This story is a bit long in the tooth now, but it does give you a good notion of who the Ford regime at City Hall listen and respond to. CASMO, if you don't remember them, are the Canadian Shia Muslims Organization, and their greatest claim to fame thus far is to have hosted a number of videos of ex KKK head David Duke criticizing the state of Israel. They eventually removed the clips, but only after a couple of days, entreaties from The American Muslim organization, and threats from the CJC and York Region police. Given this, one might question the sincerity of such declarations as the one below, which CASMO slapped up on their website after the incident:
...and somebody did question them. Last week, when one of the bloggers in Shaidle's orbit noted that CASMO was renting city property for a al Quds Day dinner and seminar, they launched a phone and email campaign. What I find striking is the prompt and response they got:
This week, upon learning that the event was to take place on city property and was a potential violation of the City's Anti-Discrimination Policy, Mayor Rob Ford's Office and a number of City Councillors including Councilors Doug Ford and James Pasternak, wanted to put a stop to it. For that to happen, a ruling on compliance with the City's anti-Discrimination Policy was required and that was initially left to Uzma Shakir, the Director of the City's Office of Equity, Diversity and Human Rights.
Councillor Pasternak said "There is no way that this group (CASMO) should be allowed to hold an event on City Property. The nature of the group indicates that they could not possibly comply with the City's values of respect and tolerance. I'm dismayed that a City facility would consider allowing this event to take place and am doing what I can to stop it happening."
However the event will indeed take place. The Mayor and Councillor Doug Ford have expressed their deep disappointment in the ruling made late Thursday afternoon by the City Manager; that CASMO's evening of deploring the middle east's only liberal democracy can go ahead at the Centennial Centre. Councillor Ford's office voiced disgust with the ruling and made the statement that, "We don't believe City facilities should be allowed to be used by one community to denounce another."
Sources at City Hall have said that Ms Shakir's initial notes suggested that she felt that the CASMO al QudsShakir and other staff.
For now, CASMO's evening of anti-Israel rhetoric will go ahead as scheduled. However the group was given a stern warning from City officials that if anything resembling hate speech occurs during their al Quds Day program on City property, they will be not receive any such approval for any event in the future. In an unprecedented move, the City is going to send a Supervisor to monitor CASMO's al Quds Day Seminar at the Centennial Centre to ensure that they comply with City policies.
Now, I was skeptical, but via emails from Doug Ford and James Pasternak's office, can confirm that events played out more or less as described above. In fact, Doug Ford's Admin office even confirmed that, while the event went ahead, the group was given a warning and the city sent along an observer.
Now, I wouldn't normally approve of a community group being hassled like this, especially as a result of action by Shaidle and Co., but given CASMO's past behavior I would make an exception here. Sometimes folks gotta be schooled, and sometimes that process is a bit like teaching a donkey.