Ever since I can remember I've heard the comment that there is "no difference" between Canadians and Americans. I respectfully beg to differ as there is a difference on so many levels! We have unique Canadian culture consisting of Canadianisms, a Canadian perspective on world events, Canadian cuisine as well as products and foods only available in Canada. This blog is dedicated to celebrating all things Canadian from "my perspective" as a Canadian. Please enjoy your visit and be sure to visit often.

Garden Gnome
Americans should never underestimate the constant pressure on Canada which the mere presence of the United States has produced. We're different people from you and we're different people because of you. Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is effected by every twitch and grunt. It should not therefore be expected that this kind of nation, this Canada, should project itself as a mirror image of the United States.
- Pierre Trudeau

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Did Police Break the Law During the G20?

The controversy over the police actions during the G20 Summit in Toronto continues to make waves across.  An article by the Torontoist questions whether the police broke the law during the G20.  They indicate that the legal implications of the police actions include:

  • failure to stop Saturday’s riot
  • misleading people about the fence
  • actions toward individuals
Much of the concern over the police actions have focused around civil rights infringements during the G20 weekend.  Of the 1,105 people detained about three-quarters have had all charges dropped against them or were never charged in the first place. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) has threatened a lawsuit against the police.

The Ontario ombudsman under Andr√© Marin will investigate the introduction of a regulation that gave police broad powers to search and arrest people within Toronto's G20 summit perimeter.  They will specifically be looking at how the regulation was passed and why as well as how that regulation was communicated to the public.  The G20 regulation designating the G20 security fence and the area within it a public work under the Public Works Protection Act (1939) was passed by the Ontario cabinet on June 2.  On June 24 the regulation came to light when a man was arrested for refusing to provide ID to police while exploring the fence around the G20 "red zone" two days before the summit.  Marin's office only makes recommendations and they are not legally binding, but historically their recommendations have always been adopted by the provincial government.  Marin's office has received 60 complaints relating to the G20 including one signed by 129 York University professors.  According to Marin's office a "lack of transparency and public communication" about the temporary regulation led to an "atmosphere of secrecy and confusion and contributed to the violation of civil liberties".

Expanded police powers were originally reported to apply to a five-metre buffer zone outside the security fence.  Toronto police chief Bill Blair said in a press interview that the provision never existed but he was content to let people think it did.  Premier Dalton McGuinty acknowledges the regulation was passed and could have been explained more clearly but does not feel he owes the public an apology.  However, there are wide reports that police were stopping people well outside the G20 security zone, questioning them and searching their bags in public spaces.  The Toronto Police Services Board has ordered an independent review of police actions during the G20 protests.  An internal review of police operations will also be conducted.

In the meantime Mayor David Miller has issued a public apology on behalf of the city of Toronto to those who were detained.  The rest of Canada watches and waits to see what the outcome of this almost comedy of errors involving Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Premier Dalton McGuinty, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, and Toronto Mayor David Miller.  It's now all political posturing!


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