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Man who claims he vandalized cenotaph says Don Cherry’s firing was motive

Last Updated Nov 15, 2019 at 6:57 pm MST

A man who shares the same name as the suspect arrested for spray painting the Old City Hall Cenotaph wrote a lengthy Facebook manifesto citing the emergence of ‘cancel culture’ and the firing of Don Cherry as the motives behind the vandalism.

On Friday, Toronto police announced that Thomas Christian Zaugg, 33, of Toronto, was arrested and is now facing two mischief-related charges.

He made a brief court appearance on Friday, refusing legal counsel. A short time later, he was released to a surety bail of $750 and is required to have a mental health assessment by a doctor within seven days. His next court date is on Dec. 20.

Police allege Zaugg spray-painted the words “Ye Broke Faith” and “With Us” on the cenotaph a day after Remembrance Day.

It was also the day after controversial hockey icon Don Cherry was fired by Sportsnet for seeming to suggest during his Coach’s Corner segment that new immigrants to Canada don’t wear poppies.

“You people …that come here … you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you can pay a couple bucks for a poppy or something like that,” Cherry said.

A man with the same name as the suspect in the cenotaph vandalism posted a lengthy message on Facebook, defending Cherry’s comments and saying the erosion of free speech in Canada led him to act.

CityNews has not been able to independently verify that it’s the same person.

“What Don Cherry said was not racist, hateful or directed at immigrants,” the Facebook post states. “We have gotten to a strange place in our society when a beloved sports broadcaster, known for making fiery yet thoughtful rants gets fired for encouraging the people in the GTA to celebrate and participate by reverencing a national day of remembrance of our fallen, and continue in the tradition of buying and wearing a poppy.”

He then rails against the emergence of the so-called ‘cancel culture’ that has led to the firings of some prominent entertainment personalities.

“There is a small minority of people on the internet and in the media, who carry far too much power and sway in the minds of our politicians. People that are cheering on the implementation of the antithesis to the Canadian identity, draconian speech policing and a mass silencing of anything they deem objectionable.

“This cancel culture has gotten out of hand and I fear it is the beachhead for a cultural shift into an authoritarian communist state. This is not the future the men who fought and died in the battles inscribed on that monument died for. We have broken faith with their noble sacrifices, and we need to acknowledge that in order to start correcting that as the people of the Greater Toronto Area.”

The Facebook manifesto also defends the use of vandalism to get his point across.

“They (soldiers) did not die for us to become this type of mentally straight jacketed society, unable to speak freely or share ones view. You people, the perpetually offended hyper-sensitive adult children, are ruining our society. And that’s why I spray painted the Cenotaph.”