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Jul 4, 2014

Ed Clark speaks out on behalf of WorldPride Human Rights

By: Leor Margulies

I was privileged to attend this past Wednesday a luncheon sponsored by the Economic Club and the WorldPride Human Rights Conference, featuring an impassioned speech from Ed Clark, President and CEO of the TD Bank Group.

As many of you may know, TD has been a huge supporter of what Ed calls LGBT – Lesbians Gays Bisexuals and Trans Sexuals and their rights in the employment field, social field and all other legal rights.

He reminded us of MacKenzie King's answer after World War II to the question a reporter asked, "How many Jewish Refugees will Canada bring in?" His answer was "none is too many".

Prejudice is prejudice and once rights are taken away or limited from one group, society can only spiral downwards. Ed noted that in over 80 countries today, this WorldPride Human Rights Conference and this luncheon would be outlawed and most of us jailed for even attending.

He reminded us that it is not up to only governments to legislate change and support human rights, it is up to corporations and individuals to take action and lead by example. He gave us the example of an elderly lady whose daughter was gay. She has difficulty accepting her sexual
persuasion, but when she attended at a function where Ed Clark spoke
out on behalf of gay rights, he indicated that TD was a firm supporter of those rights and individuals. She said, "If its ok for TD Bank, its ok with me".

Ed reminded us that over 20% of children on the streets of Toronto are LGBT, most of which are there as a result of being rejected by their families. They need our help and we should be there for them.

Clearly, even from a business perspective, TD Bank's support of LGBT
here only helped the Bank attract more and a wider range of qualified employees, and gave it the ability to reach out to more and more clients. TD Bank has become one of the most successful Canadian banks over the last 20 years in Canada and the world. Doing the right thing does not necessarily mean it is bad for business.

Prejudice is prejudice, no matter how you colour it...whether it is religion, sexual persuasion, race, or otherwise, everyone is entitled to be treated on the same footing. Once you take away rights or limit those for one group, it is inevitable that others will follow.

My "hats off" to Ed Clark and TD Bank - they have helped us put Canada on the map as a leader in human rights and LGBT. Hopefully there will be countries with restrictive and discriminatory policies and laws that will stand up and take note.

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