Over the weekend, I couldn’t believe what I was reading, hearing and seeing about events occurring in Toronto related to the G20 meeting.

Let me begin by saying that I condemn the criminal acts of the “black block” who have been described as riot tourists. These people should be caught and punished according to our rule of law.

Having said that though, I am shocked and outraged by what occurred to peaceful protestors, journalists and ordinary citizens in the name of “law and order” to tame the radical minority. What happened is a matter of public record as reported by prominent journalists such as Steve Paikin and Kady O’Malley along with thousands of citizen journalists. The tactics employed have no place on the streets of  my Canada. We would never accept them under almost any other circumstance.

This video clip was the outrageous culmination of a weekend of intimidation and force in the name of “democracy.” 

Peaceful G20 protest at Queen & Spadina from Meghann Millard on Vimeo.

Some tweets described Toronto as a police state but I don’t think that is fair to the police who were doing what their political masters asked them to do. The responsibility for what happened goes right to the very top and is consistent with our federal government’s distorted view of democracy. For me that means, we are living in what I call a “Harperstate.”

I would like to share my tweets from the evening of July 27 that expressed my thoughts about what was happening to the Canada that I know and love:

  • Why are we living in this #Harperstate? #G20 Its time for true democracy
  • My Canada is tolerant, democratic and open to dissent. Not a #Harperstate #G20
  • In my Canada the police are allies in building strong communities and not forced to serve the will of the #Harperstate #G20
  • My Canada enshrined the right to free speech. I don’t want to live in a #Harperstate. #G20 
  • In my Canada journalists exist to be a witness to our world. Not so in the #Harperstate we’re experiencing. #G20   
  • PM call an end to the #Harperstate or resign. Canada needs a leader with moral fibre. #G20   
  • In my Canada we can change the world 140 characters at a time and bring an end to the #harperstate 
  • @spaikin we’re living in the #harperstate where democracy works differently than in my Canada #G20
  •  I weep for my Canada that I have lost to the #Harperstate. I want it back and vow to get it back!

In the light of day, the Toronto police are explaining that they were trying to get members of the radical black block that were mixed into the crowd and concerned the crowd was being used to distract police. They say it is “unfortunate” other citizens protesting or going about their business were caught up when they did so.

I can’t believe that law enforcement had no other alternatives than to use such an iron fist approach especially when everything that happened came straight out of the playbook on the Miami model on how to handle protests at these events as outlined in this Toronto Star article by Catherine Porter published Saturday. The tactcs were a preplanned choice that grew out of poor choices by the Harper government to hold the G20 in Toronto’s core. Stephan Harper must wear the blame for choosing Toronto’s core for this photo-op meeting and turning it into a war zone since what occurred was so predictable.

I believe it’s time for a new model that treats everyone involved police, protestors, oridinary citizens, radicals with respect that they deserve as people. We need to choose a federal government that makes better choices on behalf of all Canadians.

3 thoughts on “I weep for my Canada

  1. I am not sure I agree. I didn’t see mass protests in the 10’s of thousands with people screaming to be heard. What I saw on the news was 100’s of idiots there just because the police were… many others there to watch it all (and sadly got swept up by police). If you go to pick a fight you get what you ask for.

    People had a choice, seems like almost everyone stayed away.

    It is hardly a challenge to our democracy. Anywhere else in Toronto (and the country) you could gather peacefully and no one would bug you… just stay away from the core area where terrorism threats are very real and could do unbelievable damage to the world.

    The best thing that could have happened would have been a large protest on Queen’s park… no march, no challenging the fence, just sit there and have a good day. Police would have had nothing to do, the asshat black clothes wearing guys would have had no crowd to hide in and use for cover, and the message would be sent that the security is not needed in Canada.

    People went looking for confrontation. The police gave them that but I do think their tactics need to be questioned as should the attitude of the officers. Lots of examples of mean spirited jerks on both sides of the lines.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts Jesse!

      There was a protest at Queen’s Park that was kettled by the police. Many of the other locations where interventions occurred forcefully were far from the leaders. Even if the protestors got to the fence, there was no threat to the world’s leaders.

      I continue to weep for my Canada. Dealing with a militant fringe does not give any government the right to treat the rest of us like criminals. A different set of choices by the Harper government would have resulted in a better result if they came out of a different mindset that didn’t belive $1 billion in security was necessary for a two day meeting–money that we’re told they can’t afford to provide day care for my children for example. They found it when it suited their agenda.

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