Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Response to M.P. Bob Rae's G8/G20 Summits Statement

Mr. Rae,
All your points are well-taken. I can’t disagree with a one of them. Full stop. Except you have omitted something, something I believe is very important.
You have omitted to positively call out a broad category of what are in my mind extremely important concerns: all the evidence which points to illegal excesses in the response of law enforcement the G20 protests. The only real reference to these is that half of the space taken for your statement here is dedicated to directing citizens where they can go to launch a complaint. This is telling…telling me what it is you have decided not to address:
Thanks to the ubiquity of video and still cameras these days, there is every appearance, and plenty of evidence, that law enforcement went beyond its legal bounds in its response to protests at the G20 in Toronto.
Your NOT joining the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, and others as well-informed, in decrying what appears obviously to be shocking abuse of Charter Rights has consequences as follows:
- the majority of Canadians felt justifiable anger and outrage at the vandalism by a minority of protesters and then, without further thought, dismissed all ‘rights’ issues about the protests as unworthy of consideration. Corrosive.
- a sizable minority of Canadians, who have poured over the ample evidence of law enforcement’s actions at the G20, are shocked and believe Charter Rights were clearly abused. Corrosive.
In BOTH cases, we have a deeply corrosive situation to Canadian values, *particularly* when you and other senior parliamentarians do not directly acknowledge the issues. If you leave these vital concerns unacknowledged and un-addressed, you:
a) leave the majority with the unexamined belief that Charter rights may be a quibble and a triviality, easily dismissed for a whole group when some of their number act in a reprehensible way.
b) send the greatly disturbed minority away with the belief that what they believe happened (a shocking abuse of Charter Rights) is of little or no concern to you. This is heart-breaking, and poisonous – you lose their participation in civic life.
I pray you, do not let this happen.
Our rights either apply to every citizen, including those to whom we may have no personal affinity, or to none of us. We can not ignore a single abrogation of these rights. One so public and fully documented as this is particularly corrosive to the tone of public life. Think about all those you lose by ignoring this, lose to the ‘conspiracy theorist’ nonsense – whose advocates use this event as evidence our Charter is mere words on paper, a soporific notion.
As the Party of the Charter, I believe the Liberal Party should be its champion. It is deeply disheartening to see the Liberal party side-stepping these critical issues. Until now, at least. Please find your strong voice, sir.

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