Tory and Ford's faux outrage at eviction protest is absurd
Updated: Jul 8, 2020
The real cause for outrage is not a rally at an elite Toronto condo tower. but rather the mass evictions coming soon in Ontario.
Photo via Parkdale Organize on twitter
On Monday, July 6 hundreds of people rallied at Queen's Park in opposition to the Ontario government's proposed Bill 184 which will make residential evictions easier for landlords in the province.
According to the tenant rights group Parkdale Organize "All tenants who have been unable to pay full rent, whether they have signed repayment plans or not, will be affected by this predatory bill." In a statement released July 2 they noted:
The government’s proposed changes would allow the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) to make quick eviction orders against tenants who were pressured into unmanageable rent repayment agreements by their landlords. The LTB could turn those private agreements into legally binding documents that enable fast-tracked evictions against tenants unable to fulfill them.
The changes would also direct the LTB to favour landlords in eviction cases where the landlord had “attempted to negotiate” a repayment agreement. No burden of proof is placed on the landlord to show that a meaningful negotiation took place or what the content of a repayment plan should be.
The protest began with the Queen's Park rally and was followed by a march that eventually led to the elite condominium tower where John Tory, the Mayor of Toronto, lives so that they could serve him with an eviction notice of their own.
This action has led to a great deal of faux outrage from the right wing press, Tory himself and the Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford.
The Toronto Sun described the rally at the condo as "violent" (there were no arrests or injuries reported) and Ford denounced the protesters for being “not fair to the neighbours [of John Tory]. It’s not fair to the people in the neighborhoods… don’t harass families”.
Tory himself said "I don't believe it's the right way to go about things" and decried from his lofty perch:
“I’m more concerned about my neighbours,”
“I think a lot of them were unnerved by this, they’re afraid of it, to a certain extent, they’re inconvenienced by it.
“I feel very badly because they happen to have the misfortune of living near me.”
He also claimed he was the wrong target as the legislation is provincial.
These comments are all absurd on a number of levels though the notion that anyone in Tory's condo tower is suffering from any kind of "misfortune" is especially inane.
As this Toronto Life graphic from 2014 makes clear, Tory's neighbours are among the most fortunate people in the country:
The dollar figures by the faces are the value of their units. While there has likely been some turnover from six years ago anyone living there is obviously rather well off and values would have gone nowhere but up. A sympathetic tune for these folks should be played on the world's smallest violin.
The notion that Tory has no influence or power regarding housing and tenant issues in the city is also obviously ridiculous and an attempt at deflection. A condominium tower where the mayor lives and that represents such opulence and wealth in a city where many thousands of tenants are facing eviction is a perfectly logically place to demand the evictions be stopped.
Further, though, the real violence and attacks on neighbourhoods are coming from the government, the legislation and the reality that residential tenants in Ontario could start being evicted again for not being able to pay their rent as soon as August 1.
Allowing and actually making it easier for landlords to throw people, and families, out of their homes during a deep economic crisis and pandemic is disgraceful, grotesque and, if it happens, a form of mass violence by the state against working people and people living in poverty.
As Parkdale Organize noted in a statement July 7:
...hundreds of thousands of renters across Ontario know that it is landlords, politicians, police and sheriffs who harass neighbours and families in our neighbourhoods. Eviction notices are slid under doors, hearings are held with little protection for tenants. Sheriffs arrive, change the locks and forcibly remove working class people from their homes.
Any and all outrage should be saved for this and this alone as well as for the politicians like Doug Ford and John Tory who are enabling it.