Freedom of Speech
University of Toronto shuts down ‘Shout Out’ forum on campus during the G20
Toronto The Council of Canadians is deeply disappointed by the University of Toronto’s decision to shut down its St. George campus during the G20 Summit, citing its proximity to the designated protest zone at Queen’s Park. This decision is at odds with what would have been expected from a public institution committed to freedom of expression and the city itself.
The Council of Canadians was thrilled to be hosting the ‘Shout Out for Global Justice’, set to take place on June 25, one month from today, in the historic venue. Over 500 tickets had already been sold. The program of high profile local and international speakers includes Maude Barlow, Vandana Shiva, Leo Girard, Pablo Solon, Amy Goodman, Naomi Klein, John Hilary, and Clayton Thomas-Muller.
The forum was planned for Convocation Hall, more than 2 kilometers from the Metro Convention Centre where the G20 will be meeting and outside the large security perimeter established for the summit. The Council of Canadians is now left scrambling for an alternate downtown location in a city with increasingly limited public space due to G20 security - but will continue to sell tickets, determined that this event will not be shut down.
“We are disappointed by this decision,” says Carleen Pickard, director of organizing with the Council of Canadians. “We would have expected an institution that promotes the exchange of ideas and public discourse not to close its campus to an international forum at this pivotal moment in the city’s history.”
The Council of Canadians plans to contact Mayor David Miller’s office, as well as University of Toronto staff and alumni for assistance in this situation.