Authors, newspapers & soldiers lament G20

08 Jul

It’s been nearly two weeks since the G20 summit, and if you’ve been reading this blog, you probably know that yup, I’m still pissed off. That’s because this simply isn’t one of those things that passes, it’s something that will get worse unless we do something about it.

Don’t just take my word for it. I’m just a lowly tech writer and public servant. Fortunately, no less than Canada’s pre-eminent author, Margaret Atwood, agrees with me. She penned an op-ed in The Globe and Mail on Tuesday that was in complete agreement with what I said the other day:

People are still poring through the fallout from that Toronto protest. Who did what, when, to whom and why? Why – knowing of the dangers of holding the G20 in a fenced-off, emptied-out downtown Toronto – did Prime Minister Stephen Harper not respond to Toronto’s pleas and change the venue? Why were legitimate NGOs blocked from access to the press, within the security-protected playpen? What accounts for the Ontario government’s confused instructions about security laws? Why the beat-up journalists? Why the nonchalance about the Black Bloc rampage? Why the wholesale roundups of bystanders?…

…It was our image of ourselves that was attacked. The well-meaning knitter and jolly world-improver image got a boot in the face. But that image could save us yet. Clap your hands if you believe in it – better still, vote for it – and maybe it will come to life again.

Then there was yesterday’s Toronto Star editorial, which asked many of the right questions, and which said that a simple inquiry is not enough:

A full inquiry could ask what [Prime Minister] Harper was thinking when he decided to locate the summit in the downtown convention centre rather than (as Mayor David Miller had suggested) the Exhibition Grounds, why [Ontario Premier] McGuinty chose to give police additional powers without telling the public, and why the police appeared first to under-react and then to over-react to events, with the result that constitutional rights were trampled upon… We’re still waiting for the real public inquiry.

Lastly, there was a commenter on The Torontoist’s website who identified himself as a soldier who served in Afghanistan. His identity is unverified but there doesn’t seem to be any real reason to doubt that he is what he says he is. And what he is is disgusted:

I don’t care if Osama Bin Laden himself is hiding on Queen Street like Waldo… you don’t just drop an airstrike on the village… I support our law enforcement as i support our troops. But my support is not a blank cheque to be held cheaply against the values and rights you trample as surely as you stepped on our flag. You will find me a tenacious opponent and one now who wants to know just how that cheque i did write you was used… and i think after saturdays impotence and sundays ignorance someone has to pay the piper…

The unknown soldier’s full comment (which I encourage you to read) pretty much puts things in context. I hope this is something that Canadians – not just the people who live in Toronto, but all Canadians – don’t let slide. At the very least, when election time comes around, whether it’s municipal, provincial and federal, remember how our rights – the rights that our soldiers die for – were abused and make your displeasure known.

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Posted by on July 8, 2010 in g20


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