HDLC 1130 Barton Street East, Suite 210, Hamilton, Ontario L8H 7P9 • 905 547-2944 FAX 905 547-2865

Their messages are daggers. They assaulted people gathered to celebrate community


June 20, 2019

Attention: Mayor Fred Eisenberger & Hamilton City Council:

The Hamilton and District Labour Council calls upon Hamilton City Council to take action regarding the persistent presence of hate groups on city property across the city, including parks and municipal building spaces.

While we fully recognize the right of groups to engage in legal protests, these groups have continuously proven to spout hate speech towards racialized and marginalized Hamiltonians.

The groups which include "yellow vests" have maintained a small and invasive presence in the front of City Hall every Saturday. Indeed, the new symbol of Hamilton isn't the flashy new HAMILTON sign every weekend, but instead a hate group spouting anti-immigrant and racist sentiments while perpetuating their bullying, harassment and violence.

We would also ask the City to make the distinction that counter-protesting a hate group (i.e. being in opposition to a hate group) is not a charter violation. Hate groups violate charter distinctions: race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability. Simply being in opposition to a hate group does not violate the Charter.

The expection of such a decision should be made clear to the Police Services Board by the City. Should the City wish to end violence between hate groups and counter-protestors, they can enforce trespass laws to ensure the police know which groups is not welcome on city property.

When our Labour Council plans an event in front of City Hall, we go through the city's SEAT process. We presume that Hamilton's "Yellow Vests" group has flagrantly established a standing event, on a weekly basis, without approval. This speaks to the city's complicity in allowing their activities to accelerate. However, if they have SEAT approval for their events, perhaps an even greater issue is at hand.

Their mere presence is an affront to racialized and other marginalized Hamiltonians.

Their messages are daggers.

This selfsame group proceeded from City Hall to the Pride Festival on June 15th.

They physically assaulted people gathered to celebrate community and Hamilton's supposed belief in diversity and inclusion. The violence was an unmitigated disaster that would not have escalated if not for the city's complicity in ignoring hate groups gathering on city property.

The Hamilton and District Labour Council supports the constitutional protections around speech and expression. Such protections are, however, constrained by those who promote actions based on hate towards groups identified in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms--this "yellow vest" group and their cohorts in groups like the Sons of Odin, the Three Percenters, and the Canadian Nationalist Party, to name a few.

The city cannot claim to be anti-racist while providing space to racists.

The city cannot claim that Hamilton is the best place to raise a child or grow old when that claim only applies to CIS-gender, white people.

The city cannot claim that racism and oppression is unacceptable when its actions help to foster it.

The city cannot claim to be a  "sanctuary city" which would provide for newcomers' safety when they clearly are at risk.

Inaction is complicity and complicity is enforcing systematic racism and oppression.

The HDLC and the peoiple of Hamilton should be able to expect better from its municipal leaders and insttiutions. Step one is to deny public space to hate groups and direct the police to enact trespass procedures on those groups who incite hate-based actions.

The Hamilton and District Labour Council in concert with our anti-racism, anti-oppression group Shut Down Hate requests that the city consider the following recommendations, not as a method of curtailing rights, but as a means to preserve them:

1) Deny the ability of known hate groups to assemble on any city-managed property. A lack of physical violence at a gathering doe NOT determine a "peaceful assembly" if the purpose of the assembly is to incite hatred and action against a Charter-protected marginalized group.

2) Have a streamlined approach to determining and issuing a tresass order so that the police can protect ciity property from those organizing under the banner of racism and oppression.

3) Have a streamlined approach for identifying hate groups for the purposes of enacting recommendations 1 and 2.

Regards,

Anthony Marco, President

on behalf of the Hamilton and District Labour Council

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