denzil minnan wong

Toronto politician under fire after ranting about illegal immigrants

Denzil Minnan-Wong is once again raising eyebrows, as the Ward 16 Don Valley East City Councillor and Toronto Deputy Mayor faces pushback over comments made in opposition to new refugee housing in North York.

In a city where roughly half the population immigrated from abroad, it's probably not a good idea to go on an off-topic tirade about "illegal immigrants" and blindly assume that most of the city agrees with you.

Though the motion ultimately passed, Minnan-Wong voted against the refugee shelter, arguing that city council "didn't ask people and we didn't listen to them."

That probably would have been a great place to stop, but DMW just couldn't keep his mouth shut. For whatever reason, the Deputy Mayor decided that a debate over a refugee shelter was the perfect springboard to go off on a tangent about illegal immigration.

"I'm not against newcomers. I'm not against refugees. I am against illegal immigrants that have lost their status and who are staying and hiding in this country illegally," said Minnan-Wong during the debate, adding, "I am against those people, as I think a majority of Torontonians are. This isn't about that."

His comments have been met with anger on social media, including accusations of dog-whistle xenophobia.

Minnan-Wong is no stranger to controversy, as the often outspoken councillor has landed in hot water many times before, telling former Chief Planner and mayoral candidate Jennifer Keesmaat that she should "stick to the knitting" and getting into a public squabble with Waterfront Toronto over the cost of the pink umbrellas at Sugar Beach.

After almost three decades as a city councillor, Minnan-Wong announced in July that he would not be seeking re-election for his seat representing Don Valley East.

blogTO reached out to offer Minnan-Wong the opportunity to clarify or provide context for his comments made during Monday's council meeting. 

The councillor once again claims to speak for the majority of Toronto residents, who he says "are law-abiding people who want to follow the rules. They don't support individuals who break the law. Failed refugee claimants are not refugees. Remaining and ignoring things such as Deportation Orders to leave Canada is breaking the law."

He argues that "allowing illegal immigrants to remain is an insult" to established residents and those going through the immigration process.

"There are thousands of individuals and their families who have applied legally to come to Canada. There are even more families waiting patiently in Canada for their relatives and loved ones to be admitted to Canada lawfully.  It is an insult to them to then turn a blind eye and allow illegal immigrants to remain in Canada."

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