Tory says his neighbours are 'unnerved' after their condo building was targeted by protesters
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, July 7, 2020 12:26PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 7, 2020 3:13PM EDT
Mayor John Tory says that some of his neighbours are “unnerved” and “afraid” after the downtown condominium building where they live was targeted by a group of protesters on Monday night.
The protesters descended on Tory’s building near Bloor Street and Bedford Road to voice concern over a provincial bill that they say will make it easier for landlords to evict tenants once the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
Video of the protest, which was posted to Twitter, appeared to show one woman attempting to climb up a structure outside the building and being pulled down by police.
There were also reports from the scene suggesting that some of the protesters tried to force their way inside the building in an attempt to hand-deliver a letter to Tory’s unit.
Speaking with reporters during an unrelated press conference on Tuesday, Tory said that he appreciates “the concern” raised by the protesters but feels as though they crossed a line by choosing to demonstrate outside his residence and then trying to force their way inside.
“You know what I worry about with it. It isn’t me. I have been around and am used to the fact that there are protests including some directed at me but I live in a condominium building and I am more concerned for my neighbours because I think a lot of them are unnerved by this, they are afraid of it to a certain extent and they were certainly inconvenienced by it,” he said. “I just feel very badly that because they have the misfortunate to live near me they have this kind of thing go on.”
Residential evictions have been on hold in Ontario during the COVID-19 pandemic but some tenant advocates have voiced concern that Bill 184, if passed, could make it easier for landlords to evict tenants once COVID-19 restrictions ease.
Tory said that while the issue is a provincial matter, he does believe in some sort of “transitional arrangement” that “takes account of the fact that you can’t just go from one state of affairs to another overnight.”
To that end, he said that he would read Bill 184 to try to get a handle on the situation. In the meantime, he said that people who are passionate about the issue should just demonstrate somewhere other than outside his residence.
“I don’t happen to believe that it is the right way to go about things to have demonstrations that try to go inside the buildings of people in public office,” he said. “There is a place they can come and demonstrate at city hall and I have many times come out to talk to people who were protesting at city hall to find out more about why they are protesting.”
Speaking with reporters during his daily briefing at Queen’s Park on Tuesday, Premier Doug Ford said that the protesters violated an “unwritten rule” by demonstrating outside Tory’s condo building.
Ford added that his government remains committed to protecting tenants and that the demonstrators are “spinning” the intent of Bill 184.
“If you want to protest come down here (to Queen’s Park) and protest all day long or protest at city hall. I don’t care what politician it is and what their political stripe is, you just don’t go to a private residence,” he said. “Mayor Tory is free game when he walks out that door. I am free game when I walk out that door. But don’t harass families.”