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Motion to change name of London’s Paul Haggis Park fails at city hall

Paul Haggis poses in front of the Paul Haggis Park sign Jan. 20, 2017.
Paul Haggis poses in front of the Paul Haggis Park sign Jan. 20, 2017. Instagram.com/paulhaggis

The community and protective services committee at London City Hall has decided not to move forward with a motion to change the name of Paul Haggis Park.

The motion was brought forward by Coun. Mo Salih in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against the London-born writer, producer and director.

Some of his council colleagues, including Phil Squire, felt it might be premature to rename the park, preferring to let the legal process play out before making a decision.

READ MORE: Paul Haggis rape accuser denies claims of Scientology conspiracy

Speaking during the meeting, Salih said he didn’t want to accuse Haggis, but felt some action was needed.

“I know these are difficult conversations, and I want to make sure when a young woman or young girl walks through a park, that they feel safe and that their city supports them,” said Salih, who admits he was disappointed no one seconded his motion.

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“I think we have a lot of work to do, and I’m ready to do that work with my colleagues, and ready to do that work with the community. This is the will of the committee and I recognize that and support that, but hopefully, tomorrow will be better.”

READ MORE: Paul Haggis’ ex-wife Deborah Rennard defends him against rape allegations

Some of his council colleagues, including Phil Squire, felt it might be premature to rename the park, preferring to let the legal process play out before making a decision.

Coun. Anna Hopkins spoke about her own experience with stalking and how as a survivor, she too wants to make sure women and girls feel safe in the city.

Ultimately, she felt it would be better to wait to rename the area.

“We really need to look at all these policies, we live in a country that gives us the right to defend ourselves and we are innocent until proven guilty and I think that is one of the things we should probably never forget.”

READ MORE: Paul Haggis Denies Sexual Assault Allegations

Councillors also spoke about the possibility of changing the city’s naming policies, with Coun. Phil Squire wondering if living people should even be eligible to have areas named after them.

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