Black Lives Matter – Toronto (BLM – TO), the self proclaimed “coalition of Black Torontonians resisting anti-Black racism, state-sponsored violence, police brutality,” shared on its official Facebook page a letter that allegedly was sent last week by Toronto Mayor John Tory to BLM-TO.
In his letter, Tory commended Black Lives Matter’s activists for their efforts “to promote a more equitable and inclusive city”, congratulated them for winning an award recognizing their contribution to improve race relations and committed “to eliminate anti-Black racism.”
The following is the text of Tory’s letter:
Dear Black Lives Matter – Toronto,
Thank you for your continued work to promote a more equitable and inclusive city. I want to congratulate you on your recent William P. Hubbard Award and the inspiring remarks you delivered at the ceremony.
I am writing to update you on the historical data collected through the practice of carding. As you remember, I asked for your input and advice regarding the data earlier this year, and I wanted to let you know what happened in the period leading up to the November Board decision.
Following your input, I advocated for the complete deletion of the carding data. I absolutely believe that Toronto residents should not have to worry that data collected in this way could be used to adversely affect their opportunities or their rights. However, the Board received legal advice related to the rational against deletion, including the data’s potential relevance to active Charter challenges. We were also advised that transferring the data was problematic for reasons related to privacy and legislative powers.
But this data cannot and should not be kept forever. This is why the Board moved to have the City Solicitor report on any judicial decisions related to this historical data so the issue can be quickly revisited. In the meantime, the Board introduced a policy to restrict access to the data and increase accountability and transparency around its use, through:
– Separating the historical data from all police data sources;
– Applying an auditable technological trail to ensure no one except for the Chief or his designate can access it;
– Establishing a three-member review panel comprised of a Board member, a retired judge and a community member to review the Chief’s decisions to access the data; and
– Having the Chief report to the Board and public quarterly on the use of the data.
I understand this is not the outcome you had hoped for. It’s important to me that we have an on-going channel of communications and that you understand my perspective and my efforts.
To me, the on-going issue related to this data is part of our larger effort to modernize the Toronto Police Service and improve trust with Toronto citizens. As part of this work, Chief Saunders has been increasing training to address cultural bias and a “Know your Rights” public awareness campaign is being released by the Province.
My commitment to making our city more equitable and inclusive is steadfast, and this includes confronting and working to eliminate anti-Black racism. To this end, the community consultations I promised will start in January. Our hard working and committed City staff have been developing a consultation plan with community partners to engage communities in a meaningful way so that these consultations lead to tangible recommendations and action. I look forward to attending these consultations and will be ready to listen and learn.
As Mayor, I am committed to representing all residents. This is both a tremendous privilege and a profound responsibility. I agree with your comments from the Equity & Diversity ceremony that there have been some missteps this past year but I hope that we can work together to ensure our City lives up to its responsibility to all its citizens.
When asked few weeks ago by genuinewitty.com why City Hall gave a Race Relations Award to a racist movement, Tory tried to dodge the question by saying that it was a decision made by an independent committee and not by the City Council. To listen to Tory’s statement click watch the video:
Background information on Black Lives Matter – Toronto
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