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Monday, May 19, 2014

Fear, loathing and weirdness on the streets of Toronto (none of which was Rob Ford's fault)

Anti-Islam zealot Eric Brazeau is either nuts or a masterful practitioner of street theater, or possibly both considering that those two traits are not mutually exclusive.  He has a recent court conviction for promoting hatred and Brazeau has also been awarded compensation by the courts for being wrongfully arrested for his particular, and what many would call repugnant, brand of protest.

Normally, the activities of Mr. Brazeau are not something I would note. On this occasion it's worth publicizing. The troublesome aspect of his recent street demonstration is that Toronto Police decided to intervene and prevent him from speaking in a place where street proselytizers routinely practice their craft.

It is easy to understand how someone may find Mr. Brazeau's performance offensive and the proper response would be to walk by and ignore him, as most passers-by did.

But being offensive is not illegal, and when Toronto's police department decides it has the right to shut down what people say because it offends a particular group of people, we are facing a far greater problem than any annoyance cased by Eric Brazeau.

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