By Emma Teitel - Monday, December 19, 2011 - 0 Comments
The Bay street lawyer who helped end Occupy Toronto explains tactics like giving the police daffodils
Tim Gilbert is a 48-year-old lawyer on King Street in Toronto. His office is on the 20th floor of the TD Trust building, where it overlooks the financial district. He is the chair of Toronto’s Design Exchange (in what used to be the Toronto Stock Exchange) and the principal lawyer at his own patent and trademark firm, Gilbert’s LLP. He is hoping to put a large flat-screen television on the far wall of his office for Skype interviews and conference calls. He is a strong believer in free markets. He is also a friend of Occupy Toronto—and one of the people responsible for the peaceful outcome of the police eviction at St. James Park on the morning of Nov. 23.
Since then, tent cities have turned back into parks and editorial boards have turned to new topics, but Gilbert hasn’t been so eager to move on. Since the eviction, the intellectual property lawyer has been meeting with some of the movement’s organizers (a term he says he “uses loosely”) to discuss “the group’s next step.” “I don’t agree with many of their solutions,” he says. “But I think it would benefit them to have some degree of leadership and organization.”
The aftermath of Occupy—with park cleanups donated by businesses and rhetoric that’s seeped into the national dialogue—suggests the movement has made a dint in the national psyche.
By Nicholas Köhler - Friday, November 25, 2011 at 10:00 AM - 5 Comments
Sales of the circular huts are booming as they catch on with both campers and protesters alike
Late last month the same central Asian dwelling appeared in both the posh Neiman Marcus Christmas catalogue and in the park where anti-consumerist protesters with Occupy Toronto remained camped out for the long haul: the yurt, that collapsible, cylindrical hut with a conical top that for eons has housed all classes of nomads, from simple shepherds to the Great Khan.
The Neiman Marcus yurt, dubbed the “Dream Folly,” starts at $75,000, boasts an interior designed to look like the inside of a genie’s bottle, comes equipped with a Plexiglas dome, and is billed as “the ultimate girls’ club.” Photographs make it look like Martha Stewart’s grotesque shrine to the cult of Moammar Gadhafi. The Toronto protesters, meanwhile, got three authentic yurts for $20,000: imported from Mongolia by Gatineau, Que.-based Groovy Yurts Inc., they stand swathed in high-quality sheep’s felt, are covered in whimsical Mongolian designs, and sheltered Occupy Toronto’s library, media centre, assembly space and health clinic. In such incongruous pairings can the voice of the zeitgeist be heard: finally, millennia after the Greek historian Herodotus described the Scythians camping out in them, the yurt’s time has come in the West, where they’re now big business. Purveyors report sales as much as doubling, thanks to two contradictory trends—an appetite for roughing it à la luxe on one hand, and apocalyptic fears of a collapsed economy on the other.
The yurt has made its trek into modern times with few alterations: the true Mongolian yurt is assembled on the bare earth using a series of latticed wooden sections brought together in a circle, with wooden rafters meeting in the centre. It’s a skeleton that can be put up and dismantled quickly but that gives the yurt an amazing durability against wind and snow. Clad in layers of canvas and felt, it is bound together using horsehair ropes, with carpets thrown down on the packed dirt.
By macleans.ca - Monday, November 21, 2011 at 1:22 PM - 0 Comments
Protesters lose appeal to resist city order
An Ontario superior court judge upheld Toronto’s eviction order against protesters occupying the city’s downtown St. James Park on Monday. Justice David Brown found that authorities were imposing a “reasonable limit” of the freedom of speech of demonstrators of the Occupy Toronto movement when asking them to clear the encampment at the park, the National Post reports. Protesters have been told to pack up the site where they have been camping out for over a month between 5.30 p.m. and midnight today, although the Toronto Police Service told the Post that no decisions have been taken yet on how to enforce the city’s order.
By Colby Cosh - Saturday, November 19, 2011 at 6:14 AM - 35 Comments
As Occupy Toronto gets a slightly bumpy ride in court from Superior Court Justice David Brown, I’ve been waiting for just one legal analyst, amateur or professional, to stumble across what appears to me to be the best, highest-level judicial treatment of the Charter issues that the Occupy movements raise. The case, Vancouver v. Zhang, is all of a year old, and involved a unanimous decision of the B.C. Court of Appeal.
I’m no lawyer, but Zhang seems awfully instructive. The BCCA was presented with a question of crucial importance to the Occupy situations: can a non-artistic structure, in itself, have protected expressive content? Falun Gong protesters had erected a “meditation hut” and a billboard in front of the Chinese consulate on Granville Street. The City Engineer ordered it torn down as an admittedly minor, hypothetical sort of traffic “obstruction”, and the city argued that removing a structure didn’t unduly restrict the protesters’ free-expression rights. City officials weren’t making a political distinction between types of speech, the lawyers contended; they simply had an inflexible mandate to smash any structure that was on city property without a permit. Continue…
By macleans.ca - Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at 11:10 AM - 0 Comments
Toronto protesters were demonstrating against clear-up in New York
According to reports, eviction notices are being served to Occupy Toronto protesters in St. James Park. The notice comes on a day when Occupy protesters in several cities are being cleared out; several Occupy Toronto protesters had spent the morning demonstrating against Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s order to remove the Occupy Wall Street protesters from Zuccotti Park in New York.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 5:55 PM - 30 Comments
The Scene. These are awkward times. Various people are marching in the streets and camping in the parks, shouting various things about various concerns. No one is quite sure what it means or if it means anything except to say that some people are somehow unhappy about something. And that they may have some cause to be somehow disenchanted.
Our elected leaders are thus put in variously awkward positions. And so increases the likelihood that they will say awkward things.
Witness Ted Menzies, affable-seeming minister of state for finance. Yesterday he was presented with the spectre of said protests and the suggestion that perhaps said protestors were on to something.
“Mr. Speaker, it is fortunate that all Canadians have the right to peacefully express their views,” he said, as if this were some kind of profound observation.
“Canada does not, by the way,” he continued, “have the degree of economic inequality that we are seeing in other countries that have perhaps started this movement.”
Two sentences in, Mr. Menzies had already gone wobbly. For while we can indeed boast a level of inequality less crushing than that of the United States, our gini coefficient is still on par with that of riotous Greece. Which is to say that the sea of troubles is lapping from inside the house. Continue…