Cell phone video shows Parkdale rent protester nearly ploughed down

Tensions between tenant advocates and property management staff in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood escalated on May 30, when a truck driven by MetCap’s president nearly ploughed down a protestor. For more on this developing story visit the Toronto Star: Or read an excerpt of Emily Mathieu’s article below:

Parkdale property CEO nearly hits tenant advocate with truck
Video shows Brent Merrill of MetCap Living Management Inc. continuing to drive as Kevin Laforest runs backward in front of his truck. A rent strike in the neighbourhood has escalated tensions between renters and property managers.

Tensions between tenant advocates and property management staff in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood escalated Tuesday when a truck driven by MetCap’s president nearly ran over a man trying to deliver a letter on behalf of elderly tenants.

The driver was Brent Merrill, president and chief executive officer of MetCap Living Management Inc., a company that operates rental buildings across the west end neighbourhood.

Merrill told the Star he had come to the aid of a property manager who he claimed was being threatened by protesters. He said he picked up the manager on Tyndall Ave.

“He hopped into my truck. There were protesters trying to chase him,” Merrill said, adding he was trying to drive away when a man stepped in front of his pickup truck.

“We were moving the whole time. The vehicle never stopped . . . eventually he stepped to the side,” he said. “This is just escalating to the point where we need to have some reason and my people shouldn’t be threatened. They are only doing their job.”

Tenants and advocates have called a “rent strike” — withholding rent — in response to what they said is a lack of repair work and unfair rent hikes at multiple MetCap buildings in Parkdale.

The man who was nearly hit, Kevin Laforest, 26, said he was only trying to speak with the property manager and Merrill about the plight of two elderly tenants who have lived in the building for about 20 years.

“My hope was they would stop,” Laforest said. “I put my hands on the front of the truck, but they overtook my ability to backpedal and kind of ran me down a little bit.”

For more on this story visit thestar.com.

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