Breaking the Silence
Andrew Peek
42

Cedric is one of the tenants who lives at 296 Brunswick Ave. After Andrew Peek posted a response to this petition, I made the tenants aware of his response, and will begin publishing responses to his statement over the coming weeks. The floor belongs to Cedric, please take the time to read it.

To Mr. Peek, and the investors you represent,

I would like to preface this by stating that I did not want to become involved, that I did not seek to publicly agitate or provoke, and that in the face of a distasteful legal situation I simply did as I was directed and sought out a new home while continuing to live in this one in good faith. Until recently I had kept my head down and hoped for the best. I see now that this situation is a microcosm of a far larger problem across our great country, and that it is the inaction of men such as myself that has allowed this problem to fester beyond control. To that end, Mr. Peek, I bear you little personal ill will or anger despite my bias, and view you more as a symptom of a larger issue. Put simply, Toronto does not need more hotels. Canada does not need more hotels. By selling the land out from under our children’s feet we have utterly betrayed a generation. More homeless people line our streets than ever before in living memory. The housing market is a bad joke; corrupt, invasive, and inhuman, reinforced by poor decision making and occasional outright malice. Who will live in a city of hotels? Not Canadian citizens that’s for certain.

In the time since you have taken over control of the building, the quality of life here has plummeted. Garbage piles up outside, and entirely too many transient strangers are finding their way into the building to rummage around at all hours of the night. Now, in your immediate defence, we did give you some grief about preemptively changing some of the locks, and you may now be trying to strike some awkward balance. Unfortunately, it is not under control, and while individually I do not wish to yell at or harass any of these poor folks since it is not my job or responsibility to do so, I am less than comfortable with their continued presence, and cannot claim to feel completely safe in my own home anymore. It is my understanding that residue of some of the harsher drug types has been found outside, and in general quality of life has deteriorated severely under your watch. By your own admission in one of your Ted talks, you claim to have a shady past, and so I am forced to ask point blank: are you paying these degenerates in cocaine to ruin the place faster and drive out the good tenants? If not, take a deep breath and recognize that this is an unfortunately reasonable question for a concerned citizen to ask.

One understands that this must be a most troubling time for you, and that facing the consequences of your own choices and actions can be extremely draining. We here at 296 Brunswick have deep sympathy for your struggle, and the stress that you must be under is surely beyond compare. I believe I speak for all of us when I say thank you for bringing your own struggle to our attention, and thank goodness you don’t also have to deal with the stress of an undeserved eviction.

My time has been occupied by an unexpected ongoing search for new housing balanced against my own active work schedule. Having only recently caught up with the petition, articles, and your own response, I am compelled to offer my own corrections. The first of which is that we were absolutely pressured to take the so-called buy-out immediately. Every facet of this entire debacle has revolved around pressure both legal and psychological including a ticking clock attached to the original offer of a buyout, which started at $3,000 if we took it immediately. One assumes that the lowered quality of life is yet another example of this, complete with yet more convenient plausible deniability to shelter behind. I was, at first, strongly encouraged to just sign and get it over with because, I was told, finding a place would be easy. It is not remotely easy. It is a demeaning and insulting process, rife with petty and invasive demands, prejudice, and Kafkaesque bureaucracy, and our entire government should feel deeply ashamed of how corrupt they have allowed their own colleagues to become on their watch. If I had signed before I found a place as originally asked, I’d likely be on my way to being homeless right now, with nary a shrug from my supposed representatives.

Every tiny detail about this situation has come across as manipulative and hollow. Given your own history of walking away from me when subject matter became tense I reject wholeheartedly the premise that you are interested in engaging in difficult conversations. You speak not merely from a place of unearned privilege, but from a place of naivete. You who has not struggled, you who has not feared for his future, you who work out your glamour muscles but can’t look in a mirror. It honestly repulses me that you want to act like our friend. Your choice of diction and your micro-expressions betray the truth that the imagery of helping us is mostly about catering to your own apparently fragile ego and, like the city’s commitment to us, ends well before any kind of actual promise or guarantee. I long for a simpler time when I could answer to the men who want to take my home with a broadsword, but since our entire country is corrupt beyond measure, to the point of essentially being occupied territory, one is forced to conclude that the only answer lies in running for office. I’m not sure where to start, I don’t want to run, and I doubt I would have much support, but if we don’t step up and solve the problem, more symptoms like you will inevitably appear.

No more hotels. No more homelessness. Put Canadians first.

Thank you for your time, and I encourage you to find a new line of work that benefits all Canadians.

Yours sincerely,

CFW

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