Bloor West Villager
Regardless of which side of the debate you're on, the ways in which Parkdale residents, organizations and politicians rallied around U.S. war resister Corey Glass is a true sign of community spirit and camaraderie.
It is no secret that the Parkdale-High Park community leans more to the left - MPP Cheri DiNovo and MP Peggy Nash are both New Democrats - but that is not at issue here. The issue is community.
Glass' scheduled deportation, slated for July 10, came and went thanks to a decision the day before by the Federal Court of Canada to grant Glass a reprieve.
Prior to this court decision our community organized a rally to support Glass on July 3, and in doing so perhaps helped raise awareness and draw attention to the concerns of other war resisters residing in our community - nine to date.
Did the court decision happen because of local support? Or because of the recent decision by the greater majority of federal Members of Parliament who voted in favour of a resolution June 3 to grant war deserters a chance to stay in Canada? Or perhaps because of a recent Angus-Reid poll showing three in five Canadians support giving deserters the chance to remain in Canada as permanent residents?
What is certain is that Parkdale rallied to support one of its own.
The July 3 rally saw more than 130 Torontonians, mostly from the Parkdale area, squeeze into the May Robinson Building, prompting local Parkdale-High Park councillor Gord Perks to say that such strong local support for Glass reaffirmed all that is good about human beings.
This is not about the issue surrounding Glass' decision to desert the U.S. military nor is it about his potential, and perhaps eventual, deportation nor the non-binding decision by Parliament to allow deserters to remain in Canada. This is about the need for people to come together across this city when an issue affects their communities, whether it's a new condo that will increase traffic congestion, the mistreatment of seniors, a parkette in their neighbourhood falling into misuse or criminal activity, or even a member of their community who is set to be deported.
The communities of Parkdale, Liberty Village, Queen and King West are vocal and concerned about what happens in their neighbourhoods. Whether it is the closing of the Jameson pedestrian bridge, the Tibetan community's many protests against Chinese rule in Tibet, or just the day-to-day happenings in our communities, issues and people need to come together and set a course true to what they believe in.