Ladies and Gentlemen of the Riding of Thornhill:
Many of you will know that, on February 4, 2014, a meeting was held at Vaughan City Hall concerning a proposed expansion to the Jaffari Community Centre. The proposal is for the construction of a 30 acre Muslim-only development involving two condominium towers and a number of townhouses for a total of 377 units. The meeting drew an overflow crowd because the issue is of great concern, especially to those living near the proposed development.
A number of concerns have been raised about the development, which reportedly cannot proceed without obtaining special exemptions and approvals from government. The project reportedly would not comply with zoning and planning criteria without the exemptions and approvals. In addition, legitimate concern is being caused by the fact that proponents of the development – Islamic Shia Ithna-Asheri Jama’at of Toronto (“ISIJ”) – initially made it clear that the intention is for a Muslim-only community on a 30 acre site.
Thornhill residents go to the polls this coming Thursday, February 13, 2014 to vote in the provincial by-election for the riding of Thornhill. Concerned voters have written to Freedom Party of Ontario and to Erin Goodwin – Freedom Party’s candidate in Thornhill – asking that we state the party’s position with respect to the issue of the proposed development.
This issue is an important one not only for the riding, but for the precedent it could set for the province. Accordingly, we are writing to ensure that you understand in no uncertain terms Freedom Party’s position on the issue, and the position of Erin Goodwin, Freedom Party’s candidate.
Freedom Party, its leader Paul McKeever, and its candidate Erin Goodwin oppose the granting of exemptions or approvals for the 30-acre development. We oppose it in part because of the many zoning and planning concerns expressed by Thornhill residents who would suffer the consequences – including traffic congestion – were the development to get exemptions and approvals to go ahead.
However, we also share the concerns of those who oppose – or are puzzled by – the Muslim-only nature of the proposed site. Freedom Party is quite aware that the religious leader of the ISIJ is an Imam and author who regards only the laws of Allah – Sharia – to be legitimate law. It would be naive, at the very least, to disregard the exclusive, Muslim-only nature of the proposed development, which we understand to include streets and allowances that would be not private but public lands.
Contrary to the religious leader of the ISIJ, Freedom Party stands opposed to facilitating respect for Sharia law. We advocate respect only for the laws made in our legislatures and courts, by the people, for the life and happiness of all of the children and adults on this good earth, of all religions. We will not support the use of our laws to defend the existence of zones in which the laws made in our legislatures and courts are disregarded or discouraged.
Having made our own position clear, we encourage the Liberal and Progressive Conservative candidates to do the same, because those who remain mute in order to get elected, will remain mute in order to get re-elected.
Erin Goodwin (Freedom Party candidate for the riding of Thornhill)
Paul McKeever (Leader, Freedom Party of Ontario)
For further details, contact:
Paul McKeever, B.Sc.(Hons), M.A., LL.B.