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Peter Kent condemns anti-israel rally at Queen’s Park (NATIONAL POST) Jake Edmiston TORONTO, CANADA 08/11/12) Source: http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/08/10/peter-kent-condemns-anti-israel-rally-at-queens-park/
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TORONTO — A senior member of the Harper government has condemned a Queen’s Park decision to allow an anti-Israel rally to be held on its lawn next week.
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Peter Kent, Minister of Environment and MP for Thornhill, said the Sergeant-at-Arms was wrong to approve a repeat of an event that offended Jewish groups.
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“Video recordings of last year’s ‘Rally’ document hate speech, racism, anti-Semitism, and support for listed organizations that clearly exceed the limits of Canadian freedoms of free assembly and free speech,” read a statement from Mr. Kent Friday.
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The event is in support of the International Day of Al-Quds, which invites “peace loving people to voice their opposition to the unjust and illegal occupation” of religious sites in Jerusalem, according to the event’s website. Al-Quds is the Arabic term for Jerusalem.
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Toronto Jewish groups took issue with video footage of last year’s Al- Quds day at Queen’s Park, which depicted speakers likening Israel to a cancer and waving Hezbollah flags.
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Mr. Kent said his role as a member of the federal cabinet doesn’t impede his ability to comment on a provincial issue.
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“Of course I respect the Sergeant-at-Arms, but I think a mistake has been made,” he said in an interview with the National Post on Friday. “As you know, Thornhill is a wonderful diverse community but there is a significant Jewish community … Being a federal minister doesn’t diminish my responsibility to speak up for my constituents.”
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The MPP for Thornhill, Peter Shurman, has also publicly condemned the decision.
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Last week, the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Students wrote a letter to Premier Dalton McGuinty urging him to ensure this year’s event was barred from the legislature’s grounds.
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At a news conference Thursday, Mr. McGuinty said the issue is the jurisdiction of Sergeant-at-Arms and the Speaker.
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“But let me just say something as a Premier,” he said. “We believe in freedom of speech, but there are some limits associated with that so we will not tolerate intolerances, we will not tolerate hate.”
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Sergeant-at-Arms Dennis Clark said his office receives hundreds of applications a year and “it would be very rare for us to deny an application.”
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Mr. Clark said protocol is to meet with all organizers to outline the rules and procedures for a demonstration at Queen’s Park.
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“When they walk away they know what they can and can’t do,” he said.
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According to a Queen’s Park application, those rules include abiding all laws and volume limits and demonstrators must not enter the building
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“Illegal signs or speeches, such as obscenity or hate propaganda are strictly prohibited,” reads the “Guidelines” section of the application, which is available on the Ontario government’s website.
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Jewish group leaders from the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal and B’nai Brith said they have been in touch with Toronto Police’s Hate Crimes Unit, who will monitor the situation.
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Organizers of the event are not identified by the Sergeant-at-Arms and emails to the Al-Quds Committee website were not returned.
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National Post
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August 10, 2012
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It is with great sadness and concern I’ve learned that authorities at Queen’s Park have again issued a permit for an “Al-Quds Rally” on the grounds of the provincial legislature on Saturday, August 18, 2012.
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Equally concerning is the refusal of Queen’s Park authorities to reveal the identity of the sponsoring individuals or organizations which have been granted a permit.
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Video recordings of last year’s “Rally” document hate speech, racism, anti-semitism, and support for listed organizations that clearly exceed the limits of Canadian freedoms of free assembly and free speech.
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The flag of Hezbollah, a radial Shia group, supported by Iran, and dedicated to the destruction of Israel and imposition of an Islamic state, was displayed prominently at the “Rally”. Under Canadian law, Hezbollah is a listed terrorist organization.
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As the Member of Parliament for Thornhill, I celebrate the rights and freedoms extended to Canadians of all ethnic groups, cultures and religions.
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I also believe that all levels of government should stand together to condemn any among us who would propagate hatred.
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Hon. Peter Kent, P.C., MP Thornhill (© 2012 National Post, a division of Postmedia Network Inc. 08/11/12)
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