What has happened to Due Process?

Accusations of sexual misconduct by four women against London born Oscar winning director Paul Haggis in a civil suit have brought a swift response from Ward 3 councilor Mo Salih.

The subject of Salih’s attention is the London park named after Haggis in 2011.

Councilor Salih wants the park’s name changed as soon as possible.

“It’s a privilege, not a right, to have a park named after you,” said Salih. “It’s the city’s right to change the name at any time and, me personally, I don’t think it’s right to keep the name when a lot of serious questions and accusations are being put out there.”

Fair enough.

Problem is, there’s this thing called due process, one of the fundamental concepts in Canadian and American law.

In short, until the accused, Haggis in this case, has his day in court, he is presumed innocent of the charges launched against him.

Salih’s call to rename the South London park based on unfounded accusations, no matter how appealing it is in the era of #MeToo and heightened awareness of sexual harassment and sexual assault, is a tad extreme and appears to be a thinly veiled example of political grandstanding.

I hope Councilor Salih’s colleagues at City Hall will be more cautious in their responses to the news — at least until Haggis has had the opportunity to face his accusers in court.

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