MARCH 5, 2001
Crown Attorney Sends out Form Letter in Unusual Response to Flood of Letters Protesting the Appeal
In the weeks since the Ontario government decided to appeal an acquittal of five members of Toronto Action for Social Change who publicly challenged a permanent lifetime ban against going to Queen's Park, scores of protest letters have been addressed to the two Crown attorneys pursuing the appeal.
In what appears to be an unusual response, the crown attorneys seem to feel an obligation to answer the flood of concern, which has featured letters from across North America. Many letters ask why tax dollars which could be spent on ending poverty in the province are instead being used to further prosecute the five nonviolent activists who have been banned from the legislature since a protest they organized against welfare cuts October 1, 1998.
In what appears to be a sign that the attorney general's office has been feeling heat, supporters of the Queen's Park Five have been receiving letters reading "Thank you for your e-mail and the expression of your views. Unfortunately, because this matter is before the courts, I cannot comment. Yours very truly, Thomas Galligan, Counsel, Crown Law Office-Criminal."
"We find it fascinating that these attorneys are feeling the need to even respond to the letters which have been arriving daily since notices of appeal were served a few weeks ago," says a TASC spokesperson. "It seems the government feels the need to justify in some manner an appeal whose sole purpose is to reinforce the notion that the government of Ontario is above the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in this country."
No date has yet been set for the appeal. TASC members hope that this politically motivated appeal of a judicial acquittal will be scuttled, but are nonetheless ready to go to the appeal court if necessary.
In the meantime, TASC is urging those who would like to weigh in on this issue to send letters to the following attorneys handling the appeal:
Thomas D. Galligan, Ministry of the Attorney General, Crown Law Office, Criminal, 720 Bay Street, 10th Floor, Toronto, Ontario M5G 2K1 (416) 326-2409, firstname.lastname@example.org and Robert Charney, Ministry of the Attorney General, Constitutional Law Branch, 720 Bay Street, 8th Floor, Toronto, Ontario M5G 2K1 (416) 326-4452, email@example.com
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