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 Bread Alert!

* March 1, 2001 * One page


Bread Alert, from Bread Not Circuses in Toronto, Canada, is available by fax or e-mail. For your copy, call 416-410-2267 and leave your fax number. Send an e-mail message to: jborowy@web.net or jon.alexander@radiolink.net.


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 Bid Book".

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 Bid Committee
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
(416) 410-2267
www.breadnotcircuses.org

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.

Sincerely,

< original signed >

Jan Borowy

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Updated: March 1, 2001