Banned at the Toronto Public Library!!!

July 18, 2013

Dear Mayor Ford,

CC: Mike Strobel & Sue-Ann Levy, Toronto Sun

I am writing you today to both question the current situation of freedom of the press in our city, and to express my distaste at the politically motivated censorship in our public library system.

As the graphical/layout designer, web master, reporter and personal assistant to the editor of Your Ward News – I serve the community of East Toronto by providing an unconventional approach to printed media. As I am sure you are aware LeRoy St. Germaine, owner of the Your Ward News media group is at odds with many of the community newsletters delivered to the Beaches area such as The Beach Metro, East Yorker, Town Crier, Beach Mirror and Bluffs Advocate. Community newsletters which are more then welcome at our local public libraries, due to a pro-NDP/Liberal agenda.

This can clearly be seen, not only because of the editorials printed in these newsletters – yet due to a constant barrage of taxpayer-funded advertiser revenue from Michael Prue, Mary-Margaret McMahon, Matthew Kellway, Peter Tabuns, Dan Harris, among others.

As such Your Ward News, published in print for Ward 32 is the only alternative viewpoint available to the local community. Our paper is not biased towards tax-and-waste councillors, anti-casino lobbyists, condominium developers, wind turbine industrialists, and the other assortment of ragtag scoundrels such as our local Business Improvement Area.

While it is not a surprise that several staff members of the public library do not agree with our politics, it is with great displeasure I have to inform you that library policy is now being used to censor freedom of the press. Our newspaper is now effectively banned by demand of the Communications, Programming and Customer Engagement Department of the Toronto Public Library.

As per the “posting requests” policy we are now required to submit an electronic copy of our paper to library management for pre-approval should our delivery personal wish to display a few issues in the community paper rack. Since we do not have the slightest intention of changing our editorial stance towards politicians demanding more tax dollars, bigger government, continuous development, needless “services” and a complete nanny-state, I doubt our paper will ever meet their approval in any fashion what so ever.

“I shall not burn my press and melt my letters!” Recalling history, Benjamin Franklin working on his printing press developed the first subscription-based library in North America. Indeed; Franklin hired the first American librarian, Lewis Timothy (anglicized), a printer who ran one of the few free presses in the Colony of Pennsylvania.

Just as today with our current library’s policy of demanding pre-approval for our newspaper, the stamp tax in Franklin’s time on most printed materials within the colonies of British America was a slap in the face to any notion of liberty. As such drastic measures were required to defend human rights, members of the St. Andrew’s Masonic Lodge under the moniker of the Sons of Liberty met at the Green Dragon Tavern. At the heart of the issue was the Stamp Act of 1765, and the censorship of the written word. Yet instead of burning books in a most uncivilized manor, plans to destroy a cargo of tea held at Boston harbor were conceived in the minds of these freemen. It was their staunch belief that not only the right to print, but the right to read is the cornerstone of democratic liberty.

Today we must stand against a tyrannical “Goskomizdat” who only allow politically correct newspapers a place on their stands. Your staff at our city’s libraries would like to parrot the words of Franklin, yet they parrot the actions of Stalin. Since most make-work management positions in our public library system are entirely dependent on gravy train handouts we understand the lack of interest our publication has to them. Yet denying the right to offer our paper to the working members of our community is totalitarianism, the fact that the Toronto Public Library can hold this authority over our Beaches is extremely offensive to myself personally.

As a paper that has always supported your service to our city, both LeRoy St. Germaine and myself humbly request your assistance to keep the ideals of our community’s library as an institution of freedom for all…

Yours truly,

Robert James


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