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Should we ban demonstrations near places of worship ?” /></p>
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<p class=Mayor Steven Del Duca justifies his proposal by citing vandalism and protests targeting synagogues and a bomb threat targeting a mosque in recent months.

  • Michel Bolduc (View profile)Michel Bolduc

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The mayor of Vaughan, a suburb of Toronto, Steven Del Duca, wants to ban “hateful” demonstrations in his city within 100 meters of places of worship, schools, daycares and hospitals, saying he has “had enough” of acts of intimidation and vandalism in recent months.

Anyone violating the new municipal bylaw would be subject to a fine of up to $100,000.

Mr. Del Duca must present a motion on this subject before the municipal council. He says he has the support of York Regional Police Chief Jim MacSween.

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Vaughan Mayor Steven Del Duca says the right to protest is not unlimited when it actually involves inciting hatred.

The mayor encourages other cities across the country, as well as the federal and provincial governments to follow suit, to protect citizens.

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I hope other levels of government will take this threat seriously and take action as well.

A quote from Steven Del Duca, Mayor of Vaughan

The mayor did not specify who would determine whether a protest is hateful or what criteria would be used to reach such a conclusion.

If his motion is adopted by the city council, officials will be tasked with developing the guidelines for the bylaw, Del Duca said.

Vaughan's mayor cites a series of vandalism and protests targeting synagogues and a bomb threat targeting a mosque in recent months in his city as justification for a new bylaw.

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For him, these events represent an alarm bell. He affirms that the right to demonstrate is not unlimited when it comes to incitement to hatred.

He maintains that the security zones around places of worship and schools that he proposes in Vaughan would not be unique. He gives the example of the federal law which prohibits demonstrations blocking access to hospitals.

He also mentions Bill 86 in Ontario, which aimed to ban protests near religious establishments in the wake of the attack on a Muslim family in London.

The number of hate crimes in Toronto is up 93% since the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, 2023, compared to the same period a year earlier, says Toronto police chief Myron Demkiw.

It reports 24 protest-related arrests and the filing of 30 charges since October 7, 2023.

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