Toronto City Council votes to review library rental policies following Meghan Murphy event
Toronto City Councillors voted 20-1 in support of a review of policies governing community spaces in the city, following a large protest at Toronto Public Library’s Palmerston branch over feminist Meghan Murphy’s controversial talk on “Gender Identity: What does it mean for society, the law and women?”
The review was proposed by Councilor Kristyn Wong-Tam and will involve the consultation of LGBTQ+ stakeholders, many of whom were aghast at the Toronto Public Library’s pro-free speech stance.
The protestor blockade stopping GO Transit service in Toronto has Torontonians and commuters unable to get home to their families.
According to a statement from GO Transit, the developing incident, specifically on Guildwood tracks, GO Trains will “have no choice but to suspend GO Train service on the Lakeshore East corridor between Union and Pickering.”
“Given the way our trains operate through our rail network, this situation has the potential to disrupt customers throughout our entire system. We encourage all customers to explore travel alternatives this evening,” the statement reads.
Additionally, Milton line service has been suspended due to what’s being called a “developing safety incident.” Train service will not resume until a thorough investigation is completed.
Blockades started earlier today, as GO Trains were halted by protestors rail near Belleville, Ontario.
The group on the tracks, known as the “Wet’suwet’en Strong: Hamilton Solidarity,” migrated to the tracks of the Bayview Junction in the Chicago-to-Toronto rail corridor that also serves Amtrak, VIA, and Go Transit, The Globe and Mail reports.
The group said in a Facebook post that they were served with an injunction by police, which they “happily burned.” The group then set up blockades on the GO tracks, which the group has said is in response to the OPP’s dismantling of blockades on Tyendaninaga Mohawk Territory near Belleville.
Those blockades were broken up Monday morning after police forced protestors to leave, eventually arresting 10 people on the scene. The blockades, which stayed up for three weeks, caused nationwide economic stagnation as both CN rail and VIA rail had to temporarily lay off employees, along with other massive inconveniences such as supply shortages.
But after the blockade was taken down, the protestors saw it fit that they continue their rallies, this time on commute tracks.
The group posted on Facebook Monday, saying that “the violence the state has perpetrated towards Indigenous land defenders and their supporters, the forced removal and criminalization of Indigenous people from their lands” was their reason for protesting. “This is a pattern that has existed since settlers came to Turtle Island and that continues to exist today.”
Another blockade has been set up on Highway 6 in Caledonia, Ontario as well. Blockades were set up by a group called Rising Tide Toronto west of Jane St. on Dundas St., earlier today.
An estimated 215,000 people take the GO Trains every day.
Gender critical feminist Meghan Murphy is being held responsible for the effects of the threats against her. CUPE Local 391, representing workers at the Vancouver Public Library, wants the library to shut down Murphy’s upcoming March 21 talk. They are concerned about the impact that the threats against Murphy and the controversy surrounding gender-critical ideas has had on library workers.
Trans activists have previously asked for Murphy’s series of #GIDYVR talks to be denied public meeting space, and they protest her everywhere she speaks. They have threatened Murphy, the VPL, and library staff. The library has not folded to these demands. But for some reason the union wants to punish the women that have been threatened, instead of those who advocate for violence against women.
It would be normal to blame the trans activists who have made the threats—but in lieu of that, they are blaming the women who have been threatened. Murphy wants to meet peacefully to discuss gender identity, as she has done countless times before. She neither courts nor advocates for violence. The union’s reasoning is that the protests put an undue burden on library employees.
In a public statement, a response to VPL’s upcoming room rental to Murphy for a March 21 talk, CUPE Local 391 states:
“The stress put on workers before, during, and after this event, has the potential for long-term damage that cannot be ignored or dismissed. Members have expressed, to the union and to management, symptoms of anxiety, fear, anger, and depression in both their professional and personal lives. These experiences raise health and safety concerns from the union for those members directly affected as well as those working alongside their struggling colleagues. The impact is also felt by the many members who have had to navigate highly emotional conversations with colleagues and the public due to the very public discussion surrounding this issue. Library patrons and community members have directly targeted our members on social media while engaging in the debate about the decision to allow the room rental. Members in the unit responsible for library communications and social media have likewise been exposed to threatening and violent language.”
In short, because #GIDYVR events draw protests, the union wants to cave to the threats of activists and deny women their right to gather peacefully. Instead of condemning those who would deny Murphy her right to rent public space, the union condemns Murphy. The woman who is persistently threatened with violence is now being blamed for those very threats.
Murphy is no stranger to attempted deplatforming. She has held events at the Vancouver Public Library before, and has been protested for it. The library was disinvited from marching in Vancouver’s Pride Parade because they have allowed her group to rent space. When Murphy speaks on panels, or at gender critical events, she is flanked by bodyguards due to persistent threats of violence against her. Murphy did not ask for this fight but she has taken it up because the alternative is the erasure of women. If our greatest institutions cannot stand up for our rights to speak freely, all hope of justice and discourse is lost. The union would rather allow the silencing of women than address the violent threats of the trans advocates.
Murphy responded on Instagram: “—the library staff union—has released an appalling statement, framing out #GIDYVR events as, essentially, a health and safety risk to workers. While indeed trans activists have threatened violence, it is not the event itself, which is a discussion of women’s rights, that is the risk. The union is pressuring the Vancouver Public Library to cancel our next event, Gidyvr Women’s spaces & Places, on account of ‘stress’ caused to union members on account of the harassment, verbal abuse, and threats they receive from trans activists. WOMEN are being blamed for threats, abuse and harassment from others, many of whom are male. We are being held accountable for the harassment, violence, and threats WE receive from abusive authoritarians. A fucking LABOUR UNION is attempting to silence feminist speech and public debate about a subject that impacts all of us because a group of fascists don’t want women to speak in their own defense. It is incredibly inappropriate, to start, for the union to speak on behalf of their members in this way, considering there are, as the VPL and CUPE are aware, numerous people on staff and in the union who support out events and right to speak. Moreover, it is unacceptable to attempt to punish and silence us for exercising our right to free expression and for standing up for women’s rights. PUSH BACK.”
The Post Millennial reached out to Murphy to find out why she thought the union would make such an appalling statement in opposition to women’s rights to freely gather. “There are a lot of people with positions of power in unions across Canada who have taken a hard stand in favour of gender identity ideology/legislation and have refused to listen to dissenters from within or without the union,” Murphy said. “The BC Federation of Labour blacklisted Vancouver Rape Relief in 2016, for example, and numerous union execs have publicly vilified and libelled me. Unions in Canada are all very connected to the NDP, as well and of course, as the NDP is essentially Canada’s Labour Party. And the NDP and fully adopted a position in favour of gender identity legislation that cannot be challenged. They have lost members and votes because of this, but continue not to listen to those of us who have long supported the party but who also have concerns about gender identity ideology and the impact on women.”
The pressure from trans activists can be fierce and uncompromising. The CUPE may think that their virtue signaling on this will lead to a diminishing of trans activist anger, but, as Murphy points out, this “will not free them from the bullying of trans activists, who apparently will accept nothing less than full capitulation.” Murphy has reason to believe that “there are people on staff/in the union who support or events and have even attended our events. So they published this statement despite knowing all union members are not on board with what they are saying.”
A labour union, an organization that has the sole purpose of upholding rights, seeks to deny the rights of others. In the face of injustice, and advocacy for the denial of women’s rights to speak, the union is caving to threats. While it is couched in concern for their members, the effect is the same as letting mob rule decide who gets access to public space and who does not. It’s shameful that the union wrote this statement, that it was approved and released. It’s unacceptable to cow to threats of violence simply because it’s the less difficult option, and it’s doubly unacceptable to blame women for those threats levelled against them.
A labour union should know this.
Ontario pizza chain Gino’s Pizza has been embroiled in a scandal with the LGBTQ community after a customer posted a video on Twitter of him being referred to as a f*ggot by a Gino’s employee after an altercation of which the root cause is still not entirely known according to Blog T.O.
Jeremy Mizu, filmed the Gino’s Pizza employee in what appears to be mid-way through their altercation at a Young and Eglinton location on Friday night. Rob Gill is a local LGBTQ rights advocate who shared the video on his Twitter the following morning, writing that Mizu had been denied service for “being gay” and that a homophobic slur had been said to him.
Mizu retweeted the clip with the caption, “Last night I was called a f***ot and told to leave store because I opened the door and it was cold,”
“This is the worker after the manager had been standing up for him. Here he is calling me a f*ggot and smirking.”
The video shows a Gino’s Pizza employee standing behind the restaurant’s counter arguing with Mizu, it’s not clear why the two men are arguing and it’s difficult to understand what the employee is saying in the beginning.
“Yeah, I can film here, I’m allowed,” says Mizu to the pizza shop worker at one point.
“You are?” the Gino’s employee responds. “Because you are a f*ggot?”
The employee then proceeds to walk away after utter the homophobic slur. Someone else in the restaurant can be heard asking Mizu and his friends to leave.
Mizu gave his rendition of the events claiming that the employee was upset that he’d opened the store door. “I opened the door once,” said Mizu later on Twitter in response to someone who said that the staff member “was just pissed that he was coming in and out of the store.”
“The Irish girls were with me and were telling the manager how it’s unacceptable and we want a refund,” he continued. “They did not give us said refund.”
“But either way to call me a faggot several times for opening the door? Still unacceptable.”
Gino’s Pizza issued a statement of apology following the incident.
“After being altered to this situation by the Twitter community, Gino’s Pizza management has been investigating this issue,” reads the statement. “This was clearly a violation of our staff conduct policies and code of ethics that all of our employees must adhere to.”
“We take this matter extremely seriously and as a result the employee involved has been terminated,” the statement continues.
“Gino’s Pizza is a supporter of the LGBTQ community and apologizes for the actions of this former employee.”
Anti-pipeline protestors took to the streets in both downtown Toronto and Ottawa this afternoon, bringing traffic to a halt. In Toronto, the major artery of Bloor Street was blocked. While in Ottawa, protestors stopped traffic in Byward Market.
Protests and blockades opposing the Coastal GasLink pipeline have entered their 12th day, bringing traffic and the nation’s economy to a standstill.
The scene in Toronto is intense, with thousands marching.
“Obviously we’re a country of the rule of law and we need to make sure that those laws are followed,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said about the protests on Monday. “We are going to continue to focus on resolving this situation quickly and peacefully.”
Nationwide protests that claim to be in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en have exploded after RCMP arrested pipeline protestors on Wet’suwet’en territory. Protests have already effectively shut down VIA Rail and CN Rail and at least two US border crossings.
The Wet’suwet’en Tribal Council supports the pipeline project.