Dear Editor,


On Saturday, September 15, I woke up and made my way to the Ontario Legislature, determined to express my utter disgust with Bill 31. A rare weekend sitting had been called to expedite the Bill's passage.

It was tense.

After physically turning his back to the opposition for the duration of the proceedings, Premier Doug Ford finally wrapped up his chat with the MPPs sitting behind him, and the Conservatives moved to adjourn.

Shouting erupted as ‘the people’ started to file out. (Some were escorted out earlier for silently waving their hands in support of the petitions being presented to the busy Premier.)

Following several warnings, I was eventually arrested and hauled-off in handcuffs (along with an equally determined woman I met outside) for peacefully refusing to leave the public gallery. As the Legislative Security Officers hoisted me to my feet, one said: “We represent the Crown, you have insulted the Queen.”

My punishment: aside from being charged with a criminal offense, I am banned from Queens Park (including the lawn out front) for the rest of my life. So, at 35 years of age, I will never again be granted access to the democratic deliberations of the Queen’s representatives.

I could ask for rare, temporary, special permission; but that would be like asking a Premier for a referendum after he rigs your city’s election at the last minute. That’s our Mayor’s response.

Prime Minister Trudeau has the ability (under s.90 or “disallowance”) to override Ford’s move, but he has stated that he won’t. His reasoning is lame and rooted in self-interest, as usual. No ‘listening tour’ required this time, I guess. (Although, I’d rather not be consulted, than be consulted again and again in bad faith.)

To be sure, a judge has ruled that Ford’s bill “substantially interfered with both the candidate’s and the voter’s right to freedom of expression as guaranteed under section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.” And, to those in the cheap seats: Ford has now chosen to “suspend” (through the notwithstanding clause) your charter, all to gerrymander Toronto’s now illegitimate election.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is no leader.

The officer, in an attempt to persuade me to leave willingly, said: “If you are arrested, you will get a criminal record, and you won’t be able to cross the border.”

I stopped visiting the U.S. a while ago out of principle, but things are starting to look the same over here.

Alykhan Pabani
Toronto

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Comments

If there was any insult to the Queen, it is this disgustingly anti-democratic, grudge inspired, manipulation of free and fair electoral process that is the real insult. Parliaments are rarely the bastions of decorum the guards would have us think. What happens on the floor of the legislature right now is an insult to Ontario's electorate and an incitement to riot.

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