Citizen politics, unlike party politics, does not seek to change government, but to improve it by watchfulness, oversight and advice
- Ursula Franklin


The School Trustee election in Ward 10 in downtown Toronto has been overtaken by a hate campaign directed toward a Muslim woman candidate.

Three school board candidate meetings have been disrupted by charges of radical extremism, screamed and threatening accusations aimed at sowing suspicions of a Muslim candidate’s fitness to serve as a school Trustee. Police were in attendance at the final meeting and removed one of the disruptive audience members from the hall.

In the last week before the election, not satisfied with a doorstep whisper campaign, those behind this effort distributed three flyers door-to-door, set up multiple websites and  are now sending robocalls with an escalating list of charges designed to destroy a young woman’s reputation.

Who are the authors of these hate pieces? They are anonymous.  No one knows who is raising the questions. No individuals have stepped forward to take responsibility. We challenge them. Uncover your faces.

They raise questions that the candidate has already answered. She said clearly she does not discriminate on the basis of religion, race, gender or sexual orientation. She is not a supporter of radical Islam. She does not support instruction in any religion in Public Schools.  She has been forced into stating the obvious – that she does not support terrorism.

To suggest otherwise is McCarthy-style demagoguery.

In attacking Ausma Malik in this way, the perpetrators are challenging our very system. We are not endorsing one particular candidate. We are defending the democratic process.

This is no way to conduct an election in Canada.

Elections are a most serious time in the life of a democracy. Slurs and innuendoes and personal attacks undermine our political system.

To forget our underlying core values is to hasten our decline. The civic values that we, the four residents associations, uphold, particularly at this time of democratic process are respectful debate and accountability for what we say and do. This hate campaign violates not only a Trustee candidate but the neighbourhoods in which we live.

In her last book, Dark Age Ahead, Jane Jacobs wrote, “Any culture that jettisons the values that have given it competence, adaptability, and identity becomes weak and hollow.”

Toronto’s motto is Diversity Our Strength. Let us live up to it.

Harbord Village Residents’ Association

Contact: Sue Dexter, 416-964-9527,

Huron-Sussex Residents’ Organization

Contact: Julie Mathien, 416-979-2393,

Palmerston Avenue Residents’ Association

Contact: Katherine Childs, 416-588-7444,

Grange Residents’ Association

Contact: Ralph Daley, 416-204-1108,

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