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Vaughan to consider bylaw that prohibits protests within 100 metres of places of worship


Vaughan Mayor Steven Del Duca is calling on the city to approve a bylaw that would prohibit protests outside places of worship, schools, and child-care facilities that “incite hatred, intolerance and violence.”

Del Duca announced his proposal Monday morning following a number of “acts of intimidation” in the city over the last several weeks and months.

“Last November, some of our residents had to contend with antisemitic graffiti at Chabad House of Maple. And then just a few days later, there was a bomb threat that was made against the Jaffari Community Centre,” he said at a news conference.

More recently, he said, the city has seen “large, ugly protests” play out near synagogues, schools and child-care centres in Thornhill, which he says are “deeply concerning” to residents.

Del Duca’s proposed bylaw would prohibit demonstrations within 100 metres of those spaces and anyone who violates it could be fined a maximum of $100,000.

Vaughan Mayor Steven Del Duca speaks to media in Vaughan, Ont., on Monday Dec, 19, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Arlyn McAdorey

“Enough is enough. What we have seen is not peaceful. It is not respectful. And it does not reflect our values. The right to protest is fundamental to what it means to be Canadian. But this right is not unlimited.”

At least one of the demonstrations Del Duca referenced Monday occurred earlier this month outside of a synagogue in Thornhill, when a man allegedly brought a nail gun to a pro-Palestinian protest and fired it at demonstrators. No injuries were reported.

In a joint statement, the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto and CIJA (The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs) welcomed the announcement and called on city council to “swiftly” pass the motion.

“Whether at a house of worship, a community centre, or a school, people should never have to walk through hateful demonstrations simply to participate in community life,” the groups said. Top Stories

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