Controversial Christian leader Charles McVety says Mayor Rob Ford has promised to attend a prayer rally Saturday to protest aspects of Toronto’s proposed harmonized zoning bylaw.
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Ford’s chief of staff Mark Towhey would not say whether the mayor was planning to attend.
McVety, who has significant influence within Canada’s religious right, has been a fierce opponent of same-sex marriage, gay-straight alliances in schools and abortion. He has referred to Toronto’s Pride Parade as a “sex parade.” And two years ago, the CTS television network removed McVety’s program from its lineup for violating its code of ethics, after the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council found his program made “malevolent, insidious and conspiratorial” remarks about the gay community. McVety denounced the criticism as an attack on free speech.
As with these social issues, McVety says, Toronto’s proposed zoning bylaws are an example of government going after the freedoms of religious institutions.
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The prayer rally will be held at Canada Christian College, where McVety is president. Ford, who has been criticized for not attending the Pride Parade, and a few other councillors are expected to attend, McVety said.