroy those rights and freedoms for which we have so long fought. The aspects of Bill C-51 which undermine the Charter of Rights and Freedoms actually work to support the goals of the terrorists.

I’ll just provide two examples:

First, the Bill expands the definition of security threats to potentially include an extraordinary range of social justice activities.

Second, Canada’s Security Agency, CSIS, was created to erect a buffer between the collecting of information and the ability to act on that information as law enforcement due to the history of past human rights abuses duly recognized. Bill C-51 radically redefines CSIS’s role to one which bears resemblance to a secret state police force with no public accountability. This is not compatible with the most fundamental tenets of liberal democratic states and is in violation of the Canadian Charter.

We entreat the government to repeal the Act created by Bill C-51 and ensure that legislation brought forward to protect the Canadian public from threats of terrorism will also protect those rights enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Queer Ontario – Bill C-51

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You Are Invited to Queer Ontario’s Annual Strategic Planning Retreat 2016

October 3rd, 2016 Comments off

Queer Ontario is having our annual strategic planning retreat. All our welcome and encourage to participate.

 

Details:

When: Saturday, October 8th, 2016

Time: Starting: 9:30am – Ending: 3:00 pm

Location: 519 Church Street, Toronto ON M4Y 2C9

Wheelchair accessible

 

Please RSVP at info@queerontario.org

If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please email us at info@queerontario.org

 

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