The Communist Party of Canada is thinking about filing a human rights complaint against Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, the party’s Ontario leader said Sunday.
Mammoliti, a prominent ally of Mayor Rob Ford with a long history of provocative remarks, has gleefully escalated his red-baiting rhetoric over the last week. On Tuesday, he said he would ban “communists,” whom he creatively defined as citizens who spoke against budget cuts at City Hall, from his new Facebook group. By Friday, he had progressed to alleging, without any evidence, that six or seven sitting councillors are communists who want the municipal government to seize all private property and control the minds of Toronto residents.
“We are considering putting in a complaint about your behaviour and your attacks,” Elizabeth Rowley said on the NewsTalk 1010 radio show hosted by Councillor Josh Matlow.
It is not clear what provision of the Ontario Human Rights Code Rowley believes Mammoliti has violated. Political affiliation is not one of the grounds on which the code prohibits discrimination. Further, the code covers discrimination in employment, housing, union membership, and the provision of goods and services; Mammoliti discriminated, or attempted to, only on his Facebook group.
“If anyone should complain, it's me,” he responded. “Because it's them who attacked my Facebook, with their comments and with their logos and with their ‘comrade’ suggestions.”
Rowley compared Mammoliti's statements to those of former U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy, who alleged in the 1940s and 1950s that communists had infiltrated the American government. “McCarthyism is not appropriate,” she said, “and pretty ugly.”
Mammoliti was unrepentant. In language mirroring that of the McCarthy-era House Un-American Activities Committee, which infamously asked Hollywood screenwriters and directors whether they were or had ever been members of the Communist Party, he asked Matlow: “How many of those councillors at City Hall does she have a relationship with — a speaking relationship, an email relationship, a relationship of communication in one form or another?”
When Rowley said the last email she had sent to councillors was to oppose the closure of libraries, he said: “So you have no ongoing relationship, you don't write to any particular councillor, you haven't ever spoken, had dinner with, had lunches with, any of those councillors that I'm suggesting that you have?”
Rowley said, “You're asking me if I ‘am or ever have had lunch with’ — no, I haven't.”
Councillor Paula Fletcher led the Communist Party in Manitoba in the 1980s before becoming a supporter of the NDP. Mammoliti has not demonstrated that any other councillor has ties to the party.
Said Rowley: “What is really egregious here is that anybody who objects apparently to the proposals that are coming from the Ford administration is being attacked as a communist by prominent members of that administration.”
Rowley said “some” of the 166 people who spoke against cuts at a marathon executive committee meeting in July were party members. But she also said, “We certainly don't have as many members as would be implied by Councillor Mammoliti.”
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