I don’t even know how to begin this post.
The degree of disregard for the truth and our Constitution, the full on dissemination of disinformation and outright lies, the abject contempt in which all levels of the public service involved in the operations of the G20 have held the citizens of this city goes beyond unbelievable or mind-boggling. There’s not a word at my disposal that I can summon to adequately describe the degree of shock, dismay and increasing outrage welling up inside of me.
But, allow me to try.
There. I feel a little better. A little.
On Friday, we learn of a secret provincial cabinet shuffle of a 71 year-old wartime law that would allow security personnel at the G20 meeting to detain and lockup anyone who got within 5 metres of the perimeter “fence” and did not properly identify themselves. Done and done. Police willingly oblige, nabbing the unsuspecting here and there, sometimes far and away from the 5 metre line of demarcation. Upon learning about this, a sizeable chunk of the population reacts with the appropriate degree of Unmistainappallindignoustionflimflamfuckery.
Then yesterday reports emerge that, in fact, there was no such 5 metre outside the fence rule as part of the Liberal government’s tinkering with the Public Works Protection Act. According to the Canadian Press, when asked if there was an actual 5 metre zone as part of the Act, “…Chief Bill Blair smiled and said, “No, but I was trying to keep the criminals out.” This came in response to an aide for Community Safety Minister, Rick Bartolucci, insistence that “There were no extra powers granted to police for G20. As we stated repeatedly the regulation was about defining property, not police power.” Of course, when copies of the Act started making the rounds on the interwebs it was there, apparently, in black and white for all to see that, in fact, there was a 5 metre zone outside the fence.
DESIGNATED PLACES REFERRED TO IN PARAGRAPH 2 OF SECTION 1
1. The area, within the area described in Schedule 1, that is within five metres of a line drawn as follows: … blah, blah, blah, layers upon layers of lies and bullshit.
But news reports this morning inform us that, no, there never was such a law in place. The police made it up and arrested people on a whim, in a classic example of the ends justifying the means. Now most certainly, the already insanely large bill for hosting the G20 will be added to, as we’ll be paying out compensation for all sorts of illegalities carried out by security forces in order to, as the law-interpreting police chief says, “keep criminals out.”
It would be bad enough if we could just chalk all this up to gross incompetence and massive hazy acquaintance with the facts on the part of our fearless leaders. But nobody can be that stupid or gormless in the face of such intensive public scrutiny not even a representative of the cabinet of Premier Dalton McGuinty. There is something much more sinister and responsibility defying at work here.
This is intentional muddying of the waters, a multi-leveled hot potato buck passing conducted for the sole purpose of avoiding accountability by everyone involved. A deliberate creation of a big ol’ wall of confusion so opaque in its Byzantinism that it will be near impossible to uncover even the most basic facts of who knew/did what, when. All in the hopes of people just getting fed up and walking away in disgust, demanding nothing more than to be left alone so they can enjoy their upcoming summer vacation.
And civic political engagement dies just a little more, replaced by a crippling cynicism that only helps perpetuate a lawlessness and indifference to democratic principles by those we elect and appoint to uphold those very things. How dare we try to suggest that the only criminals in this whole sad, sordid affair were those who threw rocks and set police cars on fire. They are property vandals. What we’re talking about here is nothing short of the theft and undermining of our fundamental rights and freedoms that are part of living in an open society. That, I think, is the much bigger, more disturbing crime.
It’s enough to make you want to yell unmistainappallindignoustionflimflamfuckery!!! over and over again until the neighbours start banging on the ceiling, telling you to shut up.
— nails spittingly submitted by Cityslikr
My grandmother just told me how shocked she was by what happened. We’re immigrants from the Soviet Union, and she felt like within the space of a few days, Toronto became indistinguishable from her old home.
So what are you going to do about it? If there are no consequences, it’ll happen again and again…probably worse next time. What will you do? What can you do…other than spit nails??
We here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke are thinking of giving up the fight, chucking it in and moving somewhere warm where the living is easy. I don’t know, some nice little island in, say, the Caribbean. Lounging in a hammock, overlooking the blue, blue ocean. Conch fritters and dark and stormies all day long.
Acaphlegmic would do well in that environment…you, not so much. At whom or what would you rage?
the wall of Byzantinism just got a bit taller:
spin from the G&M:
“Police had thought the temporary amendment to the Public Works Protection Act meant they could demand identification from, and search or arrest without warrant, anyone within five metres of the fence encircling the security perimeter.
It didn’t: The amendment, which lasted from June 21 through June 28, only governed what they could do within the fenced area.
Police Chief Bill Blair had given a press conference that morning defending the five-metre policy in the face of public consternation: Many civil-liberties advocates argued the amendment had been made in secret and without giving people proper notice that their rights had changed.
“There was an honest misinterpretation by people who were dealing with these matters in the midst of the heat of the moment,” Mr. Mukherjee said.”
i guess “communication issues” looks a tad better than intentionally deceiving and intimidating the citizens you are supposed to “serve”. hard to square this explanation with blair’s earlier quote about the existence of the law, though: “No, but I was trying to keep the criminals out.” the stupidest thing about this phantom law is that the police obviously never had any intention of letting a single protestor within a hundred metres of the fences, let alone five. disgusting. at least all the confusion and spinning is making the prospect of a public inquiry more and more inevitable. let’s hope this anger gets translated into pragmatic political action that extends beyond facebook.
Looks like mayoral candidate Selwyn Firth was also injured by the police: