Michael Boudreau Fifty years ago, on Saturday, 7 August 1971, Vancouver’s Gastown district erupted into chaos as police, some on horse-back and many wielding batons, waded into a throng of “hippies” who had gathered for the Gastown Smoke-In & Street Jamboree. Approximately 2000 people attended the Smoke-In to call for the legalization of marijuana. According to the Georgia Straight, Vancouver’s… Read more »
Walter T. Cassidy February 2021 marks the fortieth anniversary of one of the largest gay rights protests in Canadian history. On February 5, 1981, over 150 Toronto police officers raided four local bathhouses, known as gathering places for members of the gay community. Almost three hundred men were arrested that night, sparking a series of highly publicized rallies and mass… Read more »
David M. K. Sheinin As a city changes, as tensions grow between the police and the communities they serve, how can we know if a candidate has what it takes to lead a major police force? Is it possible to predict success (or failure)? Those questions are at the core of a debate that has raged for decades on whether… Read more »
David M. K. Sheinin In the early 1970s, to gain insights into the Italian immigrant community in Toronto, the police set up an Ethnic Relations Unit. In 1975 the unit created a “Black Section” followed by Jewish, Southeast Asian, and other sections. The experiment in building bridges to ethnic communities failed because this solution to growing police-community tensions reinforced rather… Read more »
Jill Campbell-Miller Racial profiling has lately been in the news in Nova Scotia. In September, Dr. Lynn Jones, a well-known champion of civil rights and a labour leader, was stopped by police while out with friends watching deer. Someone had called the police to report “suspicious people” in the neighbourhood. To add insult to injury, Jones was stopped in a… Read more »
A brief trip through Toronto’s 20th century past can show us two things: firstly, that police violence and arbitrary use of power has a long history in Toronto. More importantly, however, we see that citizen action can spur meaningful regulatory change. We can do something.
A brief discussion of the G20 peaceful protests largely overlooked in the mainstream media, and the relevance of historian E.P. Thompson’s work to our times.