A petition urging the Canadian government to condemn an Ontario street named Swastika Trail has received a groundswell of support, picking up over 2,000 signatures.
The petition will be read on the floor of Canada’s parliament in the coming weeks, reported the Canadian Jewish News.
Swastika Trail is located in rural Puslinch Township, Ontario. The street was given its name in the 1920s before the swastika, previously an ancient symbol of peace and good fortune in some cultures, came to be associated with the Nazis.
The petition was spearheaded by Puslinch Township resident Randy Guzar.
It urges the federal government to ask provincial and municipal governments to change the street’s name.
Guzar’s argument is that while the original intent of the street’s name was not connected to Nazi ideology, the meaning of the swastika was forever altered once it became associated with the Nazis and the Holocaust.
“This symbol is bound by cords of steel to racism and hate,” Guzar told the Jewish News. “It’s a name that is not fit for a modern Canada.”
The petition is Guzar’s fourth attempt to have the street renamed. Guzar has lived on the street for 20 years.
His third effort came to a halt in 2018 when a court decided not to review a decision by Pushlinch council to deny the name change request.
Guzar stated that his latest attempt has similarly not received the support of the council, stating that it has “unequivocally not changed its view.”
However, GuelphToday.com reported that at a May 26 council meeting, Puslinch councillors conducted an in-camera session with the township’s lawyer on the matter.
The petition states that “the swastika is an odious and hateful symbol most readily associated with the nefarious Nazi regime.”
It further asks the federal government to “work with the appropriate level of government to take every available measure to ensure that the ‘swastika’ is changed in any public place where it is used as a sign, symbol, or name in such a manner where it will, or is likely to, expose Canadians to hatred, insults, or disparages the dignity of any person or group due to their race, religion, nationality, ancestry, or place of origin.”