Kristyn Wong-Tam is a Toronto City councillor for Ward 13 – Toronto Centre. On July 18, 2020 Kristyn Wong-Tam tweeted:
I stand in support with individuals fighting against symbols of colonial and racist violence.
Protesting oppression isn’t a crime. If Toronto Police wants us to believe that they are serious about repairing relationships with Black & Indigenous communities they should #FreeThemNow.
The Toronto Police Services Board just spent days listening to testimony about how policing is biased and harmful. Today we learn of reports that TPS is denying a Queer Black woman access to in-person legal counsel and her medication. I seriously hope this is not the case.
Regardless of whether you agree with the tactics of the protesters, these arrests are not about public safety. Spray paint is an innocuous tool when weighed against the power and violence of structural racism, colonialism and state oppression.
It’s my hope that this doesn’t become another example of how access to justice is unequally administered in this city. We must find a better way forward. Defunding the police & reallocating resources to underfunded community-led alternatives is the first step in doing that.
On July 18, 2020 CBC News reported:
Toronto police have charged three people after Black Lives Matter protesters splattered paint on statues at the Ontario legislature and Ryerson University. Two women, Jenna Reid and Danielle Smith, aged 35 and 47 respectively, and one man, Daniel Gooch, 35, all of Toronto, have all been charged with three counts of mischief under $5,000 and conspiracy to commit a summary offence, according to Toronto police. Black Lives Matter Toronto has claimed credit for defacing the statues of former prime minister John A. Macdonald, King Edward VII Equestrian and Egerton Ryerson and called the action an artistic disruption.
Canada’s Criminal Code (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-46) defines mischief as follows:
430 (1) Every one commits mischief who wilfully
(a) destroys or damages property;
(b) renders property dangerous, useless, inoperative or ineffective;
(c) obstructs, interrupts or interferes with the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property; or
- obstructs, interrupts or interferes with any person in the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property.
Mischief in relation to cultural property
(4.2) Every one who commits mischief in relation to cultural property as defined in Article 1 of the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, done at The Hague on May 14, 1954, as set out in the schedule to the Cultural Property Export and Import Act,
(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years; or
(b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.
Kristyn Wong-Tam, Councillor, City of Toronto firstname.lastname@example.org
Question for Kristyn Wong-Tam:
Why do you encourage Black Lives Matter activists to commit vandalism which is a criminal offence (mischief) according to Canada’s criminal Code?
An article on this issue will be published soon, so it would be great if you could respond by 11am July 24, 2020. If more time is required please let me know. Thanks!
Eric Stanley Brazau
Note: As of July 25, 2020 Kristyn Wong-Tam has not yet responded to the media inquiry.