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Andrew Brett is a queer activist in Toronto.
Follow him on Twitter: @andrewbrett
Ostensibly searching for evidence of "hate speech" at Toronto's Dyke March, anti-gay city councillor Giorgio Mammoliti videotaped participants along the entire route on Saturday afternoon. See the video of the creepfest at the end of this post.
Mammoliti has been a leading force in attempts to cut city funding for Pride Toronto, after allowing Queers Against Israeli Apartheid to march in last year's parade. (The City Manager subsequently ruled in Pride Toronto's favour, because the phrase "Israeli apartheid" does not violate the city's anti-discrimination policies.)
Just one month ago, Israel lobby groups in Canada were celebrating the decision of Pride Toronto to prohibit the participation of the group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) at the 2010 Pride parade. The group has marched in the parade since 2008 in response to a public relations campaign to rebrand Israel as a safe haven for queers in the Middle East, effectively pinkwashing the occupation and Israel's apartheid practices –- which deny rights to queer Palestinians.
At last week’s national general meeting of the Canadian Federation of Students, delegates rejected a series of motions put forward by members participating in a coordinated defederation campaign against the student organization.
Months ago, I wrote about workshops the Conservative Party was organizing across the country, training their members on how to defund progressive campus groups like Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) and defederate from the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS).
A Christian student group at a Toronto university is in damage control after word of an anti-gay event they had planned this week spread across campus.
Earlier this week, Campus for Christ advertised on their website and e-mail list that a "Prayer for the Homosexual Community at York" would take place this Thursday. When LGBT students became aware of this event, they called for a counter-protest on campus at the same time.
In response, the Christian group cancelled their event and issued this clarification over e-mail:
You may have heard about the cases of Suad Hagi Mohamud, Faraz Siddiqui, or Abousfian Abdelrazik. All Canadian citizens who were recently detained overseas, and received little help from the Canadian government to get back home. In some cases, Canadian consular officials actually worked against their interests.
Kudos to the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto for the most galling installment of irony this week.
In a full-page ad in Tuesday’s Toronto Star, the organization proclaimed that filmmakers, actors and writers who had signed on to the Toronto Declaration in protest of the Toronto International Film Festival’s celebratory spotlight on Tel Aviv, were –- among other things –- “blacklisting” Israeli films.
In fact, the Toronto Declaration states, “We do not protest the individual Israeli filmmakers included in City to City, nor do we in any way suggest that Israeli films should be unwelcome at TIFF.”
As if the story about former Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant's alleged hit-and-run with a cyclist couldn't get any more bizarre, RT LeChow noticed that Mr. Bryant's Wikipedia entry was edited at midnight today to add that he is an "avid cyclist" and founded the activist group "Shared Highways" -- an organisation that doesn't seem to have any Google footprint.
At its executive committee meeting this week, the Canadian Jewish Congress discussed how to respond to a comment on the Toronto Star website about its chief executive officer, Bernie Farber. What might have seemed like a trivial matter resulted in a clarification and public apology from the Star’s public editor.
It all goes back to an article by Star writer Antonia Zerbisias on July 1st. The outspoken columnist wrote about attempts by Zionist groups to stifle freedom of expression, from trying to cancel funding for an academic conference at York University to successfully banning George Galloway from Canada.