Toronto’s anti-discrimination bill faces court battle

Toronto’s anti-discrimination bill faces court battle

Toronto council backs fight against Quebec’s Bill 21, calling it ‘contrary to the values of Torontonians and Canadians’

This article is more than 5 years old

This article is more than 5 years old

Toronto city council passed a unanimous motion Wednesday to reject a proposed law that would have given police the power to restrict the right to protest.

The motion called on the federal government to respect provincial jurisdiction over the province’s Bill 21, the Protecting Canada’s Anti-Discrimination Act, the City of Toronto.

Supporters say the bill would strengthen religious protections, but opponents call it an attack on freedom of speech and association.

“These are not values that we find acceptable in Toronto or in Canada,” said Toronto city councillor Mark Grimes, the resolution’s sponsor.

One of the province’s largest cities, Toronto has seen months of protest from residents, opposition politicians and prominent members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

The debate has focused on the wording of the bill, which opponents say would limit the rights of groups like the LGBT community to voice opposition.

It is not the first time Toronto has used its municipal power to block legislation the city opposes.

In March, the city issued a warning to those who planned a protest against the police after the government passed Bill C-51, the national anti-corruption law.

The city sent letters informing people they had violated the city’s anti-discrimination bylaws by holding a protest at a local police station.

In that case, the city said it was making a strong statement about discrimination against trans and gender-variant people who were the targets of police harassment, and it was standing up against a “clear and present danger” of discrimination against LGBTQ people.

Bill 21 is likely to face a long fight in court.

“I think most reasonable people would agree that it’s not a good law to give the police the power to decide who is allowed to protest,” said Peter Roff, a former city councillor and former head of anti-discrimination task force.

Toronto police say it has “serious concerns” about the bill and has asked the city for its opinions ahead of the vote. The force also said it would continue to monitor any potential changes to public

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