Toronto
3 min

Kyle’s all over the place

City councillor responds to nasty poster campaign

BUT KYLE, WHO'S LOSING? Kyle Rae claims he's walking a tightrope. Credit: Jake Peters

Can you believe everything you read on a hydro pole?



Gay City Councillor Kyle Rae wants you to believe that you can’t.



He says a series of nasty posters about him put up by the anonymous Campaign To Remove A Prude From Public Office (CRAP-Off) is all wet.



“I can’t believe that they left out that my mother wears army boots and I’m really [fictional serial killer and cannibal] Hannibal Lecter,” says Rae.



The posters appeared all around Church and Wellesley just as the neighbourhood was gearing up for Pride week. Although most were either torn down or soon buried under the layers of event advertising, they got their message across.



“Wealthy condo owners vote more often then club fags. Just ask Kyle,” one poster reads, following up with Rae’s office number, but leaving no contact number for those responsible for the posters themselves.



“I have no idea who it is but it’s a rather cowardly exercise,” says Rae.



The posters attack Rae on many issues, including what they claim is his plan to keep more gay dance clubs from opening up in the area.



Rae denies the charges, calling some of them outright lies and others the result of a poor understanding of the way the city works.



“It’s not that Kyle Rae does not want dance clubs, it’s the city’s zoning by-laws,” says Rae, explaining why he won’t automatically support all new dance club applications.



But he also says that the protection of the residential neighbourhood comes first. And he’s not offering to sponsor by-law changes.



One poster accuses him of clearing out the homeless and squeegee kids to make way for tourism and big business. One says he has restricted their access to the 519 Church Street Community Centre, has led the campaign to criminalize squeegeeing and is responsible for the closure of the Dundas Square Salvation Army hostel.



Here’s Rae’s take on that: He does want the homeless off the street – but says he’s starting a diversion program for street kids and searching for a permanent location for the shelter.



He argued in favour of a $250,000 training program back in November. He also told the Toronto Star that those opposed to the plan “are tourists. You drive through an intersection and leave the squeegees behind. My constituents live with this day in and out.”



He added at the time that many squeegee kids may end up committing crimes.



And he explains the closure of the Salvation Army hostel by saying the arrangement was only sanctioned for the short-term.



“They have been at that site for 45 years,” says Rae. “But they’ve only had beds in there for two years and that’s because the neighbourhood said that it’s the right thing to do, but only over the winter. Is that outrageous? I don’t think so!”



(The shortage of space this summer meant the Metro Hall was turned into a temporary shelter for part of the month of June. A deal with the federal government has turned the Fort York Amoury into a temporary 150-bed shelter until the end of the year.)



Other posters say that he has supported a police campaign to end backroom and park sex.



Rae says he is against public sex.



“So having public sex is a legal act?” asks Rae. “That’s what parks are there for? I just don’t get it!”



He has implied, however, that he helps shelter bathhouses from police raids.



The posters also criticize Rae for stealing the spotlight away from Totally Naked Toronto Men Enjoying Nudity in their recent victory restoring Hanlan’s Point to a clothing-optional beach.



But TNT man Peter Simm suggests that the posterers don’t understand how instrumental Rae was in the campaign. “I’ve never failed to give Kyle full credit for the political end of it,” says Simm.



“Last year when Kyle Rae first told TNT that he was willing to spearhead this, I said, ‘Kyle, if you get us this we’ll worship you as the goddess you are.'”



Conversely, Rae dumped on nudity in last year’s Pride parade – and asked nudists to cover up.



All in all, he is unimpressed by the poster campaign.



“Clearly someone is unhappy with what I’m doing and that probably means I’m doing something right.”