Friday, July 23, 2021
Dear Mayor Tory,
We believe the Moss Park encampment will be moved and acted upon in the weeks ahead. This clearing comes on the heels of two days of escalating tensions between Toronto Police, encampment residents, and their supporters.
In advance of this imminent clearing, we demand an end to the violence and extreme show of force. There is absolutely no need for batons, pepper spray or even guns, not when the work should be done by the City’s Streets to Home staff and other outreach workers.
We call upon you to immediately adopt the Path Forward recommendations contained in the open letter submitted to you on July 9. It was endorsed by over 207 organizations and individuals calling for a human rights approach in resolving the conflicts that are emerging out of the encampments.
We are also disturbed to hear from members of the media that they were obstructed from reporting on these actions. Any suppression of the press and their right to access the events directly and in-person is undemocratic and unconstitutional.
We all want the same outcomes – an end to homelessness and safe housing for everyone. The escalating tension and police violence run completely counter to that outcome.
Mayor Tory, your approach to encampments does not effectively resolve the challenge we face, as you are only moving people experiencing homelessness from the parks to laneways, under bridges or into another park. Absolutely no one voted for this extreme show of force that keeps happening under your authority.
We all recognize that a tent will never be a suitable replacement for a home but an alternative approach must be taken, as we can not accept more violence and conflict.
We are asking you to work with us to build a City that we can truly be proud of. Before it’s too late, we desperately urge you to adopt a nonviolent approach to ending the encampments.