Workers clear away the remnants of encampment at Trinity Bellwoods as Mayor John Tory faces criticism over Tuesday’s events

The aftermath of a tumultuous day could still be seen at Trinity Bellwoods on Wednesday morning, as heavy machinery and hazmat-clad workers cleared away the remnants of a homeless camp — still surrounded by the tall metal fencing built around the remaining occupants and hundreds of protesters on Tuesday, while guarded by dozens of police and security officers along the perimeter.Meanwhile, at city hall, Mayor John Tory faced a flurry of criticisms over how the city handled the clearings, and questions about the size of the enforcement contingent and cost to taxpayers.He told reporters he stood by Tuesday’s operation and that the heavy police presence and fencing were there “to protect the safety of city workers . . . who were there to speak to the remaining people experiencing homelessness” from large groups of protesters.But he said he would support a review of the actions taken, including concerns over preventing journalists from covering the evictions.“I would ask that that be done and I’m sure it’s being done without me asking.”The action on Tuesday began early in the morning, with hundreds of police and security officers under the direction of the city’s office of emergency management. A police drone hovered overhead throughout the day, which culminated in police in tactical gear forcing the remaining protesters and media from the fenced-in southern camp, in the early evening hours. Officers then lined the edges of the fence-line, as protesters shook the walls and shouted at them inside. Earlier in the day, when protesters were still inside the camp, some pushed down the fencing and dozens rushed inside.At Bellwoods, on Wednesday, things were quieter. While the regular thrum of the park carried on — tennis matches, dog walks and kids playing in the playground — a half dozen workers clad in white plastic suits dismantled one of the few tents outside the metal fencing, as others worked inside. The no longer inhabited green tent was slung with burlap, and two pairs of running shoes still lay outside its zippered entrance, alongside a deep blue folding chair and what appeared to be the debris from a small campfire.Through the open entry of the tent, a trespass notice on city letterhead was visible inside. Residents of several city encampments, including Bellwoods, received the latest set of notices earlier this month. The city has labelled the clearings as necessary, citing health and safety worries for occupants, the impending return of summer camps and fire risks. Between June 11 and June 20, the city said it received reports of nine fires in camps across Toronto, three considered “controlled” and six “uncontrolled.”Beyond the fencing, machines crunched pieces of wood into one of several large, blue metal dumpsters. Some tents were still intact as the park came to life. Yellow tape flapped in the wind, warning of hazardous materials inside, as dozens of police sat on benches overseeing the clean-up efforts.Susan Gibson, one of the roughly two dozen people forced out of the park encampment yesterday — the city said 12 had accepted indoor shelter spaces, while roughly 10 had left to other locations by 7:44 p.m. and eight were still mulling over options — stood quietly by the green tent as it was taken down.She’d come back to the park to see if she could retrieve any of the things she’d left behind, she said, in the scramble of Tuesday’s clearing. She was rebuffed by security when she asked to enter the enclosed space, she said — and decided, instead, to try to climb over the fence and was ticketed for trespassing.She showed the Star a green offence notice she’d been handed, which cited the trespass act and directed her to pay $65 for failing to leave the premises when directed. She’d stayed last night outside of the shelter system, she said, as volunteers had arranged for a private hotel room. She was hoping, on Wednesday morning, that she could hold onto it another night — but didn’t have plans otherwise.She worried that the hotel shelters the city had set up wouldn’t last as COVID-19 infections started to drop again — expressing fear about being then funnelled into the older congregate shelter sites.“This city has the resources and the money to do so much better,” she said.With files from Jenna Moon and Jennifer Pagliaro

Workers clear away the remnants of encampment at Trinity Bellwoods as Mayor John Tory faces criticism over Tuesday’s events

The aftermath of a tumultuous day could still be seen at Trinity Bellwoods on Wednesday morning, as heavy machinery and hazmat-clad workers cleared away the remnants of a homeless camp — still surrounded by the tall metal fencing built around the remaining occupants and hundreds of protesters on Tuesday, while guarded by dozens of police and security officers along the perimeter.

Meanwhile, at city hall, Mayor John Tory faced a flurry of criticisms over how the city handled the clearings, and questions about the size of the enforcement contingent and cost to taxpayers.

He told reporters he stood by Tuesday’s operation and that the heavy police presence and fencing were there “to protect the safety of city workers . . . who were there to speak to the remaining people experiencing homelessness” from large groups of protesters.

But he said he would support a review of the actions taken, including concerns over preventing journalists from covering the evictions.

“I would ask that that be done and I’m sure it’s being done without me asking.”

The action on Tuesday began early in the morning, with hundreds of police and security officers under the direction of the city’s office of emergency management. A police drone hovered overhead throughout the day, which culminated in police in tactical gear forcing the remaining protesters and media from the fenced-in southern camp, in the early evening hours. Officers then lined the edges of the fence-line, as protesters shook the walls and shouted at them inside. Earlier in the day, when protesters were still inside the camp, some pushed down the fencing and dozens rushed inside.

At Bellwoods, on Wednesday, things were quieter. While the regular thrum of the park carried on — tennis matches, dog walks and kids playing in the playground — a half dozen workers clad in white plastic suits dismantled one of the few tents outside the metal fencing, as others worked inside. The no longer inhabited green tent was slung with burlap, and two pairs of running shoes still lay outside its zippered entrance, alongside a deep blue folding chair and what appeared to be the debris from a small campfire.

Through the open entry of the tent, a trespass notice on city letterhead was visible inside. Residents of several city encampments, including Bellwoods, received the latest set of notices earlier this month. The city has labelled the clearings as necessary, citing health and safety worries for occupants, the impending return of summer camps and fire risks. Between June 11 and June 20, the city said it received reports of nine fires in camps across Toronto, three considered “controlled” and six “uncontrolled.”

Beyond the fencing, machines crunched pieces of wood into one of several large, blue metal dumpsters. Some tents were still intact as the park came to life. Yellow tape flapped in the wind, warning of hazardous materials inside, as dozens of police sat on benches overseeing the clean-up efforts.

Susan Gibson, one of the roughly two dozen people forced out of the park encampment yesterday — the city said 12 had accepted indoor shelter spaces, while roughly 10 had left to other locations by 7:44 p.m. and eight were still mulling over options — stood quietly by the green tent as it was taken down.

She’d come back to the park to see if she could retrieve any of the things she’d left behind, she said, in the scramble of Tuesday’s clearing. She was rebuffed by security when she asked to enter the enclosed space, she said — and decided, instead, to try to climb over the fence and was ticketed for trespassing.

She showed the Star a green offence notice she’d been handed, which cited the trespass act and directed her to pay $65 for failing to leave the premises when directed. She’d stayed last night outside of the shelter system, she said, as volunteers had arranged for a private hotel room. She was hoping, on Wednesday morning, that she could hold onto it another night — but didn’t have plans otherwise.

She worried that the hotel shelters the city had set up wouldn’t last as COVID-19 infections started to drop again — expressing fear about being then funnelled into the older congregate shelter sites.

“This city has the resources and the money to do so much better,” she said.

With files from Jenna Moon and Jennifer Pagliaro

Source : Toronto Star More   

What's Your Reaction?

like
0
dislike
0
love
0
funny
0
angry
0
sad
0
wow
0

Next Article

Erin O’Toole frames coming election as a choice between Conservatives and ‘four parties on the left’

OTTAWA — Erin O’Toole ended his first session of Parliament as Opposition leader Wednesday where he began: railing against what he calls “cancel culture” and the erasure of Canadian history. As he spoke out against cancelling Canada Day celebrations in the aftermath of the discovery of the graves of 215 Indigenous children, O’Toole also sought to frame the coming federal election as a stark choice for Canadians: his party as the defender of Canada, or a coalition of the other parties leading the nation down a dangerous path. “There are not five choices for Canadians,” O’Toole told the final meeting with his MPs and senators before the summer break.“There are two: Canada’s Conservatives on one side, and the Liberal-NDP-Green-Bloc Quebecois coalition on the other.”O’Toole began his tenure as leader of the Conservatives with a similar speech just nine months ago, when Parliament formally resumed after being thrust into disarray by the COVID-19 pandemic. The sitting began after a summer of protests over systemic racism and the reigniting of a debate over statues and honours given to former Canadian prime ministers and others who presided over the residential school system that’s created such long-standing damage in Indigenous communities.The debate erupted anew with the recent discovery of the unmarked graves of 215 children who attended residential school in Kamloops, B.C. More statues have been taken down as schools and other institutions have changed names amid intense demands for a faster pace on the reconciliation efforts by the federal government.The road to Indigenous reconciliation, said O’Toole, does not involve tearing Canada down. Injustices in Canada’s past or present are too often seized upon by “a small group of activist voices” who attack the very idea of Canada itself, he said.“Let’s acknowledge where we fall short. Let’s ensure we do not forget or cover it up,” he said.“But let’s also channel the pain of a Canada falling short to build up the country and not tear it down.”How Canada will build itself back up after the COVID-19 pandemic will be a central ballot box question come the next election, which is widely expected to be called within months.The way things stand presently, O’Toole warned, Canada is barely being given a choice. “We are a diverse nation. We disagree. We can have different visions of the future. That’s what a democracy should be,” he said.“But that debate isn’t there. It’s been stitched up. Four parties on the left — the Liberals, the NDP, the Greens and the Bloc Québécois — give the illusion of choice and debate but there is no such thing.”To pass legislation in a minority Parliament, the Liberals have had to find allies among the other parties, and in recent days they’ve been ticking items of their priority agenda. Late Tuesday night, a bill that would legislate targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions passed the Commons with the support of the NDP and Bloc Québécois. Earlier this week, a more controversial bill that updates Canada’s broadcasting rules for the digital era also headed off to the Senate, again with the support of those two parties. The Liberals have framed the Conservatives’ opposition to those and other pieces of government business as the actions of a party standing in the way of a progress, a theme Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his ministers are expected to continue to push over the summer months. That obstruction isn’t just ideological, Trudeau and his ministers have also alleged, but practical, leading to a Parliament that’s bogged down and taking too long to get anything done. “We have seen a level of obstructionism and toxicity in the House that is of real concern,” Trudeau said Tuesday outside his Rideau Cottage residence. The New Democrats have a slightly different point of view. In social media videos posted in recent days, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has sought to make the case that it’s his party that’s making anything work at all, pointing to positive changes it has promoted for numerous pandemic support programs. “When you send New Democrats to Ottawa, we fight for you,” Singh said.Stephanie Levitz is an Ottawa-based reporter covering federal politics for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @StephanieLevitz

Erin O’Toole frames coming election as a choice between Conservatives and ‘four parties on the left’

OTTAWA — Erin O’Toole ended his first session of Parliament as Opposition leader Wednesday where he began: railing against what he calls “cancel culture” and the erasure of Canadian history.

As he spoke out against cancelling Canada Day celebrations in the aftermath of the discovery of the graves of 215 Indigenous children, O’Toole also sought to frame the coming federal election as a stark choice for Canadians: his party as the defender of Canada, or a coalition of the other parties leading the nation down a dangerous path.

“There are not five choices for Canadians,” O’Toole told the final meeting with his MPs and senators before the summer break.

“There are two: Canada’s Conservatives on one side, and the Liberal-NDP-Green-Bloc Quebecois coalition on the other.”

O’Toole began his tenure as leader of the Conservatives with a similar speech just nine months ago, when Parliament formally resumed after being thrust into disarray by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The sitting began after a summer of protests over systemic racism and the reigniting of a debate over statues and honours given to former Canadian prime ministers and others who presided over the residential school system that’s created such long-standing damage in Indigenous communities.

The debate erupted anew with the recent discovery of the unmarked graves of 215 children who attended residential school in Kamloops, B.C. More statues have been taken down as schools and other institutions have changed names amid intense demands for a faster pace on the reconciliation efforts by the federal government.

The road to Indigenous reconciliation, said O’Toole, does not involve tearing Canada down.

Injustices in Canada’s past or present are too often seized upon by “a small group of activist voices” who attack the very idea of Canada itself, he said.

“Let’s acknowledge where we fall short. Let’s ensure we do not forget or cover it up,” he said.

“But let’s also channel the pain of a Canada falling short to build up the country and not tear it down.”

How Canada will build itself back up after the COVID-19 pandemic will be a central ballot box question come the next election, which is widely expected to be called within months.

The way things stand presently, O’Toole warned, Canada is barely being given a choice.

“We are a diverse nation. We disagree. We can have different visions of the future. That’s what a democracy should be,” he said.

“But that debate isn’t there. It’s been stitched up. Four parties on the left — the Liberals, the NDP, the Greens and the Bloc Québécois — give the illusion of choice and debate but there is no such thing.”

To pass legislation in a minority Parliament, the Liberals have had to find allies among the other parties, and in recent days they’ve been ticking items of their priority agenda.

Late Tuesday night, a bill that would legislate targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions passed the Commons with the support of the NDP and Bloc Québécois.

Earlier this week, a more controversial bill that updates Canada’s broadcasting rules for the digital era also headed off to the Senate, again with the support of those two parties.

The Liberals have framed the Conservatives’ opposition to those and other pieces of government business as the actions of a party standing in the way of a progress, a theme Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his ministers are expected to continue to push over the summer months.

That obstruction isn’t just ideological, Trudeau and his ministers have also alleged, but practical, leading to a Parliament that’s bogged down and taking too long to get anything done.

“We have seen a level of obstructionism and toxicity in the House that is of real concern,” Trudeau said Tuesday outside his Rideau Cottage residence.

The New Democrats have a slightly different point of view.

In social media videos posted in recent days, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has sought to make the case that it’s his party that’s making anything work at all, pointing to positive changes it has promoted for numerous pandemic support programs.

“When you send New Democrats to Ottawa, we fight for you,” Singh said.

Stephanie Levitz is an Ottawa-based reporter covering federal politics for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @StephanieLevitz

Source : Toronto Star More   

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.