Tuesday, June 1, 1999


p. A18.


Offensive campaign ad

The Toronto Police Association has always used the tactics of division to push its agenda. But its recent campaign plumbs new depths.

The association has used advertising to make law and order an issue in the provincial election. One of its posters depicts five tattooed tough guys, meant to represent members of a Los Angeles Latino gang. It urges people to vote for candidates who will get tough on crime.

But the picture sends another message altogether. Citizens need police to protect them from Hispanics.

It's more than offensive. It's a slur on this city's Latin American community.

The police union has every right to push its law and order agenda. But it didn't need to import American fears or use another city's crime problem to make its point. Nor did it need to use racist stereotypes.

The poster has been hanging in the Yonge-Bloor subway station for the last three weeks and was scheduled to come down yesterday.

But the damage is done.

"They're picking on us," Elvira Sanchez de Malicki, of the Canadian Hispanic Congress, said yesterday. "There are other ways to get their message across."

But union president Craig Bromell refuses to say he's sorry. He even said the union would do it again.

Such intransigence, while not surprising, is inexcusable. You'd think the police union would be working to win over communities, not alienate them with bone-headed ads like this one.

The Hispanic community wants the union to apologize and its executives to take courses in ethnic-cultural sensitivity.

Sounds fair to us. We'd go a step further. We'd like an assurance from the union that ethnic communities won't be the fodder of future ad campaigns.

Advocating law and order shouldn't involve cheap shots.

Toronto Police clippings… [Fiona Stewart]

Created: October 9, 2000
Last modified: October 9, 2000
J.D. Jane Doe, c/o Walnet Institute
Box 3075, Vancouver, BC V6B 3X6
Tel: +1 (604) 488-0710