December 8, 2015
Dear Talon International Development Inc,
I am writing to request that you change the name of your building, Trump International Hotel & Tower, on 311 Bay Street in Toronto.
Donald Trump is a leading contender for the Presidency of the United States. During his campaign, he has made many remarks specifically targeting people based on their country of origin or religion that are offensive and exclusionary. He has called Mexicans criminals and rapists.
Most recently, Mr. Trump suggested that Muslims should be banned from entering the United States. This rhetoric is offensive to all decent people around the world who believe in diversity and acceptance. Further, he defended this outrageous statement by citing the internment of Japanese-Americans by the US government during World War II.
There are some who may suggest that Canadians should just ignore Mr. Trump, or that he doesn’t matter because he is a political figure in another country.
However, recent attacks against Muslims in Toronto, and other Canadian cities, show that we are not immune to hateful actions against peaceful people. As well, the Canadian government’s similar internment of Japanese-Canadians is a part of our past that is still very painful for many.
I assume your original intent was just to associate yourself with a luxury brand, and that in no way am I suggesting that you were aware of Mr. Trump’s views at the time. But there is now no doubt that the name Trump is synonymous with racism and xenophobia.
To have the Trump name displayed so prominently on our skyline signals a tacit acceptance of hateful and divisive views.
Toronto is a diverse and accepting city because those values have been, and continue to be, actively promoted, celebrated, and defended.
History has demonstrated that symbols and words matter.
It is time to remove the Trump sign from your building and our city.
Toronto City Councillor
Ward 22 – St. Paul’s