As the three City Councillors for downtown Toronto, we have heard from many who are deeply concerned regarding the planned "freedom convoy" protests this weekend. We share this concern and have taken proactive steps through a motion at City Council to prepare and plan for this weekend and to strongly condemn hate and harassment. We have been in frequent communication with Toronto Police and City of Toronto officials to plan for this weekend.
It is our strong and shared view that hate speech and hate symbols are unacceptable. People have a fundamental right to protest. But as soon as this protest crosses a line where there is hate speech or symbols, harassment, or interferes with hospital and health care operations or access to healthcare it cannot be tolerated. Our city has a duty to protect those who live and work here.
Toronto Police Services have outlined their plans for this weekend. Here is a summary of what you can expect:
- Toronto Police will create and maintain a safe area around the hospitals along University Avenue, carefully controlling access to prevent disruptions while allowing hospital staff, emergency vehicles, and other essential workers to continue to reach their destinations.
- Hate symbols will be removed.
- There will be police resources dedicated specifically to focus on protecting the safety of businesses and residents nearby.
We know the situation is dynamic and we will be monitoring and staying in close contact with Toronto Police and City officials over the weekend. Please follow official channels such as @CityofToronto and @TPSOperations for the latest information. In the event of a medical emergency, fire, or any person in immediate danger, please do not hesitate to call 9-1-1. You can also share concerns and report non-emergency issues by calling the Toronto Police main line at 416-808-2222.
We're two years into the pandemic. It's been a hard time for many. Let's remember what unites us. Hatred is unacceptable. Interfering with hospitals and health operations must not be tolerated. Everyone has the right to peaceful protest.
Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam
Ward 13 - Toronto Centre
Councillor Joe Cressy
Ward 14 - Spadina Fort-York
Councillor Mike Layton
Ward 10 - University Rosedale