Thursday, July 8, 2010

G20 Policing: "The subject who is truly loyal to the Chief Magistrate will neither advise nor submit to arbitrary measures."


Does the Globe and Mail's masthead still remind we Canadians of this every day?

This blog post takes my writing in a different direction than I intended, but I did not feel the subject could be ignored.

A fundamental assumption I have as a Canadian is that I am free to express dissent to majority opinion. Should I be afraid to make this public statement? Is it ridiculous to get worked up that some young idealists were beaten and jailed for showing up with signs and flowers at the G20? If I have reason to be afraid for speaking up, I am more determined to do so. And if any Canadian should think it ridiculous to defend the rights of some "foolish young hippie types" beaten up by police - I am going to remind them of what we "stand on Guard" for here in Canada.

I am absolutely shocked that it would EVER be considered acceptable that police herd, physically beat, charge and imprison peaceful protesters. Then, as prisoners, not to provide them access to legal counsel! Not to mention that, in too much of the amateur video shot during G20 protesters, I see police showing contempt striding around threateningly. What happened to the honourable Canadian Mountie? Have thugs with badges, crude language and a 'beat down' impulse replaced them? They are front-line representatives of the Justice system to me. What happened to the country I have always been so quietly and fiercely proud of, so free and open, where we each confidently may publicly express our different opinions?

We MUST speak up and forcefully reprove these police actions; it is our duty as Canadian citizens. Police must know what is and is not acceptable for them to do according to community standards. Even though most Canadian would think it true that our police normally do adhere to our community standards of behaviour, when they do not, they must be held accountable. We have decided we will be a Decent people. No police action that falls below that standard should be ignored.

That police did have 'black bloc' vandals hiding in the crowd to catch and stop has *nothing* do do with how they treated the mass of young idealists. To catch the vandals, they'd have been better to have officers befriending and protecting protesters like they do for parades; they could have picked up vandals when they showed up one and two at a time. The property damage by these misguided 'anarchists' could have been prevented. Huge battle lines of police in riot gear as a first response is not a measured response. The crowds would have supported police apprehending the few people setting fires and breaking windows. These vandals ruined the opportunity for people with messages to give to news cameras and (hopefully for them) the G20 leaders.

To keep consistent with their defense of the G20 police actions, police should have a billion dollar force of police in riot gear and tanks out at every Stanley Cup final. Ridiculous.

While I felt no need to join the mostly young people expressing their dissenting opinions at the G20, I am shocked that, even for a moment, any patriotic Canadian would not absolutely defend their right make those opinions heard. Bloody hell, an international journalist was beaten, an amputee had an officer knee his head and had his artificial leg ripped off in Queen's Park while his daughter looked on in horror. Do a little research: there are many - far too many - shocking examples of similar police actions. This must not be let pass.

I want to see the Hon. Vic Toews, Canada's Public Safety Minister, repudiate the inappropriate actions of police during the G20 summit. Unless he does, I will be returning the national award for Crime Prevention I received from his predecessor in 1985 while a member of the Rotary Club. It is the honourable image of our national law enforcement agencies that Minister Toews will be protecting in doing this. Not to repudiate this unacceptable stain on the reputation and image of law enforcement in Canada is to say that these kinds of arbitrary arrests and limitations of freedom ARE acceptable in Canada. Never.

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