Tenant group recommending getting other tenants evicted!

Dopey Advice

Did the Federation of Metro Tenants Associations advocate evicting pot smokers?

Some people reading an e-mail on a Federation Web discussion group from a tenant complaining about a spliff-smoking neighbour were certainly aghast that advice was given on how to proceed with eviction.

The Federation says it wasn't so. They were merely informing the tenant about the eviction process.

But federation program coordinator Dan McIntyre admits that their initial advice was open to that interpretation and clarifies their position: On the issue of marijuana use, (we're) not gonna touch it.

This was excepted from NOW Magazine Online Edition, VOL. 22 NO. 2, where you can find Evict Pot Smokers

Here are the postings the article is talking about where the Tenant Hotline director at the time, Howard Tessler admits he got a neighbor evicted and how this person could get a tenant evicted for smoking marijuana! Then once they get publicly exposed for giving out city funded advice on how to get neighbors evicted they blame it on somebody with a better competing website even though they have to approve of all postings before they go up and Dan McIntyre another employee of that group publicy supports the advice and this is supported by former employee and board member Kristina Brousalis.

A former FMTA employee confirms that they have continued to advise tenants on how to get their neighbors evicted for smoking marijuana without any consideration for the circumstances, like it being a terminally ill person with a federal permit to smoke pot. They have a passionate hatred of marijuana.

Within a few days of the advice from Howard Tessler, they deleted his reply, and a few weeks after they deleted the whole thread from the record, but it had already been saved.

Ilegal Drugs and The ACT
Posted by Dave MacNea on 9/2/2002, 10:28 pm

Thanks for your earlier excellent advice regarding receipts from the landlord.

I have one more problem. One of my very near neighbours in this
building smokes marijuana. It used to blow out into the hall but
very little odour came through my door. Another tenant complained
about the odour in the hall. Now I rarely smell it in the hall but
the odour regularly blows in through my windows and onto my

Do I have to put up with this unwanted smoke? Must I phone the
police or is the landlord empowered to investigate and act on my

Finally, how much information do I have to provide the landlord
about the identity of this marijuana user?

I look forward to your helpful response!

Re: Ilegal Drugs and The ACT
Posted by Howard on 9/3/2002, 9:56 am , in reply to "Ilegal Drugs and The ACT" [Howard Tessler was the director of the Tenant Hotline giving legal advice although he nor any of their hotline "counsellors" are lawyer nor paralegals.]

I had the exact same problem where I used to live.Tell the
landlord in writing about issue. Your balcony is part of your unit
and you pay rent for enjoyment of the unit. The tenant using the
drug is disturbing and interfering with your use and enjoyment.

Document the times and dates you are being disturbed. The landlord
can start eviction proceeding against the tenant.

However, you must sign the letter and perhaps even be a witness at
the eviction proceedings.

Re: Ilegal Drugs and The ACT

Posted by Dom on 9/4/2002, 7:28 pm , in reply to "Re: Ilegal Drugs and
The ACT"

Are you really suggesting that instead of discussing the situation
with this obviously-cooperative person (when they learned that
people were being disturbed when they smoked INSIDE THEIR OWN
HOME, they were thoughtful enough to take it outside), the
landlord and/or police should be involved and "eviction
proceeding" should be started?!?

Seems very ignorant of you. Shamefully so, I'd say
I would suggest that the 'victim' discuss the situation with your
neighbour, and they'll probably be happy to try to come to some
kind of compromise. Pot smokers aren't evil people to be
frightened of or arbitrarily adversarial towards. Hundreds of
thousands of Canadians use Cannabis for very legitimate medical
reasons and if you choose to be closed-minded and un-cooperative,
you surely will be the one in the wrong.

Re: Ilegal Drugs and The ACT
Posted by Dan McIntyre on 9/6/2002, 10:42 am , in reply to "Ilegal Drugs
and The ACT" {McIntyre is the head of the Federation of Metro Tenants}

Issues like this are difficult to deal with.

The simple answer to your simple question is that you would have
to go "on the record".

Before contemplating that, you should make every effort to work
with your neighbour to see if another compromise can be reached.

For the FMTA, this kind of question creates an inherent conflict.

On one hand, we are obligated to provide Dave with the best advice
possible as he has a right to "reasonable enjoyment of the rented

ON the other hand, we are here to prevent evictions. In fact, we
have helped thousands of tenants on this very matter of preventing

On a factual matter about the eviction process, a tenant can not
be evicted without due process and without being given an
opportunity to fix the offending behaviour. A tenant also has the
right to legally dispute any application to the Tribunal

On the issue of marijuana use.......not gonna touch it.

Re: Ilegal Drugs and The ACT
Posted by Dom on 9/7/2002, 1:55 am , in reply to "Re: Ilegal Drugs and
The ACT"

Hey again folks,

Wanted to say right on and keep up the good work.

I can understand the "not gonna touch it."

I feel an obligation to share some thoughts on the subject. I
heard about this discussion on another, newly-established message
board, one we call the Toronto Cannabis Community. We, too, are
involved with non-profit organizations that exist to help people.


One of our members was quite disturbed by the recommendations of
the deleted reply, his feelings being that the reply:

"Is a message from the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations
advising how to get marijuana users evicted from their apartments!
This is a group that gets $325,000 from the City of Toronto on the
claims they are preventing homelessness.

This message is helping to get terminal patients like myself
thrown out into the streets!"

I'd just like you to know that our opinion is, as I said on our
board: "From the limited research I've done, this [the FMTA] seems
like a pretty decent group who actually do exist to help people."

In Canada, approximately:
47% of people approve of outright legalization of marijuana
70% of people approve of decriminalization
92% of Canadians approve of marijuana for medical purposes
So chances are real good that a whole lot of the tenants that this
organization represents are sympathetic to the medicinal marijuana
cause. In fact, for many reasons financial, political etc. and
even situations similar to that discussed in this thread, medical
marijuana users may even be more likely than others to need and
seek the advice and aid of a group such as yours. And I'm sure
you'll all agree that they are just as deserving of your help as
anyone else.

One thing that concerns me, and it may be the handywork of the
- please correct me if it's at all wrong - is this
statement by the person who clued me into this conversation:

"I e-mailed him [the author of the original and deleted reply - a
representative of the FMTA?] directly and his private response was
that all pot smokers should be locked away in jail so we can
withdraw from our addictions.

I bet he doesn't know anybody with terminal cancer."

I hope the email response was the work of the imposter, and not of
someone working with a non-profit organization that exists to help
people in need. Otherwise, I think an apology is in order.

Our Senate just published a report after 2 years of research that
concluded (again and at great expense) that Cannabis should, of
course, be legalized. The only arguments against this logical
removal of a ridiculous prohibition are based on ignorance and
disinformation. Anyone who takes the time to do the slightest bit
of research into the subject can generally come to only one
conclusion: Cannabis should never have been made illegal in the
first place.

And most relevant to the FMTA, Cannabis laws and resulting
persecution and discrimination have certainly harmed tenants and
in many ways violated their rights, far more than Cannabis users
might have violated other tenants' rights.

Thanks and much respect,

Some more stats:
75% per cent of drug-related criminal charges are connected with
65% of people arrested for marijuana related crimes are for simple
Approximately 50,000 Canadians are arrested each year for
marijuana related crimes.
(49,639 in 2001 - according to Statistics Canada)

Re: Illegal Drugs and The ACT Posted by Kristina on 9/7/2002, 3:51 am , in reply to "Re: Ilegal Drugs
and The ACT" {This is Kristina Brousalis}

Hi Dom:
thanks for your informative post!

I just wanted to provide some feedback on what I understand to be
the perspective of people working at the FMTA (I used to work
there myself, and know all the people who posted on this topic)

You Wrote: "I e-mailed him [the author of the original and deleted
reply - a representative of the FMTA?] directly and his private
response was that all pot smokers should be locked away in jail so
we can withdraw from our addictions.
I bet he doesn't know anybody with terminal cancer."

Although of course I can't speak for certain on this topic, I
would be very surprised to hear that any person working at the
FMTA would voice such a strong opinion around marijuana use - or
around any other drug use. I know these people to be openminded
and tolerant about many, many controversial topics. So I would
suspect that it was indeed an impostor who sent this response to

I would also agree with you that cannabis-smoking tenants do not
generally violate other tenants' rights by virtue of smoking in
their homes.

I should note that tenants are stigmatized for all sorts of
reasons, both based on "legal" and "illegal" behaviour. For
example, I've seen cigarette smokers get evicted... and this a
perfectly legal activity (and one which brings decent revenues to
the government, on top of it). Tenants face all manner of
challenges: homophobia, discrmination on the basis of ethnic
origin, drug use, alcohol use, gambling, etc.

All this to say - perhaps we can all work together to reduce the
various forms of stigma attached to tenant behaviour in their own

Re: Ilegal Drugs and The ACT
Posted by Dan McIntyre on 9/7/2002, 12:14 pm , in reply to "Re: Ilegal
Drugs and The ACT"

Thank you for your post Dom.

I trust all open minded people will be mindful of all the issues

I think the e-mails you described fit the pattern of our well
known agitator cabal. Similar fact story. About a year ago,
Michael Janigan of the well respected Public Interest Advocacy
Centre in Ottawa called me and encouraged the FMTA to support
their work in fighting for low energy consumers. I was pleased to
do so and at our next meeting, our Board unanimously approved
this, including our being a member of the Vulnerable Consumers
Energy Coalition.

Later, Michael gets an e-mail completely fabricating the existence
of a meeting and statement from me in order to undermine our
positive action.

Michael Janigan has known me for about 20 years so he knew it was
a hoax...but perhaps if he had not.

Similarly, we have seen actions involving Hi_Rise communications,
and the Canadian Associations of Retired People, Centre
519.....and most of all, the City of Toronto.

Only myself and Howard Tessler answer e-mails to FMTA. I can
assure you that my views are not that suggested by our e-mail
friend..... as I remind my younger colleagues...I was around in
the sixties.....yes I did....yes I inhaled......but I haven't for
27 years.

Howard has his share of health problems in his life and I am very
confident that those are not his views either.

I might add, I was disgusted at the recent actions to close down
the centre on Bathurst street. Your case has been made very
well..and I wish you all the best in seeking better health for so
many people...and overcoming the barriers that block their relief.

Thanks again for posting.

Re: Illegal Drugs and The ACT
Posted by Dom on 9/7/2002, 12:26 pm , in reply to "Re: Illegal Drugs and
The ACT"

OK, it's all starting to make a little sense now.

Wow, I just can't believe the devious and ignorant BS, the
pointless harassment and aggravation these people are putting your
apparently kind organization through.

Sucks when a group who is, again, just trying to help people, has
to waste energy on idiotic and spiteful nonsense like theirs.

Oh well, it's nice to have truth and compassion on our side.

Re: Ilegal Drugs and The ACT
Posted by Darlene on 9/9/2002, 5:30 pm , in reply to "Re: Ilegal Drugs
and The ACT" {Darlene Stimson was another untrained FMTA hotline counsellor}

Howard has confirmed that he never made that posting and it was
Bob Levitt who hacks our site passwords.

He has a fake torontotenants website to rip off tenants for his
crooked paralegal service. The police are always after him.

He works with the landlords to do everything he can to undermine
the real tenants movement.

He has hacked into the system and posted wrong advice here many
times before and this is another case.

He is the reason the Harris government brought in forced community
treatement orders!

Levitt gets fake story into NOW
Posted by Kenn on 9/12/2002, 10:11 pm , in reply to "Re: Ilegal Drugs
and The ACT"

It had to be that ass Bobby Levitt who got a fake story into NOW
saying we support the eviction of tenants.

It is clear he set up his fake tenant web site because he is
trying to get huge government grants out of his web site.

Email NOW letters@nowtoronto.com and let them know they were
tricked by that idiot and it is a false story they ran.

Give them HELL!!!

Email abuse@geocities.com and complain about his fake
torontotenants web site and demand they take down that useless
site. Dont let him get away with destroying the tenants movement.

Re: Levitt gets fake story into NOW
Posted by Dom on 9/14/2002, 11:17 am , in reply to "Levitt gets fake
story into NOW"

I wouldn't be so sure that that story was the work of "Bobby

Many people were indeed irritated by the horrible advice given in
this situation on this board. Again, the FMTA does seem to do
great things, but may also have some rotten apples in the bunch.

With all due respect to Dan and the rest of the FMTA, the message
that was deleted
, that was, according to the FMTA, both:
"the work of a depraved individual pretending to be Howard
"the original response made by Howard...and on reflection we
determined that the answer may have appeared that we were
encouraging an eviction of another tenant ...."
and was deleted completely numerous times and is now nowhere to be
was very ignorant and completely contrary to any rational policy
an organization like the FMTA must have. And the email response
sent to a shocked toronto tenant and medical marijuana user
stating that all pot smokers should be put in jail where they can
withdraw from their addictions may have come from an imposter or
an FMTA rep, only one person knows for sure.

I still wonder if the FMTA rep. Howard Tessler is any less at
fault than the "agitator" Levitt or cabal or whoever.

And again - if not, a public apology must be in order.

Re: Levitt gets fake story into NOW
Posted by Dan McIntyre on 9/14/2002, 7:36 pm , in reply to "Re: Levitt
gets fake story into NOW"

This is in response to Dom's posting of September 14. Dom and I
exchanged some very good posts last week, and I want all fair
minded people like Dom to be clear about the following.

The original response made by Howard was incomplete. Howard
answered the question from the point of view of the tenant who
asked the question.....but left a lot out.

The answer needed to be improved and clarified, which I did.

I spoke to Howard at some length this week about his views on
eviction and marijuana and about answering questions on this

I am satisfied, that although his answer was not good, that Howard
remains committed to fighting eviction and his views on marijuana
use are tolerant.

We have paid a price for Howard's original answer. Troublemakers
in our community have tried to exploit the answer. They wanted
people to jump to the conclusion that we were helping landlords
evict tenants. We help thousands of people a year. We are eviction

It is also new that we have tried to answer some questions on this
discussion board. I am finding that it may not be wise to answer
sensitive questions here....that is what our Hotline is for. {I think he means the hotline is there so they can give bad or wrong advice without witnesses and still get $100,000's a year for doing so like their predecessor Tenant Hotline. }

I have personally answered thousands of tenant inquiries. I have
found that one on one discussion allows for getting to know the
caller and to help identify possible solutions to their problems.

All tenants have a right to reasonable enjoyment of the rented

Our other dilemna is this. When we found an unsatisfactory answer
on this site, we removed it and replaced it with a better answer.

Our agitators would have us leave the answer on....to compound the
problem and for them to exploit their agenda..the elimination of
services to tenants.

In a sense, the discussion board has an advantage in that answers
can be improved through discussion.

I also can assure one and all that neither Howard nor any one else
with the FMTA sent any such e-mail respecting the use of
marijuana. This is clearly the work of an agitator. The agitators
have many imaginery identities and vivid imaginations.

However, we regret that the first answer given by Howard caused
any misunderstandings or hurt to any one.

I also invite people to look at a post today about evicting room
mates and how I responded.

Chances are the question is real...but maybe it is a plant? I
would appreciate Dom's comments or any one else on my response,
but I closed off further replies to the original message.

Thank you for reading this and thank you for keeping an open mind.


Re: Levitt gets fake story into NOW
Posted by Rachel on 9/19/2002, 6:01 am , in reply to "Re: Levitt gets
fake story into NOW"

It looks like NOW learned their lesson.

I had expected they would have anti-tenant letters in this issue
to back up their anti-tenant story last week but there wasn't one.

There was one letter about them being idiots so they must have
realized they were idiots to run the original fake story or they
wouldn't have run this week's letter.

They must have realized that they couldn't fight the 1,000,000
tenants of Toronto many of whom the Federation has prevented from
becoming homeless. NOW knows these tenants will fight for the
tenants movement.

Keep up the pressure and write to letters@nowtoronto.com to force
NOW to print a retraction and apology to the tenants of Toronto
for writing that false story last week.

There are no responses to this message.

{Now what I like most is the hypocritical disclaimer the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations posts at the end of each and every message considering that many of the most offensive postings are made by their employees or from members of their board of directors.}


The purpose of these boards is to provide a non-judgemental, supportive environment for tenants to discuss problems they are having and possible solutions. We welcome all tenants to post messages relevant to their struggles and successes, ideas for change or upcoming events of interest to tenants. However, we require th at all postings be respectful of other opinions and ideas, and be free of condemnation.

We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any messages. The messages express the views of the author, not necessarily the views of the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations. Any user who feels that a posted message is objectionable is encouraged to contact us immediately by email; and we will make every effort to remove it, if deemed necessary.

You agree, through your use of this service, that you will not use these boards to post any material which is knowingly false and/or defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, sexually explicit, threatening, invasive of a person's privacy, or otherwise violative of any law. You agree not to post any copyrighted material unless the copyright is owned by you. You also agree not to impersonate any person in the Toronto Tenants Unite! Message board. Anyone found in violation of the above will be banned from the board.

The Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations reserves the right to delete any message for any or no reason whatsoever. You remain solely responsible for the content of your messages, and you agree to indemnify and hold harmless the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations, Boardhost and their agents with respect to any claim based upon transmission of your message(s). All personnel of the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to loss or damage caused, or alleged to be caused, directly or indirectly, by the information contained in this message board.

The Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations also reserves the right to reveal your identity (or whatever information we know about you) in the event of a complaint or legal action arising from any message(s) posted by you.

Please note that advertisements, chain letters, pyramid schemes, and solicitations are inappropriate on these boards.

Finally, we encourage you to help build a safe, non-judgemental environment in this tenant message board community by treating each other with courtesy and respect.

Go back to the Federation of Metro Tenants Associations Story