06.30.2010 09:22 AM

G20: Liberals demand inquiry, Reformatories say no

Mark Holland, the Liberal party’s safety and national security critic, said Public Safety Minister Vic Toews should appear before another Commons committee, national security, to explain “how they messed this up so badly.

“This was a disaster on just about every level,” the Ajax-Pickering MP told a news conference. “Even after spending a billion dollars they couldn’t even protect store owners along Queen St. and other parts of the city so we are going to need answers for that.”

Dimitri Soudas, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, said there is no need for an inquiry.

What do you think?  As I’ve suggested a few days ago, both the police (reputationally) and citizens (constitutionally) would benefit from an independent review of some sort.

Comments are open.

43 Comments

  1. I suggest that this was certainly a totally screwed up mess.There was too many bosses and not nearly enough control…..or so it seems.There was (from reports) way too many decisions made,costing way too much money,that were made simply to protect someone’s butt and to cater to political pressure from many sources.
    Please tell me what will be gained from having another dog and pony show of a commons committee sit for months accusing and defending back and forth for the cameras of CTV and CBC.
    Mark Hollands job is to make the sitting government look bad whenever he can.Soudas and conservative MP’s are there to make the sitting government look good whenever they can.
    It is over.The money has been and will be spent.Let our auditor general do the audit.If there has been criminal activities……jail the crooks.Get on with life.
    We/I are/am sick and tired of committee after committee doing their dance and accomplishing nothing.

    • Robin says:

      I agree, let’s just, as you say, “Get on with life.” We’ll just learn to live in an autocratic society where our Reformatory gov’t spends us into a police state. As long as we don’t act like we have any freedoms or liberties, we’ll get along just fine under Harper’s high-spending authoritarian regime.

  2. Blair Shumlich says:

    Absolutely an inquiry is needed. Even just to clear up all the misinformation in the air from both sides.

    • stanzela says:

      Agreed! People ask what will be gained from an inquiry, as though ‘following through on a majority public demand’ isn’t a good enough answer. Both sides have asked for it, and this is a democracy. After this weekend, we could use every reminder of that fact that we can get.

    • stanzela says:

      Agreed! People ask what will be gained from an inquiry, as though ‘making good on a majority public demand’ isn’t a good enough answer. Both sides have asked for it, and this is a democracy. After this weekend, we could use every reminder of that fact that we can get.

  3. Namesake says:

    I’ve already weighed in too much on this in the previous threads, except for this:

    maybe this wasn’t his intent to deceive on this but was the fault of his staff who thought we were too dumb to remember what we’d seen on the news just a couple days before, but the TO. Police Chief Blair didn’t do himself any favours with that little show & tell news conference yesterday to show everyone what dastardly threats the demonstrators were,

    since most of the most menacing or disturbing exhibits were actually from seizures deemed _not_ to be G20 related:

    incl. not only the chain saw & crossbow & some other tools, but the chain-mail suit & the “flaming arrows.”

    The former was from the strange 53-yr. old who was pulled over on Thursday with his car packed full of stuff (maybe cuz he’d just been evicted, or thrown out by his partner or something: it seemed the cops never did could get to the bottom of it); here’s a good photo of all those un-G20-related items:

    http://news2.onlinenigeria.com/news/39351-G20-Toronto-Man-arrested-with-crossbow-and-chainsaw.html

    The latter was from some guy who does Sword & Sorcery fantasy role playing on weekends, who also just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, & was mortified to see his stuff on display there:

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/toronto/weapons-seized-in-g20-arrests-not-what-they-seem/article1622761/

    Which leaves the remaining items like, gasp!, bicycle helmets, and spray paint cans! Quel horreur! Sure, there were hammers & such, but we already knew that the BlackBrats were there to smash some stuff to get on YouTube, but even they made clear they weren’t there to hurt anyone.

    So, yeah, if they’re manifestly trying to deceive or spin us on some stuff, they’re apt to be deceiving us on other stuff, too, so, yes, there should be an independent inquiry about their tactics.

  4. Riley Hennessey says:

    It is a continued disappointment that you place so much blame on the police and government, and nary a mention of the thugs that actually CAUSED the damage.

    I fully support an independent inquiry, but only if it serves the purpose of identifying the culprits and exposing the seedy elements of the protesting groups, and elaborates on better practices for police crowd control so that innocent people are not endangered in the future.

    But I get the sense, from this blog and from Liberals like Mark Holland, that this is just a stunt to embarrass the government and gloss over the real people who caused damage. From what I have seen of Bob Rae in the last few days, he has a more nuanced position than a simple diatribe against the government. Good on him for it.

    Lastly, from a political communications standpoint, this sympathy for the protesters/police brutality garbage is not flying in the rest of the country. If Liberals want to remain in opposition forever, keep it up.

  5. Rob says:

    “Can it be believed that the democracy which has overthrown the feudal system and vanquished kings will retreat before tradesmen and capitalists?”
    — de Toqueville, Democracy in America

    I think we are a democracy in retreat.

  6. G Miranda says:

    Unfortunately, McGuinty and the Ontario government have as much to lose, and share in as much blame, as Harper and the federal government. There is no way the McGuinty government can avoid the fallout of an inquiry. And at the moment, Dalton’s silence is more incriminating (that is, it gives the average voter the impression of complicity and collusion with the Federal government) than helpful. If the McGuinty government hopes to survive he needs to speak to us, the Ontario voters and explain what happened and why. This is as much an Ontario issue as it is a Toronto issue as it is a Canadian issue.

    • Cath says:

      I like what you’ve posted here G.Miranda and agree with you. I also believe that since for the most part Michael Ignatieff and the federal Liberals have been virtually silent during the entire few days of the G8 and the G20, sending Mark “the pitbull” Holland to carry the ball just looks very bad for the federal Liberals. I’d sooner hear from each and every federal Liberal MP from Toronto proper than hear from the critic who seems to cry “investigation” or “review” way too many times for my liking or than is necessary. The LPOC needs to stop hiding Ignatieff if they have any confidence in him.

      I also don’t think it would hurt for Dalton to speak to Torontonians. I mean as you wrote yesterday Warren notices were given and published, but there’s still the nagging feeling that somewhere along the line someone is not telling the truth. I’m thinking that if Dalton tells folks the truth then less of a chance that others will define that truth before he has a chance to.

      I’m also a bit worried that unless all of the parties and leaders unite in telling us what the truth is that every event scheduled in Toronto may bring with it a hangover from the G20 and make life miserable for the provincial and municipal government.

  7. Tim says:

    I don’t think an inquiry at the federal level is going to accomplish much of anything. The event was poorly planned, badly executed and a financial disaster. I’m taking bets with anyone who thinks an inquiry would result in anything more than the usual third rate circus act we’ve come to expect from Ottawa.

    With so much focus on the actions or lack of action from the police, what I’d like to hear is more from the Premier of Ontario about his interpretation of events.

    The Ontario Government bears a tremendous amount of responsibility for policing under the Ontario Police Services Act. I’m not sure an official inquiry is the proper route to take but surely we need to hear more than we’ve heard so far from the provincial government about the actions of the police.

    Are they generally supportive of what happenned or are changes needed at future events like this one? Was there federal involvement in the decisions that were made? Why were so many people arrested and detained? Why weren’t the violent protesters confronted head on? Some of the stories I’ve read especially in the Toronto Star about specific incidents are more than a little unsettling and in a perfect world I’d like to see these extreme matters resolved in a hurry.

  8. MBDawg says:

    Sigh. Just yesterday Warren, you were defending the McGuinty government’s handling of the situation, and today you’re saying the Federal government is responsible for this “disaster”. A little consistency would add to your credibility.

    I don’t why the Federal government would be conducting an inquiry into how the OPP and Toronto Police handled themselves. The Feds gave them the resources they needed ($1B, you’re side’s been complaining about that for a month now), so why couldn’t the province and city execute with those resources. The only inquiries needed, outside the AG’s review of Federal spending, is why the Ontario and Toronto governments messed this up so badly.

    And another thing, where’s Iggy been on this issue? Summering in France again is he?

    • Catherine says:

      Poignant sigh.

      Harper chose the venue and who would provide security for his 72 hour sleep-over with his friends.

      The buck stops with him.

      • Riley Hennessey says:

        Catherine, the 72 hour sleep-over with friends aka G-20 was a concept crafted by Paul Martin, and a good one. I supported it then, and I support it now.

        Also, why is everyone pretending that we can’t have a world summit in Canada’s largest and most well known city? We had a Summit of the Americas in Quebec City, and we had an Olympics in Vancouver. Jean Chretien also hosted a G-7 in Halifax. Obama held a summit in Pittsburgh, the United Nations is located in New York. So why not a G-20 in Toronto? What’s wrong with that venue Catherine?

        And another thing, isn’t it a bit rich that people on this site “sigh” when they think they are so much smarter than the person they are replying to? As if you can’t have a debate without positioning yourself above someone else. It’s pretty lame. I disagree with Warren on this police issue, but I wouldn’t for a minute think I’m smarter or more knowledgeable than him, or anyone else on here.

      • Marc L says:

        ‘The buck stops with him.”

        That’s partisan nonsense if I’ve ever seen it. Why does it stop with him? An inquiry would only marginally, if at all, be focused on whether the venue is the right one. The issue is the tactics that the police used. That has nothing to do with Harper. How exactly did Harper “mess it up” to use Holland’s expression. He wasn’t responsible for execution. The Toronto police was. Dalton was also directly involved too through the extended powers that his government conferred on Police. No, the buck doesn’t stop with him.

        Do you really think an inquiry is needed, or is it just another ploy to gain cheap political points?

  9. mark says:

    An Inquiry is definitely needed not just to reveal the facts of what happened and why, but to make recommendations and set some guidelines for any future meetings of this sort in Canada. The billion dollar pay out for a pathetic display of crowd control on the one hand and outright abuse of power on the other, needs to never happen again. It’s becoming clearer that the security forces were not just incompetent but were a big part of the problem in this city last weekend.

  10. JH says:

    Please not another inquiry. It will serve no purpose, except to waste money. It’s all been said above and better by others. It’s just going to turn into partisan debate between the opposition and the Harper government, with those for and against the McGinty government thrown in for good measure. Citizens will lose in the end, just as they did with all the yelling about Trudeau and Chretien suspending civil rights in their day, and nothing came of it.
    As for Mr. Holland – is he the best the Liberals can do? He comes across as some wild-eyed fanatic most of the time. In fact my wife says the look in his eyes scare her. Someone like Mr. Rae always appears so measured and calm, you have to wonder why not use him in these situations.

  11. Catherine says:

    Why is Dimitri Soudas speaking for the Minister?

    Sole ‘ministerial accountability’ was the mantra of the Reformers just days ago.

  12. Tim S says:

    Facebook group started by guess who? Christopher White.
    25000 members and counting…

    http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=135629036463012

  13. Marc L says:

    I agree, have an inquiry. But let’s avoid a partisan political circus, which is all Holland really wants. Let’s investigate McGuinty and the provincial government’s handling of too. And, David Miller and his municipal government’s role.

  14. Michael Behiels says:

    Since the security measures (Toronto Police, provincial police, RCMP, the Armed Forces on stand-by) for the G-8 and G-20 meetings required cooperation of both the federal and provincial governments (Toronto Police Service was involved but not the City of Toronto) it is important that there be a joint Ontario-Ottawa formal inquiry.

    Clearly this will not happen. Both McGuinty and Harper will ensure it does not happen. They hope citizens take their holidays and all this trashing of civil liberties will just be forgotten by their return to work in the Fall.

  15. A. says:

    Warren. I will be truly impressed if you call on McGuinty to call an inquiry.

  16. Riley Hennessey says:

    Are you here to debate, “Namesake”, or are you here to post phony baloney accusations? The quote you refer to is “I’ve been a loyal reader since my grad school days”… woahhhhh look at me trying to sound all high and mighty! I also said Warren had more experience than I, and mentioned above that I wouldn’t for a minute think I was smarter than anyone else on this site. What a pompous person I am! Please, call me a con-bot because I disagree or have a different opinion! Genius.

    I’m done posting comments on this website. This comments section isn’t about debate or discussion, it’s about blowing partisan smoke and attacking other people who comment. It’s rather childish. Also, in my opinion, the discussion here is highly indicative of why the Liberals have not toppled Harper yet. Too much smoke, not enough fire.

    • Jan says:

      Try the Blogging Tories. They’re about your speed. But don’t stray from the orthodoxy, they’re not as civilized as this place is if you cross them. Good luck.

    • Namesake says:

      Overheard: Mr. R. Newhart, CRTC regulator, taking a complaint call from one Mr. Riley Hennessey:

      ” Wha…what’s that you say, Mr. Hennessey: you were ‘cyber-mugged,’ and you want to have the comments section of an unruly and unfair political website closed down for not following the rules of proper debate? I see.

      Ok, so what happened? …Someone insulted and mocked you and portrayed you as ignorant, uncaring, and/or hypocritical. I see; got it.

      And how did they do that? By…by… pointing to your past statements and their context, and quoting you. I see.

      Oh, say, isn’t that called “oppo” in those parts? You’re… you’re not sure. Ok.

      And where, where were you when this occurred?

      …Wait, wait, let me write this down… at the lounge of …the Liberal War Room… run by a… Mr. Warren Kinsella.

      Say, say, I think of I’ve heard of him… isn’t he the one they call “The Prince of Darkness?” Right, right. And he did that funny Barney thing? Oh, sorry, didn’t mean to interrupt…

      So, what were you doing there at the time?

      Just… criticizing Liberals for their bad judgment, accusing them of over-reacting, and telling them they’ll continue to be stuck in opposition for a long time. Uh-huh.

      Well, well, I’m really glad you called, Mr. Hennessey. I’m, I’m afraid we’re going to have to take away your license to travel the internet and confine you indefinitely, both for associating with unsavoury types — you understand; I think you mentioned that as one of the points you made yourself — and for your own protection, because you clearly represent a
      danger to yourself. One has to be mindful of one’s surroundings.”

  17. TPQ says:

    There is a juicy scandal in this whole episode and the Tories will fight any publicity or inquiry tooth and nail.

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:

      TPQ,

      You’ve just managed to move me from indifferent into the inquiry column. Thanks for ringing my bell.

  18. Steve T says:

    An inquiry on the spending – absolutely. An inquiry on the actions of the police – no way. I do not want one penny of my tax money spent on second-guessing the police on how they acted in the face of hooligans and trouble-makers.

    • PolyGon says:

      Why not? It’s Canada Day, after all. Let’s celebrate some of our achievements – the right to freedom of expression, assembly…..

      Vandals are vandals, but the great majority of demonstrators who express perfectly legitimate dissent against the meeting and its agenda did not deserve the beats many of them got. If you tell me ?it’s complicated policing a demonstration and innocents will inevitably get knocked down,? please…. lots of examples of how policing can be done right, as well as how it’s been done atrociously. Convinced, I am, that Toronto?s G20 falls in the latter camp.

      WK suggests it would help the police reputationally to have the inquiry. Of course it’s true. Without an inquiry, with public officials shrugging off public concerns about special powers, orders, and bad police behaviour, the whole of the force suffers. Pick out the protocol, pick out the zealous, juiced-up sergeants who encouraged thuggery, hang them out to dry, and then we can move on.

      More here, anyone: http://polygonic.wordpress.com/2010/06/29/spot-the-good-guys/

  19. Robert Jago says:

    I don’t know Mr. Kinsella – how about this as a reminder: http://archives.cbc.ca/war_conflict/civil_unrest/clips/2016/

    Two public inquiries later and cui bono? You were there “inside the Queensway”, weren’t you? So pray tell, what difference will another inquiry make? I mean of course, outside of pushing a few votes one way or another.

    • Warren says:

      Boy, you sure are all flowery language when you’re here – and quite different when you are elsewhere.

      Anyway. Assuming you aren’t being snarky, here’s my answer: the truth.

      Police, and citizens, deserve to have the many questions arising out of the G20 answered.

  20. Robert Jago says:

    No, not snarky – I deleted the snarky comment I was going to write. The bare bones point is that these inquiries are useless. Did the police act differently at the G20 than they did at the APEC summit, or the Summit of the Americas? You were there, you’ve seen the consequences – so what good did those inquiries do?

    If the people need answers, they should get those answers in court where those cops at the wrong end of justice can face some real consequences. I’ve had family pushed around by the police a lot. The last time was with the RCMP who got all racial and violent with my brother – and the biggest slap in the face was how it was dealt with – a healing circle (cause we’re Indians and all). We didn’t want a healing circle, we wanted jail time for that cop, or at the very least we wanted him fired. “Truth and Reconciliation” are great for the disinterested, but if it’s you that got pushed around, you want “Justice”.

    An inquiry sounds right on paper, but it does nothing to curtail government from stealing the people’s liberties, and does everything to shield cops who are clearly in the wrong. If the G20 – or any police riot – is to be dealt with, it should be dealt with in a court where individual police officers will face real consequences for their individual actions – that’s the only thing that will make a cop think twice before he starts cracking skulls.

    To call for an inquiry though? Yeah, that’s easy – but who benefits? The federal Liberals who called for it, surely – as well as the police for the reasons mentioned above. If the police actually did something wrong – as it appears from every video I’ve seen – then let those individual police officers be charged in a court of law.

    • Namesake says:

      Surely the two — or three, or four… — are not mutually exclusive. The lawsuits (incl. a class-action one being filed by the Civil Liberties people), the police review, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) responding to indiv. complaints… maybe more — can & should proceed with or w/o a Public Inquiry.

      But not all Inquiries have to be castrated at the start, like the Shreiber/Mulroney affair, re: whether they can look into criminal conspiracies or negligence etc.; and as the Dziekanski RCMP tasering inquiry will hopefully show, a decent inquiry can make them reopen the original lameass whitewashing police inquiry to actually prosecute the cops once the collusion, coverups & lying have been exposed. (The BC A-G named a special prosecutor, Richard Peck, to reopen the case on June 18, immediately after former judge Thomas Braidwood issued his final report.)

      And they’d be after different things. Most of the lawsuits & complaints would be targetting the actions of indiv. officers (or private security people) for their brutality, false arrests, inhumane treatment & conduct unbecoming etc.

      But some of the main objects of the Public Inquiry would be to find out why it was such a cock-up at the global level: who gave the orders — and why — to leave everything but the perimeter so vulnerable, which invited the vandalism? & to stand down when it began? & to pretend that the Riot Act was in effect for 48 hours even though it had never been read or broadcast & to extend the magical ‘I hereby annoint thee a public work’ force field far beyond the convention centre where the leaders were to encompass the entire downtown, if need be. Stuff that would never come out in a trial on some indiv. cop’s thuggery.

      And you’re wrong: it’s not the fed. Libs who are calling for this, at all: at least, not as a Party. It’s a stretch, probably a false attribution by that reporter, to say that Mark Holland was calling for a pubic inquiry into the police conduct: he’s more concerned with the decision to hold it in Toronto, & the costs. Ignatieff has been conspicuously silent on it, and according to this infuriating self-appointed party whip, http://forliberaljustice.blogspot.com it’s because his & the ‘official’ party position is to support the police & their “necessary evil, to combat evil” tactics.

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