While campaigning last week in Regent Park, public school trustee candidate Murphy Browne was refused entry to campaign in a condominium that’s part of the community’s revitalization project.
“The security guard told me it’s a private building and I could not go in to solicit,” said Browne who is running in Ward 14 (Toronto Centre-Rosedale). “When I informed him that I was campaigning and not soliciting, he told me I had to leave anyway which I did without arguing.”
In order to clarify the issue, Browne headed straight to city hall where she was informed that she had the right to canvas the building.
The Condominium Act clearly states that “no corporation, employee or agent of a corporation shall restrict reasonable access to the property by candidates, or their authorized representatives, for election to the House of Commons, the Legislative Assembly or an office in a municipal government or school board if access is necessary for the purpose of canvassing or distributing election material.”
Rejection does not faze Browne, a Share columnist who is running for public office for a third time.
The community worker and advocate was the Ward One (Etobicoke North) candidate for councillor in the 2000 municipal elections and the New Democratic Party (NDP) representative for Don Valley East in the 2003 provincial polls.
She said she’s running for trustee because she feels she has the background and experience to advocate for parents, students and residents of the ward that has been her home for the past 25 years.
Browne is a former co-chair of the Organization of Parents of Black Children, the Parent Community Network and Campaign for Public Education. She also worked as a lunchroom supervisor and international languages instructor with the TDSB for several years until June 2008 and volunteers with an after-school program in her St. Jamestown neighbourhood.
“As trustee, I will advocate for the dismantling of the standardized student tests,” said the ex- Central Neighbourhood House president and Girl Guides of Canada volunteer. “The tests that were introduced as part of ‘the common sense revolution’ make no sense because it forces educators to teach children to pass tests when they should be teaching them to think critically, love learning and to become lifelong learners.”
Browne is also advocating for an education system that develops a systemic approach to inclusive and equity-based education and a school curriculum that recognizes and respects Canada’s First People’s unique history and the diversity that immigrants bring to this country.
Ontario Federation of Labour’s human rights director, Janice Gairey, endorses Browne’s campaign.
“Murphy has been a longstanding community, social and trade union activist, and an upstanding and committed advocate for children’s rights and fair and equal access to quality public education,” said Gairey, who is also the president of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists Ontario chapter.
Added social justice activist Don Weitz: “Murphy stands up and speaks out for those of us who have been marginalized, discriminated against and stigmatized.”