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Toronto Mayor Asks Community to Meet with Police Chief


April 17, 2000.

Dear members of gay and lesbian groups across Toronto,

I am writing you personally, not only as Mayor of Toronto, but also in my capacity as a member of our city's Police Services Board.  As you know, the issues of overall crime, of safety, hate crimes, weapons, and the preservation of safe and thriving neighborhoods are concerns that are important to us all.

I am asking that you would please consider attending the invitation that has been extended (by mail) by the gay business and professional association, to meet Toronto's new Police Chief Julian Fantino, next Tuesday, April 25th , at 'Wilde Oscars' restaurant, 518 Church St. (at Maitland) from 6 to 8 pm.  It will be an after-work coffee reception and a question and answer period with the Chief.

As you know, we have in our city a proud, diverse and important gay and lesbian population.  It is part of what makes this city great.  I have put a high priority on having the Chief get to know the issues, the concerns, and the priorities of our gay and lesbian residents of Toronto.

This coffee meeting is an opportunity to meet and speak directly with the Chief, to hear him out, and, yes, even to pose tough questions.

As you know there is a valuable process now underway by a community committee (working in conjunction with the 519 Community Centre) who are looking at some new options, models and possible structures to improve relations between the police and the gay and lesbian community.  I think we all want to ensure the community has a strong voice when it comes to improving the relations, input, and communications with our police.

I know that some have questioned this effort and others have said "what is the point".  All I ask is that you come, participate, and voice the issues, concerns and priorities that are important to you and your group, and also as citizens of the wider City of Toronto.

I do hope you will consider joining a cross-section of other groups from within Toronto's gay and lesbian community and meet our new Chief.  While you have heard a lot about him, now is the time to see for yourself, ask the questions that are on your mind, and have input into a future and constructive relationship.



Mel Lastman,
City of Toronto