By Ajamu Nangwaya
On June 7, Toronto's Mayor John Tory called for the cancellation of carding, which is the cops' practice of stopping and questioning Torontonians and documenting and storing their personal information in non-criminal encounters. Tory made this announcement in spite of previously being a strong supporter of carding.
Many people were wildly jubilant at this proclamation and uncritically took his words at face value. Some people went so far as to claim it as a victory.
Rachel Décoste, a blogger with Huffington Post Canada, could not avoid noting "the congratulatory backslapping (that) spread across Hogtown (Toronto)" under the belief that carding had been dumped into the cesspool of history.
Paula Fletcher, the city councillor for Ward 30, was enthused by Tory's declaration. According to Fletcher: "This is what a leader does: looks at the situation, reassesses. And he's made a very big announcement for the city of Toronto today."
Akwatu Khenti had this to say, by way of Twitter, about Tory's change of heart on carding: "Thank you Mayor @JohnTory You have an entire community's support on the need to end #carding yesterday."
John Clarke of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty was skeptical of the quality of carding reform that Mayor Tory would bring to the fore: "Facing huge opposition to #police #carding #Toronto Mayor #JohnTory hopes pause for cosmetic changes will save him."
On June 18, Mayor announced that he had another "road to Damascus" moment and was converting back to his original embrace of carding. Tory introduced the carding policy of April 24, 2014 and it was unanimously supported by the members of the Toronto Police Services Board.
This development should not have been unexpected because statements in Tory's June 7 speech expressed his commitment to carding, notwithstanding his explicit call for an end to it.