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This weekend, downtown Toronto will be visited by the Trucker Convoy. The convoy is opposed to public health measures, including wearing masks indoors, the vaccine mandate and vaccine passports.
Myself, my MPP colleagues, and Andrea Horwath are publicly calling for the province and the city to use every tool at their disposal to ensure hospitals can function, healthcare staff can work and travel safely, and businesses and residents can go about their lives safely and be free from assault and harassment.
This pandemic has been extraordinarily difficult for all of us. People have free speech rights, they have the right to protest, and they have the right to lawfully assemble. What people do not have the right to do is assault and harass people, block hospitals from operating, use hate speech and hate symbols, and behave in a racist, sexist, and discriminatory way.
Toronto Police have assured us there will be a large police presence in downtown Toronto.
Toronto Police will create and maintain a safe area around the hospitals along University Avenue, carefully controlling access to prevent disruptions while allowing hospital staff, emergency vehicles, and other essential workers to continue to reach their destinations.
Hate symbols will be removed.
There will be police resources dedicated specifically to focus on protecting the safety of businesses and residents nearby.
You can follow @CityofToronto and @TPSOperations for the latest information. In the event of a medical emergency, fire, or any person in immediate danger, please do not hesitate to call 911. You can also share concerns and report incidents by calling the Toronto Police main line at 416 808 2222.
If you see or experience hate or harassment and are uncomfortable reporting to police, you may also use this incident reporting form hosted by the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change.
Myself and our team are working this weekend. I am in regular communication with my city and provincial colleagues. We have reached out to the police, the major hospitals, the University of Toronto, as well as residents and businesses in the area.
We will send useful updates via our social media feeds and via our newsletter as the need arises. Please reach out to our office via email [email protected] and 416 535 7206 if you have a complaint, want us to respond, need or can offer help, or have questions.
Jessica Bell, MPP