Last week a contentious issue came up for at Mississauga City Council- a motion was put forward to apply a citywide three-hour parking limit exemption during Eid-alAdha. Mayor Bonnie Crombie who was away in Edmonton to Attend Federal-Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Ministers’ Meeting expected the motion to sail through without a hitch. But it didn’t because veteran Ward 9 Councilor Pat Saito found the staff report lacking details and sought a deferral which was supported by all councilors except Carolyn Parrish.
It was a sketchy report. It didn’t have a lot of information, it didn’t list the pros and cons, and coming off a Labour Day weekend after a two month summer break, it’s not exactly the best timing to do a major bylaw change,” said Saito in an interview with a local media outlet.
Councilor Carolyn Parrish took exception and lashed out at Councilor Saito suggesting she was discriminating against Muslims given that when the same request was made for Easter Sunday, the decision was reached in 30 seconds.
In an interview with Can-India, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said she stepped in after the issue which should’ve been straightforward went a different direction. “I spoke to six of the Councilors after that and told them that Council should look at three-hour parking exemptions not just for Ed but other religious holidays like Baisakhi. We need to take a more comprehensive approach and so decided upon a temporary exemption for Ed this year until there is an agreement on a new policy,” she said.
Mayor Crombie took a vote on applying a temporary exemption via email and all councilors supported the move. “I have the entire city to oversee,” she said. “I have got ticketed at Easter. Mississauga is an incredibly diverse city. Muslims now make up about 12 per cent of our residents and we have to celebrate differences, be inclusive and work together,” she added.
Meanwhile Councilor Pat Saito’s plea that the exemption didn’t apply to Cobbinshaw Circle which is a residential area affected by parking issues because of a nearby mosque was denied.
The issue of parking on side streets around places of worship like mosques, temples and gurdwaras is becoming more of an issue.
The three hour parking exemption is currently for the following statutory holidays.
• New Year’s Day
• Family Day
• Good Friday
• Easter Sunday
• Victoria Day
• Canada Day
• Civic Holiday
• Labour Day
• Thanksgiving Day
• Christmas Day
• Boxing Day
Perhaps the time has come for cities across Canada to talk about more exemptions given the demographic changes. – CINEWS