G20 T.O. Reflections

July 1, 2010 | By | 1 Comment

I’ve actually made a point of waiting a little before writing something about the G20 conference that blew into town Saturday and Sunday, and the violence that ran through streets and destroyed sections of local businesses around Queen and Spadina, and parts of Yonge and Dundas Square.

Reviews and interviews will follow over the next few days, but this is one of those things that had to be written due to an overwhelming disgust with the leaders of this city who refuse to admit fault where it’s due.




As a kid I never understood why my father listened and watched so much news, and was interested in politics – not to the extent of wanting to run for office, but just being aware of what was going on outside the front door. There was the morning news that he played from the little AM radio before work (which I characterize as just aural chatter designed to aid the morning wakeup process, since he never drank coffee); the evening news (local + national from 6-7pm); and the late evening news (national + local) before bedtime.

This was his ritual, and it always felt like information overload because there were repeated facts and footage that kind of made the whole thing excessive; there’s only so much news that’s new and fresh within a 12 hour period. I’m also leaving out the newspaper, but certainly the weekend Globe & Mail was, in part, an excuse to lie down on the couch, read, drink tea and eat strudel before getting on with the day’s important activities (washing car, chatting with neighbours over a beer, etc.).

I’m not a news junkie, but I do start the day with news, check in sometimes around noon to see what the big-headed reporters have to say, take a peek around dinnertime, and definitely close the day with a wrap-up of events because I like to know what stupid shit is going on. This isn’t a daily ritual, but it’s fairly regular.



The Lesser Idiot Theorem; The ‘Meh’ Measurement

We vote for the lesser idiot, and hope he or she doesn’t fuck things up too badly, and make a mess of things. If a federal election were held today, the choices are wholly uninspiring: Toronto-hating, Conservative pinhead Stephen Harper and his repulsive cronies; wet-rag Michael Ignatieff, whom most of the Liberals must quietly regard as their biggest leadership blunder in their party’s history; and NDP leader Jack Layton, who has his annoying tendency to move from smart and earnest to pompous and self-righteous, and natter on by the mic when he’s already made his point well-clear.

Provincially, Premier Dalton McGuinty has no threat to his leadership except his own ineffectiveness, hypocritical about-facing, and not telling people about important things, like allowing the police to arrest anyone who’s funny-looking if they’re within 5 meters of the wall that segregated world leaders this weekend from the rest of the planet (more on this shortly).

Municipally, David Miller espouses left and socialist concepts, but I can’t think of a single notable thing he’s done that’s made this city better. He created this term – “revenue tools” – which is doublespeak for cash-grab.

Example: I had dinner Sunday night with my friend’s parents, who just dropped $700, a heft fee that includes A) renewing the license registrations on two older cars for two years, B) a pair of mandatory the Drive Clean tests, and C) that bullshit revenue tool tax Torontonians have to pay because the city wants to extract money it can’t find in its own coffers due to mismanagement and a lousy business sense.

Being able to express these opinions is part of the rights anyone has, and we all make use of them online, in print, and in person,

Being able to freely say “Stephen Harper’s a Teflon-plated tinhead” or express sheer joy that Mayor David ‘unlucky lefty’ Miller will be gone by the end of the year are good rights to have. For normal people, the expression of either view (or both) isn’t followed by some manic need to smash the shit out of buildings or taunt cops.

The average person isn’t compelled to create friction for sake of igniting a confrontation, and while protestors want attention and want people to at least take note, I doubt those holding peace signs or singing the national anthem in the middle of a city street are security threats.

Annoying, maybe, but not a group on par with the scum known as the Black Bloc, who came to T.O. and coordinated strategic strikes to damage property, and distract the cops in the hopes of getting closer to the big fence that cocooned the G20 delegates and heads of state in a secure island a colleague noted was eerily reminiscent of Escape from New York, but in reverse: the riff-raff and criminal elements were on the outside, and inside was law, order, civility, and plans to improve the world that in all likelihood will resonate a 2.0 on the Wow Meter (otherwise known as ‘meh’).

Harper’s justified the G8 and G20 meetings as important because, as he explained in an interview with CTV Monday morning, there’s nothing like face-to-face contact that gets results. Phone and Skype and conference videos just don’t offer that human touch, but I wonder then why these mega-meetings can’t occur at the UN: it was designed as a forum for leaders, it has the infrastructure for the bloated entourages that accompany each of them, and it’s a building designed for discourse.

The questions Torontonians were asking the day after Saturday’s downtown smash-up include:

Why Toronto? Did Harper choose the city because he knew the anarchists would trash a city he detests?

Why not house it in the Exhibition Place, since its own little city? The proximity of the Metro Convention Center to the downtown core inherently endangered local businesses to the affects of the anarchists who have a decade-long history of destruction in urban centers.

Why couldn’t the G20 be Part B of the G8 get-together in Huntsville? Minister Tony Clement’s riding was outfitted with plenty of pork barrel edifices (the gazebo, the unused “media center,” the potties that are far removed from the G8 venue) and I’m sure the mosquitoes that were slicing into secret service personnel would’ve foiled some of the anarchists from smashing the store fronts of local businesses who we all know are in cahoots with the IMF, The World Bank, and giant multinational corporations that are destroying the Earth in milliseconds.



Let’s All Really Hate Toronto

This entire weekend was a new horror show for locals who live in a city that’s not exactly smart, and is generally loathed or ridiculed by many outside of its boundaries, but I hope the rest of the country is appalled at least at the behaviour of the Black Bloc – scum that pretends to hide under a ‘we’re doing this for you / fight the power / it’s all about the man’ mantra but are just thugs.

Their use of masks is laughable; their actions are designed to draw the attention of the world media, and yet they didn’t’ want the media following them, filming them, or questioning them. Media were spat on, pushed away by umbrella-wielding pinheads while more pro-active thugs smashed glass windows of many shops. When one Bloc’r lay bleeding by a bank cornerstone after a confrontation with a police baton, a colleague pleaded with the media to ‘respect their right to privacy.’

Fuck you.

You want media attention? You got it, and that cameraman has the right to shove his Canon lens right up your nose because you’ve already crossed the line of respect and civility. That reporter has the right to ask “Why are you doing this?” and get a straight answer, and if you spit in his / her face, that Canon lens ought to be shoved down your throat.

The weekend tear-ups and smash-ups included the stores and vehicles of what the anarchists branded as chief members of the imperialist evil capitalist class.


Steve’s Music Store is a local business, you myopic wankers, and the CTV media truck that got trashed was not part of multinational empire, but a bland national corporation whose only crime is the continuing employment and ongoing attempt to validate Ben Mulroney and Tanya Kim as legitimate broadcasters. Former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson was a legit broadcaster; even Conservative rep Peter Kent was one; Kim and Mulroney don’t even register near ‘meh.’

Starbucks and Tim Hortons are large corporate entities, but they’re staffed by locals earning minimum wage, and the destruction robbed them of work and money. There will be no eureka moment in which the staff of smashed up businesses will spray-paint their stores with ‘G20 Sux’ and walk off the job and join the local anarchist chapter.

I’m betting those working the day Bloc entered their store and kept them away from the window while it was being smashed will associate black clothing with violence, and they’ll be uneasy whenever someone in Bloc-like attire enters the store. Some will likely have nightmares of being physically assaulted or verbally abused, while might make them nervous wrecks for a while.

It reads facile, but it happens. You get into a car accident, and you will wake up at some point, slamming on the brakes during a nightmare. Or experience the day you got T-boned by an oncoming car, again and again. Or as your riding your bicycle, you flinch and slam on the brakes when you think someone’s about to open the door and cause you to flip over and break your arm again.

Anyone vaguely resembling the Bloc will unnerve staffers because that’s the consequence of a violent act, and the same will probably hold true for those traumatized by the police. The banal protestors who just sang or sat or danced; or the people that got trapped in a kettle Saturday night in the rain will harbor deep distrust for the cops.

That’s something Chief Bill Blair and Mayor Miller have completely forgotten: sure, they stuck with the mandate to keep protestors away from the fence, but the cost is now a seething hatred for a police chief who’s regarded by many as a liar, and a mayor who condones the hard-line tactics while at the same time feigning support for the affected store owners who deserve money from the Feds after the Bloc rampage.



‘We Don’t Need No Stinking Public Inquiry’

The Toronto Star reported last week of a law Premier McGuinty quietly tweaked that gave the police the right to search and arrest anyone 5 meters from the fence if they don’t provide ID or some reasonable excuse. Basically, if they look or smell kinda funny, they might be suspects.

Blair came forth this week and claimed his team of lawyers had misinformed him about the law which actually gave police the right to ask and search folks 5 meters inside the fenced-in area, not outside. He also claims the misinterpreted law managed to sneak past his team of lawyers, who one would suspect during their internships and long hours in law school would’ve caught the transposition error like a basic-level bookkeeper.

He also claims the law was never enforced, and yet the people screaming “shame” and “resign” at his press conferences this week claim anecdotal evidence of searches and queries that happened outside of the fence, which kind of infers the city’s chief legal administrator is lying, particularly when he claims he had no time to clarify the miscommunication with his staff and the media because of the heated events Saturday and Sunday.

When the media reported the law’s deployment in its incorrect state last week, neither the police nor the provincial reps issued a full clarification; they allowed the misinformation to permeate the city solely as a verbal enhancement tool to keep the curious away from the area. It created an elevated a sense of strict security, which Premier McGuinty justified in a June 26th interview as “in keeping with the values and standards of Ontarians.”

That’s a magnificently vague and safe-neutral stance from a Premier who’s chosen to completely distance himself from the weekend fracas. The G20 was a Federal affair, and the police were under municipal direction; McGuinty was therefore just a provincial custodian of sorts, and an arbitrator who only now felt compelled to issue a statement because he’s been otherwise silent / ineffective during much of the summit and all of the local level tensions.

His lack of leadership on behalf of Ontarians disgusted by the events, and his inability to stand up for the ‘values and standards’ of its people collectively prove he has little desire to involve himself in anything beyond ‘meh.’ He spoke to the media in limited form probably because he got a poke from an advisor who suggested it’s a good idea to give the illusion he’s still an active Premier, not because he was compelled to broker a serious discord between disgusted Torontonians and its mayor, its police chief, and getting some compensation from the Feds.

Harper’s team, in turn, is refuting citizens’ requests for an inquiry. As Dimitri Soudas, spokesperson for the PM, told the Star, “there is no need for an inquiry. The bottom line is that the police officers ultimately did their job.” They did indeed keep protestors away from the fence, which was their mandate Saturday afternoon, but the city has a right to know why there are so many reports of people claiming police abuse, and why YouTube is overflowing with anecdotal clips. Type Toronto G20, and there’s a lot of documented of anger.



Kettling and Goosing

I spoke to an acquaintance who, with his girlfriend, went to the Saturday rallies and marches purely to document them on video. Not for propaganda or political agendas, but as locals shooting home videos of a march they’ll likely never seen in the city again.

The police didn’t want observers because they were human clutter, and strategically, they’re correct: anyone standing around, gawking and bystanding during a heated encounter between law enforcement decked out in riot gear and an amorphous cloud of what they took as grey-level protestors with potential anarchists worming inside, is in the way, and their safety can’t be guaranteed.

I also understand the need to capture, record, and disseminate news and historical ephemera. We blog in text and audio and pix, and we tweet the moment we experience an awesomely robust, insoluble No. 2 simply because we can and because someone will take the time to read and reply to that experience (‘I feel4U. It hrts2mch Evn4me’).

The acquaintance’s decision to film and capture moments I kind of admire because it’s a great opportunity to experience an event away from the sterility of TV and the internet; and if the footage is good, one can create a personal documentary that might yield further filmic and journalistic pursuits. It’s a news event on your doorstep, so why not take advantage?

They did, and they bore witness to the heavy-handed tactics meted out on ‘meh’ protestors, as well as the fleeing Bloc’ers and kettling technique that made no sense when there were ordinary locals – observers or people just trying to get home – getting blocked and locked in a grid, and where their choices were to stand in the cold rain and wait until they were released, or approach the police, ‘surrender,’ and get grabbed and tackled by a group before being arrested for doing… nothing.

CBC ran a piece Saturday night in which a reporter was “embedded” with an officer who commanded her own detail. It was, quite frankly, a bit of a genial puff piece because it dealt with a detail on the fringe of the chaos. What did come through, though, were the banalities and annoyances cops had to deal with: long shifts, moments of nothing and false alarms, the chance of a violent confrontation, and those awful moments where a cop has to stand stoically and hold ground while people yell again and again in their face every few hours during a 14 hour shift.

The protestor is exercising his / her right to speak their mind, and a more anarchic character would probably try and whittle down the stoicism into that primal rage point when a person has had enough, and just wants to grab the person who’s been yelling in their face, and smack ‘em hard.

My assumption is that’s what the kettle and mass arrests were about; a bit of get-toughness, and some quiet payback for being freakin’ annoying all day yesterday. It doesn’t justify violating the right to protest, but if some guy yelled in your face for an hour about you being a fascist pig or a robot of the evil global empire, the next time you see that guy stewing in a makeshift jail cage, maybe you might go a little slower with the detainee processing, or not hear his demand for water too clearly. If you yell in someone’s face, they’ll remember you.

Released detainees held at the detention center on Eastern Avenue described a mix of long waiting times, no right to contact a legal rep, no food or water, and a lack of toilet facilities or the ability to poop with dignity. There was also a reported ‘gay cage’ to protect gay detainees from homophobes.

Local media were eventually shown the now-empty detention center, and in the face of accusations about abuse, Blair defensively explained the footage from interior security cameras will prove allegations of inappropriate treatment are unfounded – except that it can’t be shown because it’s part of an ongoing investigation.

CTV suggested the police rep was inferring some of the protestors needed to learn a lesson – a jail is a jail is a jail, and it’s not pretty – and in defense of the long holding times, he explained they had a lot of people to process and tedious protocol takes time.

Then soon afterwards Blair displayed a trove of weapons and tools the police discovered as proof of the anarchists’ criminal behaviour.

On the one hand, the Bloc were smart in coordinating their activities, forming and scattering to evade police, changing clothes and re-clothing in black to continue their self-glorifying idiocies.

They were amazingly stupid, though, for making mistakes that amateur mystery writers wouldn’t proscribe to their pulp thriller characters: in some cases Bloc’ers kept clothes and tools as mementos, making it easy for police to arrest them on suspicion of inciting shitty behaviour; others hid or dumped their gear in bushes on the U of T campus, allowing the police to hone in on their location.

And then it kind of came out that not all of the weaponry were from the weekend seizures. Blair’s defensive stance isolated two items that were the exceptions, but their presence made it appear as though the media presentation had been goosed for what he regarded as a not-too-bright public.



‘A City of Wimps’

In his opinion column, the National Post’s Jonathan Kay called his fellow Torontonians a “city of wimps”; what happened in T.O. was nothing compared to Pittsburg or Seattle or Quebec. Heck, on Tuesday there were face-to-face riots and fights between Greek police and citizens unhappy with the country’s imposed ‘measures of austerity,’ so what happened here seems provincial, if not ‘meh.’

Kay gets two core things wrong.

1) This was the most violent clash in the city’s otherwise boring history. The first time tear gas was used in T.O. And the biggest mobilization of cops and one-time arrests (1,090, so far) in the country’s history. It may seem provincial compared to bigger international events, but given its’ our first evolution as a ‘world class city,’ we deserve a bit of slack.

Some will whine about the city’s loss of innocence, with searing strings and overuse of the grating phrase ‘Toronto the Good.’ I’ve been mugged in Toronto. It’s not that good. The media turned Igor Kenk into a local pop culture icon who was celebrated at a recent book launch, except he’s a convicted bike thief, which makes the city less gooder for transforming him into a likeable oddball.

Toronto is comparatively safer than other cities, but we also have gangs, drugs, and the usual bad behaviour that comes from packing so many so close. It’s human nature, and criminals will always flock to large populations because that’s were the most victims per capita will reside in clusters.

These pre-existing criminal elements confirm there never was any innocence to lose, but we’re civilized enough to believe that rampaging scum and heavy-handed police, lying officials and flaccid outgoing politicians aren’t good for the city’s character. If this is wimpy, then you might as well call the other big city mayors who’ve started to voice their own unwillingness to host a G20-styled summit as flaccid little weaklings as well.

Saskatoon’s Mayor Don Atchison argues leaders have a right to hold meetings wherever they choose, but I think this is more than vintage nimby. It’s the shit that happens during, and the political mess that follows afterwards, and I think if Atchison were in Miller’s place, dealing with a seething local ire at the police, and increasing tales of abuse and likely lawsuits, he’d say No, realizing the fallout and lingering distrust will remain toxic to his city’s growth. If people lose faith in the mayor and police chief days after what was regarded as a great chance to show the world the city’s character and bring in tourists, the G20 is a bust no one should take a gamble on.

2) Then there’s the issue of context in Kay’s stance. He cites someone’s comparison of the G20 mess being similar to Soweto ’76. It does sound extreme, but contextually, if that person did experience face-on contact with riot police, witnessed bruises, blood, and some civil rights violations in ’76, the rumble in T.O. is still an ugly thing.

Besides, if Kay owned a local diner that was trashed, with $5000 in damages no insurance company (nor government) would cover, plus the loss of 48 hours of business on what’s normally a busy tourist block, and a staff traumatized by vandals, I think he wouldn’t characterize his own ire, frustration, and disgust as wimpy.

If he was heading home from dinner Saturday night, became caught among a crowd and found himself shoved into a kettle for four hours with nothing to do but wait in the rain or get arrested for being at the wrong place at the wrong time, he might feel a certain grievance towards the authority figures who believed everyone was a suspect.

If Kay experienced the bullshit inflicted upon Benjamin Elroy Yau – blatant rights abuse by trigger-happy bad apples – the term wimp would be high personal insult to a rotten 36 hour ordeal.

It’s worth reading Kay’s piece, as well as the varied comments, because it also suggests the media accented the worst aspects of the G20 and completely ignored details of the actual summit.



Business isn’t Booming

The Federal government stated they might cover some damages, but stores would have to have remained open during the anarchic wave, which is ludicrous because staying open would’ve endangered workers.

It’s a remarkably insulting policy that shows why the Federal, Provincial and Municipal governments should share in the blame of the anarchic wave. They knew this could happen, they knew the anarchists destroy property, and they know that a year after the recession’s peak, businesses are still struggling to keep the books balanced while wages stink at $10.25/hour.

Perhaps the most delusional stance was Miller’s plea last week to visitors that Toronto is very much open for business. VIA trains weren’t stopping at Union Station, businesses near the wall were closed for the weekend, the police were restricting travel and requiring people to carry IDs, and ‘funny looking’ photographers were viable suspects.

The crowning point occurred Saturday when the vandalism began before 3pm, and the entire downtown core was essentially in lockdown. No subway, bus or streetcar service south of Bloor Street. Businesses smashed along Queen Street. Police cars on fire. College and Young smashed up. The fear of more violence spread even to Bay & Bloor, where the Manulife Center was shut down, and the city was effectively as dead as the Northeast Blackout of 2003.

An acquaintance had what was self-described as a major dumb assignment: track down dignitaries at local haunts Saturday night, and write a social piece about their impressions of and experiences in Toronto for the big city paper. This assignment was doled out Friday, and even without a portent of the violence to follow the next day, it seemed naïve to think members of a dignitary troupe would be out exploring the city when their work involves travelling to similar urban centers for events habitually affected by anarchists.

If the dignitaries knew from experience bad shit happens outside of their hotel compound, there’s no way they’d venture outside of the fortress core, particularly when 10,000 protestors were active. That alone moots Miller’s ridiculous claim that the G20 would be good for Toronto.

We’re already on the world stage, we’re already a known tourist destination. The G20 is no feather in the cap. It’s an event no sane mayor would want in his backyard and should avoid.

Not unlike the businesses in Huntsville, shops and restaurants in near the dignitary zone made less business than on a normal bad day. There were few if any tourists. Restaurants sat empty, streets were barren, public transportation was partially shut down, and major Toronto tourist attractions like the CN Towner were closed.

World’s Tallest Free-Standing Structure and Miracle of Canadian Engineering, and it was off-limits for the weekend. Nice.



Internationally Sideswiped by the Jabulani

Some locals cocooned at home because of fear, and their fears were spot-on when the Bloc scum made its way along Queen, trashing things, spray painting abandoned streetcars (How’s a red rocket streetcar a symbol of fascist multinational greed?), and burning a police car, onto which someone pained an antiquated and laughable slogan like ‘Fuck Pigs.’ (I bet the artist actually likes Zabriskie Point.)

A colleague suggested the mob may have been fueled by a latent loathing at the U.S. chain stores that took over a section of Queen Street which once housed nothing but local, sometimes sleepy little businesses that catered to artists. Maybe, but I doubt those unhappy with the commercial transmutation over the past 20 years would pick up a trashcan and smash a Payless.

I don’t believe the G20 solves anything; besides face to face meetings, nothing that was discussed couldn’t have been done remotely or at the UN or the EU parliament.

When the CBC news interviewed a resident protestor in Huntsville prior to the G8, he stated both the G8 and G20 were irrelevant. Present at various global protests, the veteran noted that if no one among the general populace can recall where the last meetings were held and what wondrous things came from them; they’re really just bloated social events.

Each country is sovereign, and will do things at its own pace. Using our own pinhead Prime Minister as an example, hot topic issues get dragged along and little is done because it upsets the status quo. Issues and agreements can die if a leader is out of office, and his / her successor feels there’s no reason to pursue the issue.

If a leader doesn’t like an agreement, there are ways to keep it in stasis, ensure its immature status never grows into law, wiggle out, or kill it. Canada reneged on Kyoto; our bonehead leader didn’t present any legal arguments to breach the agreement, he, alongside supreme asshole of the Conservative party, John Baird, just said ‘Nope. Fuck you.’

Right now our banking system is being touted as the ideal in fiscal responsibility, but it overshadows our otherwise dismal international stature by being major polluters, and doing nothing to curb emissions.

Prior to this weekend, the focus was on cost, and the $1.2 billion simoleons we the taxpayers have to cough up to host the G-summits. Our finance and security ministers said the figure is based in real costs, not the ‘ridiculous’ figures other governments used that were deliberately low to avoid national ire.

If a billion could be allocated for this event, there better be results to curb poverty, wars, and why my life as a citizen will be better.

Of course, that’s bunk. Nothing will magically improve, and I doubt the face-to-facing gets better results than those tepid UN sanctions for wankers wanting to build nuclear bombs purely because their despotic leaders are priapically and mentally diminutive.

Harper stated in the Monday morning CTV interview that the G20 was two years in the making, and the meetings were the results of careful ongoing work among participating nations. It sounds great and promising, but does anyone really believe the world will be magically super and happy from all that pre-G20 diplomacy?

What the billion represents is a boondoggle and a blunder of funds that were squandered by an egocentric Prime Minister who felt this was his and his party’s opportunity to show the country he’s superior to the weaker opposition leaders, and the world that we’re global players. It’s a reverse negative political ad; instead of showing a puffin shitting on Stephane Dion’s shoulder, Harper mounted a Technicolor ad for his statesmanship to pro-actively implant a strong leader image in future voters while Ignatieff flounders and the Liberals remain a disorganized shell of a party that once ruled with its own hypocritical virtues and ego trips.

One billion would’ve translated to aid a city transit system underfunded by a Toronto-loathing Conservative federal government; or micro-loans to low-income earner who have the guts and smarts to exploit their skills, but can’t realize their dreams due to social and crushing financial stressors. (Hey, it worked in Bangladesh.)

If Toronto and Canada for that matter has ‘world class status,’ it wasn’t apparent in the international news. Prior to the vandalism on Saturday, CNN never mentioned Toronto; President Obama was ‘in Canada,’ and he was having meetings.

The BBC kept things brief, focusing on what faces are where: the German and British leaders watching the soccer match, and Angela Merkel’s wry grin as Germany whooped Britain’s popo. Not long after that report, Toronto was supplanted by soccer stats for the rest of the weekend.

The very omission of the fracas over two days in the international media infers perhaps that our complaints are childish and don’t warrant coverage until there’s a headless corpse hanging from the fortress fence. Two days after the Sunday clashes, Canadian news channels like CTV and CBC noted the delayed response in foreign papers.



Bad Vibes and Big Divides

A Google search, nearly a week after the G20 fadeout, yields few headlines that link to articles in which the merits, successful agreements, righteous goals are detailed. Even local papers don’t offer much in terms of what ultimately transpired at the summit, but there’s no shortage of updated info on what went wrong: just check out the G8 / G20 indexes at. The Globe & Mail. The National Post, and NOW Magazine has its own share of G20 pieces, as does The Toronto Sun.

If the ills of what should’ve been a positive event massively dominate the local headlines, then it’s a reflection of a city whose central population is disgusted and wants accountability. Never mind the Toronto-haters. We live here, and the G20 debacle has unearthed problems of egos, poor administration, communication, ill planning, naïveté, and a thorough lack of discourse in which every component involved in the fracas ended up butting heads.

The most disturbing images of this past weekend encompasses police being told to stand and protect the blasted G20 walls when their training and moral code had to be still and watch scum to a smash & run. Then the flipside, when seething anger and intolerance was meted out indiscriminately, and you have images of kettled locals, black vans spewing riot handlers who tackled and snatched protestors singing the national anthem.

For Chief Blair and Mayor Miller to shake their heads and pretend nothing went wrong is beyond intractability; you’re disrespecting the citizens you’re supposed to serve and live amongst. There’s distrust in the mayoral office that’s profound, but it reinforces what qualities make a good mayor, and Miller’s got none of them. Good riddance, Dave, and may you stay far away from T.O. politics for the rest of the millennium.

Blair’s unwavering stubbornness is toxic and has undoubtedly created fractures within the police force. The day-to-day job of an officer is to interact with society, and their skills in mediation are what keep petty disputes from blowing up into something ugly and violent, because it’s the little things that trigger the crazy switch in people. In order for the front line officer to get back to a state of normalcy and enjoy the respect of the city and his / her job, both sides need to know where mistakes were made, or the divide just sits there and howls in the wind.

Neither Premier McGuinty nor Prime Minister Harper will do anything to assist because the discord and disconnect ultimately lie within us. There’s no doubt the next elections, municipal and provincial, will provide opportunities to pillory the current leaders who bungled, but now’s the time to start a discourse. If the leaders refuse to do their job, then the public should voice as many anecdotes, citizen-level evidentiary hearings, and community meetings, because politicians and cops are part of the community, and perhaps outside of suits, uniforms, and swagger, some sense can be made of this ugly chapter in Toronto’s history.

Happy Canada Day.



Mark R. Hasan, Editor


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  1. elroy yau says:

    Thanks mark, Well Written/elroy (the ttc guy)

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