Activist wants city to fire author of ‘Israeli apartheid’ report
August 14, 2012 | Joanne Hill - Correspondent
TORONTO – A Toronto lawyer and activist has asked the city to fire the author of the 2011 report which determined the term “Israeli apartheid” did not violate its anti-discrimination policy and start over again.
Martin Gladstone filed an official complaint with the city on June 28. Gladstone claimed the April 2, 2011 report, prepared in part by Uzma Shakir, the city’s director of Equity, Diversity and Human Rights, was “tainted by bias” because articles she has written revealed a pre-existing prejudice against Israel. He wants the city to scrap the report and re-examine the issue before its executive committee meets on Sept. 10 to discuss the proposed new anti-discrimination policy.
“I’m complaining about a woman who I believe misused her office to put forward her own personal bias and her own agenda to the detriment of the City Council and the greater Jewish community,” said Gladstone. “And I’m requesting her dismissal.”
Shakir responded, “I will not make any comment about that because the investigation is taking place. These are allegations that are being made so I’m in no position right now to say anything.”
Deputy City Manager Brenda Patterson was asked by City Manager Joseph Pennachetti to investigate Gladstone’s complaint. Patterson said she will examine Gladstone’s specific charges concerning the report but will not consider his request for Shakir’s dismissal.
“I’ll be reviewing each one of the things that he’s cited in his complaint,” said Patterson. “Asking for someone’s termination would be outside the bounds of the complaints process. Asking for the city to examine the way in which a matter has been handled is certainly valid but it would then be up to the city to determine whether or not the complaint is justified and what action would be necessary after that.”
Patterson said she expects to complete her investigation by the end of August.