TO-Bid Bullies Disrupt BNC Public Meeting
On Wednesday February 28, Bread Not Circuses held a public meeting
and forum at A Space Gallery to launch the "People' Anti-Olympic
The meeting was disrupted by a member of TO-Bid, Tony Dionisio, and
some of his colleagues.The following is a letter from Toronto's Bread
Not Circuses Coalition to Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman and the Toronto-Olympic
requesting an apology for the violent and abusive tactics of that TO-Bid
director at the public meeting.
Bread Not Circuses Coalition
Box 139, 365 Roncesvalles Ave.
Toronto, Ontario Canada, M6R 2M8
March 1, 2001
David, Crombie, John Bitove, TO-Bid
Mayor Mel Lastman, Toronto City Hall
March 1, 2001
RE: Abusive behaviour of TO-Bid Director at public event
I am writing on behalf of Bread Not Circuses Coalition to request that
TO-Bid issue a public apology for the abusive behaviour of one of its
Directors, Tony Dionisio. Dionisio and a number of his colleagues engaged
in extreme verbal harassment and abusive behaviour at a public forum
sponsored by Bread Not Circuses on Wednesday evening. They attempted
to shut down the meeting by rudely and repeatedly interrupting speakers.
When your director was advised that he would have an opportunity to
speak once the presentations were made, he shouted even louder.
Your director and his members physically crowded out members of the
public from participating in the meeting, despite calls from the public
to keep quiet and allow the panel to finish. Members of the public attending
the event found the behaviour physically intimidating and harassing.
The most intimidating behaviour of your director was directed at a woman
of colour participating on our panel.
The Toronto Olympic bid is supposed to proceed in an "open and democratic"
manner. Passionate exchanges of views are expected since this project
is the biggest and most costly in the history of Toronto. But your director
and his colleagues went well beyond the limits of vigorous advocacy
when their bullying tactics were used to silence all discussion and
prevent legitimate views from being expressed.
We are asking that TO-Bid issue a written apology for the actions of
its director; that it publicly disassociate itself from such abusive
tactics; and that it provide clear directions to all its directors on
proper conduct in their public support for the bid.
As you know, this kind of conduct would not be permitted at a TO-Bid
meeting, since your by-laws specifically prohibit members of the public
from speaking. Bread Not Circuses, on the other hand, welcomes the public
to our forums.
We would have welcomed the opportunity to discuss with Dionisio and
his colleagues the lack of any guarantees in the bid regarding the hiring
of union labour, or the payment of union wages. We would have welcomed
the opportunity of sharing with Dionisio our view that the first priority
for public funds should be the construction of affordable housing and
other basic needs, not a new velodrome or other elite sporting facilities.
This is a view that is shared by a large number of Torontonians, as
recent polling indicates.
We did not have that opportunity because your director chose to adopt
the tactics of a bully and shout down those that he disagrees with.
This is not the sign of an "open and democratic bid" and we ask you
to immediately and publicly denounce these tactics.
We look forward to your immediate response.
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