06.28.2010 09:53 AM

G20: the morning(s) after

What the world saw as the face of Toronto this weekend.

Knowing the Harper Reformatories a little bit, as I do, I can tell you this: they don’t give a tinker’s damn if you are (a) a Toronto resident and (b) a Toronto resident who is angry and upset about what happened this past weekend in this city.

They don’t care because they don’t have any seats here, and aren’t likely to anytime soon. Moreover, they don’t care because they think the rest of Canada dislikes Toronto, and they believe that, when Toronto is unhappy about something, the rest of Canada is amused. Ipso facto, they don’t care about Toronto.

They may be right. But they are sadly mistaken if they think the communications disaster that was the G20 weekend won’t be a significant political problem for them in the coming weeks and months. Mainly, that is because Canada’s mainstream media establishment are all in Toronto. And – due to extraordinary events like this one, and this one (which – because I know the family who was terrorized – has left me livid about the truly fascistic quality of it) – the media establishment is seriously pissed off.

They’re also pissed off that an event like the G20 was held in the centre of a major city.  They’re pissed off about the obscene cost.  They’re pissed off that the police seemed much more interested in protecting a few politicians, and not at all interested in protecting taxpayers and taxpayers’ property.  They’re pissed off about the police doing little on Saturday, and then way too much on Sunday.  They’re pissed off that a few black-clad scumbags were able to shut down the centre of one of the world’s largest cities with total impunity. They’re pissed off that the scumbags seemed to get out of town, and won’t pay for the damage they did. They’re pissed off with the repeated violation of law-abiding citizen’s constitutional rights. They’re pissed off that what should have been an important discussion – about a world beset by recession, and terrorism and war – was completely overshadowed by “The Battle of Toronto.”

So, as Conservative staffers and ministers and MPs sit at their desks this morning, scanning for some news coverage that will convince them that it was worth all the trouble, I say: good luck to you.  With the coming onslaught of investigative reports, lawsuits, complaints and demands for inquiry, you’ll need luck aplenty, boys and girls.  Watch this little bit of footage, if you doubt my words: this what singing ‘O Canada’ got some people this weekend.

The Toronto Star’s publisher – someone not to be trifled with, and no bleeding-heart liberal, either – says it better than I ever could.  He speaks for many of us, in fact:

G20 EDITORIAL: BRUTAL SPECTACLE FAILED A CITY AND ITS PEOPLE

June 28, 2010

John Cruickshank

The G20 security strategy has been spectacularly successful at cocooning the world’s leading politicians and staggeringly ineffective at protecting the property and peace of mind of Torontonians. And the one, inevitably, led to the other.

By bringing in thousands of heavily armed strangers and throwing up barricades everywhere to regular traffic, frightening off good and decent citizens, Canadian authorities created a ghost town in the heart of our city.

Perfect for the political leaders. Protesters were kept blocks away from where the deliberations were going on.

And most protesters conducted themselves faultlessly as the global good and great met behind rings of gulag-like fencing and battalions of police beating Plexiglas shields with batons in a primitive show of might.

It was, however, less than perfect for the city, its businesses and its inhabitants. The only force that can prevent vandalism and mayhem in a city is the presence of its population. Surely that was the lesson every urban planner learned from looking south to the hollowed-out urban war zones of the United States in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

No police force, no matter how large, how well armed, how empowered to limit the civil rights of citizens, can stop vandalism in the empty shell of a city. Canadian authorities have proved that two days and nights running.

The strategy that ensured G20 leaders would never have to see a Canadian who wasn’t a politician, a police officer or a waiter lacked even a glimmer of common sense when it came to the security of Toronto and Torontonians.

They took our city to hold a meeting and bullied us out of the core, damaging the commerce of thousands of merchants and inconveniencing the entire population. Then, they failed to protect our property. Along Yonge St., as self-described anarchists were smashing stores unopposed, terrified merchants and their staffs sought shelter behind counters and in basements. If these establishments had been set alight, all of the thousands of fearsomely equipped police would have been able to do little more to save our citizens than they did to save their burning cruisers.

For the last few days, the city has looked like a vast reality TV set, where heavily garbed gladiators in black, burdened under bullet-proof vests, guns, walkie-talkies, shields and batons, try to chase down a wild, quick-footed band of anti-gladiators in black sweat suits and bandanas. And it cost us $1.2-billion to stage and choreograph this grossly unequal contest.

Canadian authorities knew that this overweening show of paramilitary hubris would draw the violent dregs of nihilism from around the world. Previous summits offered stark and certain warnings. Given that, the attempt to provide security for the city and its inhabitants has been a sad and disturbing failure.

What is the critical lesson?

Don’t even try to hold international political conferences with this kind of explosive ideological charge in the heart of a major urban centre. You sacrifice either the safety of the politicians or the safety of the city.

The idea that this was an effective way to show off Toronto to foreign guests is bewilderingly stupid.

Canadian authorities created a city no citizen could recognize and no visitor could admire. Then, they allowed a pack of brutes to trash it.

54 Comments

  1. JH says:

    I think Mr. Cruikshank et al would be better served to compare the TO experience with the history of other such gatherings. It might at least allow them to appear fair and balanced. I note that yesterday CTV was quick to shut down a couple of commentators who pointed out the off the scale violence at other such conferences, as compared to this one. Did the same to a couple of folks who tried to point out to them that the media by their actions, in many cases, encouraged the thugs. TOs media may think they are the center of the universe – many of us don’t. They have a lot to anwer for as I have said before. As for the thugs and criminals and those complaining of their treatment – I dare them to go to South Korea next year. Amnesty International will be busy indeed! The Koreans won’t take this kind of crap and know how to handle it.

    • Jan says:

      Smart organizers learn from the mistakes of others. Ours apparently didn’t.

      • mark says:

        This was a massive failure on the part of the police and those in charge of G20 security. I agree with you that the overall unruly behavior was not as great as it has been elsewhere, but conversely we can say that other riotous events that result in vandalism – sports afterparties, frat parties, etc – have been dealt with by a regular city police force just as effectively as this billion dollar security boondoggle. Unfortunately, it was all predictable and the final result is exactly as expected. The G20 leaders, the police, and the vandals wouldn’t want it any other way. The only ones who lose out are those with legitimate concerns about where the decisions of these “bigwigs in a bubble” are steering the world, the businesses that suffered damage and loss of customers, and the image of the City of Toronto.

  2. WesternGrit says:

    Agree with you 100% Warren: westerngrit.blogspot.com

    The Reform-a-Tory’s/”Conservatives” hold a seething hatred towards Toronto. But, it doesn’t end there: they hate Montreal (and the entire Province of Quebec), and even Vancouver. Oh sure, they like “Western” BC… just don’t put them in what most blue-blooded Conservative Albertans would describe as “Hong-couver” (among other racist and derrogatory names). It’s why the conservative vote strength tends to lie in a belt around the outside perimeter of this city (Metro Van)…

    Living on the Prairies all my life – AB and Sask – I have often heard the Reform-a-Tory descriptions of “city-slickers”, or the residents of Vancouver, Victoria, and places like Toronto. I scarcely could ride the C-Train in Calgary without hearing curses or jokes about Toronto. Toronto-hate was the core of many office conversations. The hate you talk about is REAL and quite reactionarily spectacular. I was shocked at how the hatred of any particular cities could be such an obsession by any group of people. Then you move to Calgary – and realize it is a part of daily life. Eat breakfast, curse Toronto, go to work, joke about the people of Vancouver, take lunch, curse Toronto some more and pray that Quebec will separate, have dinner, and remind your kids that all people in Toronto are evil. It’s a sick obsession in Alberta. To the point of a mental issue with some people. It’s absolutely disgusting, and one of the reasons I couldn’t stomach living in that province (and the city of Calgary in particular)…

    The Cons try to take advantage of all the people who “don’t like “those” people” in various parts of our Metros. It’s not just in these 3 metros either. Their entire agenda is aimed at a clear urban-rural split. They hope to create an urban/suburban split (why we need to focus on a strong urban agenda that includes the suburbs in a strong way – with mass transit, etc., and f the tarsands). Once can look at a microcosm of their party in some of the Provincial Conservative Parties (Sask, Manitoba, etc.) to see the reality of this split.

    • I live in Vancouver, but commuted to Calgary for a decade each week. My wife’s family is rooted in Calgary. My career and my wife’s family were/are both intertwined with the oil patch.

      While I’ve seen and experienced some of what WesternGrit has to say, it wouldn’t be fair to stereotype Albertan’s or Calgarians any more than it is fair for some of them to stereotype us. Not everyone engages in elevator hate-talk, but maybe the sane voices are more silent then they ought to be.

      It has long been my opinion that the popular press in Alberta – the Calgary Herald, Rutherford and talk radio – need to wear a lot of the blame. I feel like I’m being propagandized to when I’m in Calgary and reading / listening / watching local news and opinion media. Under a continual barrage of such stuff, it isn’t surprising that some within the population have lost sight of objectivity or common sense or even common decency when considering other regions of Canada.

      I’m not sure that I agree the Conservatives are actively taking advantage of the anywhere but Alberta haters. They don’t need to, where is that part of the base going to go? Indeed the Reformatories have done a 180 on their attitudes towards immigrant communities which is why you see Jason Kenny engaged in a multi-year strategy of embracement designed to make immigrant communities forget anything positive Liberals did towards immigration, and adopt the Conservatives instead as their new BFF. It seems to be working.

      Don’t get me wrong – there is clearly a hypocritical balancing act done by the CPC. They string along enough red-meat white-is-right good ol’ boys supporting the party to pander to that chunk of their base, but need to keep them suppressed as much as possible to pander to new Canadians.

      Many new Canadians hail from authoritarian regimes. I wonder what they are thinking about when they view the G20 protests on screen? Are they primarily concerned with real and perceived lawlessness? Or are they more concerned about the state going after innocents who merely wanted to express their opinions in our supposedly free and democratic society?

      • Note the glaring differences between WesternGrit and Mr. Watkins….one is a crazed rant with nothing to back it up,while the other is an informed critique of Alberta and the Alberta people.
        One shows virile hatred of Alberta and it’s people while the other (while critical)is somewhat balanced.
        I question the statement that the Herald is “popular press”.rutherford is,however,usually on line with what the majority of Albertans think.
        I lived and worked in Calgary for many years.I rode transit busses,c-train,taxis,my car and walked it’s streets.I challenge westerngrit to prove his accusations.My kids work in Calgary.to suggest that they are the sort of haters and bigots that this persons paints them with makes me very angry.
        Recognizing the source,makes me laugh it off.I suspect that most readers will dismiss him/her as a total lunitic with some serious personal problems.
        The west and the east are certainly not friends,but, we do not hate each other.We are different people with different self interests.That will never change.A successfull federal government has to perform a delicate balancing act.
        The old influence and money is in the east.The emerging influence and economic power is in the west.
        It is the new fact(s) of life.we all need to get used to it.

        • WesternGrit says:

          You obviously didn’t read my comment clearly (or were clouded by your “Alberta-Patriotic fervour”). I was clearly referring to most Alberta “Reform-a-Tories” – clearly meaning Reform Party stalwarts. Ask any of them what their opinions are on the topics I raise. I have family/relations in Alberta. They’re not anything like I describe. I have many friends there. They’re (for the most part) quite “normal” too. Yet, I have a few Reformer buddies who are quite hateful towards certain Canadian metros. I’ll have to agree with Michael when he says the underlying storyline is there. I would also agree with Warren on the basic pretext of his post (which reflects my view).

          Certainly defend the good people of Alberta – the open-minded ones… but keep in mind that there are a LOT of ultra-conservative, right-wingers there who would rather build a firewall, and separate from the rest of us…

      • Terry Wilcox says:

        As a native Albertan and almost native Calgarian, I’d say you’re both correct, depending on which group of Calgarians or Albertans you happen to be mingling with.

        My north-central Alberta farming family doesn’t hate Toronto or Ontario any more than it hates Calgarians and oil companies. Toronto simply isn’t on their radar. They talk about Calgary a lot though.

        On the other hand, my Ontario-born and raised in-laws, who are now long-time Calgarians, tend to hate Toronto. They do talk about it quite a bit. I find that true of many Calgarians from Ontario. Toronto is always a topic for them.

        I find it odd when my thirty-something co-workers complain about the NEP though. They talk as if they somehow lost their job because of it. I don’t recall a lot of grade-schoolers getting laid off at the time. That seems to be a young native-Calgarian trait.

        • The NEP is regarded like syphilis and whether one has had it or not, understands it or not, the response is revulsion. The lore of the NEP is I believe kept alive by the old guard who do remember those days and I doubt Calgary will ever be free of this institutional memory.

          Big oil is not without its own internal propaganda. One of the big companies I worked for had a CEO with an active mind and on a regular basis thousands of employees and contractors would be treated to his latest thoughts on regulation, climate change, and Ottawa.

          I’m an Ontario born transplant myself but have lived in the far west since 1972. I don’t hate Toronto. I often hate Ottawa.

          Ooh, on CBC P&P Tom Flanagan just labelled all those arrested as pathetic specimens. Way to go Tom.

          Maybe Tom’s vision of Canada would meet up with this image of Stephen Harper 😉

          http://torontoist.com/2010/06/stephen_harper_g20_riot_gear_stencil.php

        • MississaugaPeter says:

          As a former Albertan, raised in Calgary, university in Edmonton, and someone who has frequent contact with many different folks across this fine country, I agree with WK’s assessment: “Moreover, they don?t care because they think the rest of Canada dislikes Toronto, and they believe that, when Toronto is unhappy about something, the rest of Canada is amused.”

          The reality is it’s a love-hate relationship. We are all Canadians. That bonds us deeply. However, since we are all flawed a bit, jealousy and arrogance kicks in. The jealousy and arrogance goes both ways. It is not healthy, but it is human. And we are all Canadians.

          That being said, the Liberals would be idiots not to keep on top of this issue. In particular, in the 905 and southwestern Ontario. This will be the battleground between majority and minority, and right now, the Liberals are behind.

          • Andrew says:

            MississaugaPeter is bang on with his second paragraph. Been living in Alberta for 25 years (22 in Calgary). The only anti-Toronto (or anti-Quebec, anti-Ontario, anti-Roughriders etc) comments I hear are from chronic complainers who hate everything if it doesn’t go their way or agree with their opinions. They are the same folks who want snow removal but not higher taxes to pay for it. These types are all over Canada so Calgary doesn’t have a monopoly on jerks. Normal people just go on with their lives, work for oil companies that aren’t in the busines of evil, take their kids to soccer and are proud to be a Calgarian and Canadian. BTW I do dislike the lack of (extended) summer in this city so I must hate Calgary.

  3. Tceh says:

    Did a version of this tactic happen during the weekend? http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2007/08/23/police-montebello.html

    The accusation by a Quebec media/research outlet is this occurred this weekend also. I’m not sure how credible the story is but it would help justify the security cost by a less than honest Federal government. http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=19928

    • jenjen says:

      This is not a surprising suggestion. It’s a part of governmental communications strategy. They want to stir things up to delegitimize or camouflage the messages of the protests.

      Moreover there is nothing that stirs the base of the conservative machine than the sight of so called ‘left wing fringe/socialist groups’ protesting violently. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Tories enjoy a temporary rise in fund raising in this quarter.

  4. Jane says:

    Well said Warren. I am still feeling physically angry and very annoyed. If I wasn’t a protester before I sure feel like one now. And I am a 56 year old mom type….

  5. Pedro says:

    seems to me it was the leaders and people of Toronto and Ontario that did the least expected of them which resulted in the disaster in downtown Toronto that we in the ROC were subjected to for more than 48 hours on CBC and CTV.
    The media gave the disruptive anarchists (really hooligans) way too much face time thus encouraging them. More thoughtful dissenters should have cleaned their ranks of the rabble-rousers (quite a polite term no?) and made their not-entirely wrong point more eloquently. Now most Canadians think the anti-globalists are even more loony.
    Most Canadians understand that the feds gave Toronto and Ontario the resources to make it work but since, as you say, Toronto doesn’t sit at Harper’s Cabinet, why should they have lifted a finger (in help that is – not in the typical salute Toronto gives anyone who won’t listen to their whining) to help make the event a success.
    The protestors blew it – they blew their wad on an unwise decision to let the rioters set the agenda. Now they just sit in the damp sheets depressed.

    • Namesake says:

      “Most Canadians understand”…[that it’s Toronto’s leadership fault for dragging their feet, & the peaceful protestors’ fault for letting the BlackMold have the run of things]?

      I smell a Con PR flak. ‘Zat you, Dimitri? Or Kory.

      That’s crap. You wanna make that explicit: the mayor of TO &/or the Police Chief, MPs & MPPs & the Premier all deliberately colluded to squander the budget & starve the security forces of proper planning or deployment to ensure that the city would experience that destruction & get portrayed in that light, all to embarrass the Harper gov’t out of resentment that they have no Cabinet representation? Bite me… and sue you.

      And, did the TO. police resources really get enough resources to be able to both guard the perimeter & patrol the streets? I don’t think so: it seems like they were spread pretty thin, &/or overruled by the feds about where & how they could deploy.

      Sure, a billion was spent, but the vast majority of that wasn’t for the Toronto constabulary: it was spent on bringing in RCMP (& private security firms) from other jurisdictions, paying them OT, & paying their hotels & per diems (possibly in an attempt to curry the rank & file’s favour in what was supposed to be an easy gig, paid holiday so they might undermine the chiefs & speak out against the gun registry).

      & it’s BS that the other demonstrators wanted or let the anarchists carry the day: that’s just ignoring what the on the ground reporters were saying about how they hid in the alleyways (or even the sewers!) before blending in with the crowd, & I saw one clip explicitly showing a peaceful demonstrator telling the hooded ones to get away from them.

    • P from Vancouver says:

      Pedro, good god. Are you kidding me?

      We had VIOLENT protests in Canada’s largest city and you’re complaining that the ROC had to ensure 48 hours of news coverage of the event? And you turn it around and blame Ontario and the people of Toronto for not dong enough, and for not being in Harper’s cabinet…..Are you kidding me????

      Last I checked the Canadian government was elected by all Canadians to represent all Canadians, especially a metro region which contains 1/6 of Canada’s population . Whether or not there were any MPs elected from a certain downtown area is IRRELEVANT. This event should never have been held at the downtown Toronto convention centre, causing hundreds of thousands of people and business inconvenience, property damage, and fear; if should have been held at the CNE or Downsview airport, or somewhere else outside the financial district at least.

      Your attitude is just confirming the point that the author and other commentators are trying to make: screw/blame Toronto, screw/blame Ontarians, hahaha & thank you from the rest of Canada. This has got to stop.

      -P from Vancouver

      • Pedro says:

        Warren raised the fact that the governing federal party doesn’t care about Toronto, not I. My post wasn’t very clear but my meaning was that Toronto leadership doesn’t care to see anything hatched in Ottawa succeed, not that the ROC doesn’t care about TO…oh, never mind.
        Good God! P from Vancouver!!! chillax. As another poster has calmly reported, noone was seriously injured, noone killed and some well-heeled Torontonians have been severely INCONVENIENCED. Horrors!
        Whoever was in charge screwed up. The RCMP, the OPP, the Toronto police, the people who were ostensibly in charge of getting an opposing point of view out to Canadians and the world in a rational way.
        The Harper government was micro-managing the response of security forces and therefore failed and is responsible -AS IF!
        The Harper government was responsible for getting the anti-globalist protestor message – heh-heh, yeah.
        Coupla’ failures I see here.
        Hey, I’m not a so-called reformatory pr flak nor a raging anti-Torontonian, but puhleeze, get a grip. Canada has real problems that need real solutions (remember). Holding your breath till you turn red won’t cut it – which is what Warren and most commenters here are doing.

        • Philip says:

          Pedro, you are a breathtaking example of a Con pr flack and lickspittle. Bravo sir! Oh, FYI. It is “none” not “noone”.

    • mark says:

      Pedro, it’s true that the protesters should have been in the position to stop the vandalism but this is really a shortcoming of the whole “us vs. them” security mentality. I have been to many protests, marches, etc and many had more angry crowds than this one. Instead of phalanxes of black clad riot police standing three deep, it’s common for police to station three or four officers at every intersection and have a few officers on bikes moving with the crowd and reserves a block or two away. This creates a presence without setting the stage for confrontation. In addition a closer relationship between police and designated protest marshals (always present and usually supplied by the big unions or student orgs) could have led to better coordination, i.e. better chance of stopping or preventing vandalism.

      The shortcoming of the security force was a failure of imagination. Using military-type control tactics in an otherwise empty city could only lead to confrontation and give free reign to the hooligans. We’ve seen this same scenario many times at past G8/WTO events and there was no reason to believe it would go down differently in Toronto. I’m left with two interpretations of the weekends disaster, 1. The powers that be wanted the distraction of vandalism to drown out their discussions or the complaints of the dissenting crowds. 2. The security force was grossly incompetent (Not individual officers but the planners and directors of this operation).

  6. MBDawg says:

    I find it interesting how, so far, McGuinty isn’t wearing any of this “controversy”. I suspect that it will go away by the end of the week because the Toronto based media will A) rally to protect McGuinty who’s as responsible for this as Harper is; B) They will find some new faux-scandal to chase. And C) Nobody outside of Toronto gives a damn, as you said.

    • G8/G20 security was the responsibility of the federal, not provincial or municipal, government. The Integrated Secuirty Unit (ISU) is led by the RCMP. Local forces in effect were subcontractors to the feds, although no doubt they were permitted discretionary situational judgement.

      Yet it’s an international summit hosted by the federal government. The bottom line is this entire affair is Harper’s to wear.

      From the link:

      Every effort is being made to ensure these security measures have the least possible impact on the day-to-day lives of Torontonians while balancing the need to keep some of the world’s most powerful people safe and secure.

      These summits will be put Canada on the world stage for three days in June and we will endeavour to ensure that security will not be the overarching theme.

      Clearly they failed on both counts.

      • Here’s a more detailed breakdown of security responsibilities:

        http://www.g8isu.ca/g20/secur-eng.htm

        Toronto Police Service and Mayor Miller are no doubt going to be in the spotlight for some time but it is really the Harper government who should be wearing the lions share of the blame. They picked the venue. They determined how the site would be protected. They facilitated the development of an urban ghost town. And it was they who decided that protecting the world’s most powerful people was more important than protecting Toronto and Canadians.

  7. John W. says:

    It’s hard to believe the authorities didn’t know these people were coming. And if police did know, why were the Black Bloc allowed to get into formation and march like an army?
    And Warren what do you think of the suggestion above that these uniformed vandals were police???

  8. bc says:

    Imagine that, the Toronto Red Star sympathizing with anti-government rioters who were the REASON for the inordinate security measures.

  9. James says:

    Brilliant. Thank you a lot for this.

  10. JStanton says:

    At the risk of appearing to dismiss out of hand the concerns of some people that democracy took a big hit over the weekend, it appears to me that things went remarkably well, considering the stakes.

    Importantly, there were no casualties, by which I mean that there were no assassinations or bombings, and no bloodshed by other means. And there were no baton charges, and people were not disappeared. I’m impressed with this result, and I think the provincial authorities should be applauded because of it, especially since they were essentially forced into a role by Mr. Harper that no sane, thinking person would ever contemplate volunteering for.

    The residual fallout I appear to be sensing is a consequence of middle class outrage due mainly to bruised feelings and having to suffer inconvenience. We are truly blessed to live in a place where such relative trivialities can be held up as worthy of concern.

    In fairness though, this IS how we should measure the quality of our democracy. We SHOULD have as our objective a society in which citizens suffer not even a bruising at the hands of the State apparatus. But we are not there yet, and, given the chaos of the world outside our borders, and the need to stand tough to keep it’s negative influences out, we may never get there.

    In the interim, lets step back and respond with proportionality. Mr. Harper will face the consequences of his decision during the next election…. but most probably not. Where the authorities stepped outside the law, those responsible should be prosecuted. Where front-line troops were more heavy-handed than was necessary, but acted lawfully, its clear that more nuanced tactics need to be deployed in future. Remember, we do not have a history of civil unrest, so authorities are not really trained to handle it; all they know is good guys/bad guys and its clear that the methods prescribed for only those scenarios are not appropriate to the total needs of modern civil society.

    And, as for the MSM; get a grip guys, and keep repeating the mantra “I am NOT the story”.

  11. J. Coates says:

    It would seem to me that the police are simply routinely doing their job. People in the crowd wanted to manufacture trouble and they did.

    • Philip says:

      I absolutely agree with you Jim. The police did their job pretty well under the circumstances. My biggest problem is the circumstances the police were put in. They could either protect the G20 perimeter or the ordinary citizens and taxpayers in the downtown core. Not both. The police were placed in a pretty unenviable position, sort of damned if they do and damned if they don’t. In a way the Toronto Police Services and the OPP were hung out to dry along with those citizens and taxpayers in the downtown core that Harper hates so much.

  12. Michael Behiels says:

    The publisher of the Toronto Star is absolutely correct in calling for a formal and unfettered inquiry, one that is lead by an impartial commissioner, not some political appointee.

  13. Riley Hennessey says:

    I can’t remember who was Prime Minister when Canada hosted the Summit of the Americas in Quebec City in 2001, where 465 people were detained and violent protests broke out. Can you help me out Warren? Because surely, only brash Reform-a-tory Prime Ministers would dare to host a major summit in a big city which would result in riots and arrests? Surely, it must have been a mean, demonic Conservative government in power in 2001?

    • Warren says:

      I think I’m known for not being reluctant to criticize my own political party, Riley. How are you, in that regard?

      • Riley Hennessey says:

        I will happily say my first vote ever cast in a federal election was for Dominic Leblanc in 2000. Later I voted for Paul Zed in 2004 and 2006. I voted Conservative in 2008. I currently belong to no political party and I’ll happily criticize or support any federal leader. There are lots of things I disagree with Harper on, starting with the gun registry and an assortment of other issues. I’m not shy with my opinions.

        But my point is that you are using some pretty hyperbolic language when you place blame for this mess at the feet of Harper, and not at the feet of thugs. If you’re so sure that Harper doesn’t give a “tinkers damn” about Toronto, did Chretien give a tinkers damn about Quebec City?

        I’m not here to pick a fight, you’ve got far more experience than I. I’m just saying as a loyal reader since my grad school days, this kind of rubbish blame-game really doesn’t appeal to me. However, I could be alone on that.

    • Namesake says:

      Uh huh. But Chretien learned from the debacle, and held the next major summit in a remote area, where, as this reporter explains from first-hand experience,

      http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/Its-a-riot-97260799.html

      it was too hard for the idiot trouble-makers to hike in to, so it didn’t trigger any over-reaction from embattled cops.

      In contrast, Herr Harper decides to ignore all the intelligence & past learnings and puts our collective hand on the stove again, gives the country a black eye, & costs the country & the city at least an extra billion. Atta boy, Mr. Brilliant Tactician.

      • Namesake says:

        And you know what would _really_ bug me about what’s happened if I lived in Toronto?

        It’s how unnecessary it was that it be held there, or rather, how it was premised on several major deceptions.

        Oh, I know the line is that it had to be held in a major centre to house all the thousands of sherpas & media. But considering how the media were kept separate from the actual proceedings, they might just as well have stayed home & be fed the live feeds there. And the sherpas could have had an anonymous convention in any city, like so many dentists, if they really had to meet face to face (tho I don’t see why video conferencing wouldn’t suffice for them).

        No, it appears the real reason Harper selected Toronto in particular is that he wanted its shiny financial district to be the symbol & backdrop to his claiming credit for preventing Canada’s banks & economy from melting down, unlike the other major economies, & to be seen schooling the world’s leaders on how to do it, too.

        And that’s where the big lies are: first, that no gov’t bailout of the banks was needed here (so what do we call the $75-B in sketchy mortgages he had the CMHC take off their hands so they could stay profitable); second, that it was our banking reg’s which saved us (that’s open to dispute: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124165325829393691.html ) & that he was somehow instrumental in enacting them (rather than opposing them at the time & trying to reverse them later); and third, that it was his gov’t that was responsible for Canada’s sound fiscal footing (as opposed to the Libs who slaid the deficit & built the surpluses).

        So what do we call taking credit for someone else’s work?

        “Plagiarism,” when it’s just stealing another pol’s written work: http://www.canada.com/windsorstar/news/story.html?id=dafea59b-825c-436f-b11e-43b04c20a72a

        But we might call it “Rance Stoddarding,” when it’s building a whole political career on others’ deeds:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Man_Who_Shot_Liberty_Valance

    • Michael Bussiere says:

      Quebec City: population 560,000
      GTA: population 5.9 million.

      Cons compare population stats like they add deficits.

    • William Murray says:

      Mr. Hennessey, nice red herring. You are right on the superficials. The Summit was in QC (not a metropolis) and there were some arrests. I don’t recall the SWAT team taking down a 30 something vet with a 6 month old. What matters most is you know there is no comparison in cost, scope or abuse of authority in this case.

  14. allegra fortissima says:

    “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.”

    Geez, I never thought of Canadian authorities being Groucho Marxists!

  15. Michael Bussiere says:

    4 a.m. with a gun pointed at their heads, I’ll bet they were wondering who said: “You won’t recognize Canada when I’m through with it”.
    Ya know, “when I’m through with it” is a turn of phrase usually used to describe brutalizing something, now that I think about it.

    • Riley Hennessey says:

      I actually hope they were wondering “gee, maybe I shouldn’t have associated myself with thugs and vandals?” rather than worrying about the last democratic election we held.

  16. Brian Busby says:

    Has anyone expressed more disdain toward the city in which he was born and raised as Stephen Harper?

  17. po'd in to says:

    Warren:
    you say “They?re pissed off with the repeated violation of law-abiding citizen?s constitutional rights.”; I wonder how you feel about McGuinty allowing the cops to arrest anybody within 5 feet of the fence if they didn’t show id – my constitutional rights were violated by my provincial government before the leaders even stepped foot in Toronto? Sure I am po’d at Harper and his cronies but I am even more po’d at McGuinty (this is not the liberal party i voted for). As someone who has voted liberal since he was old enough to vote, I am having serious questions (and, admittedly, confusion) over what and waht did not happen this past weekend in my home city.

    What happened this weekend is disgusting but even at its worst justify taking away essential liberties from an entire city.

  18. Rotterdam says:

    Oh how the left wing media would relish covering a “tea party” demo if it burned police cars and smashed windows.
    They would have a field day praising a police crackdown. Do you think the likes of Rachel Maddow, Don Newman, Kieth Olberman, John Cruickshank, would have any sympathy for lets say a Brietbart “journalist” (biggovernment.com).?

    The Canadian left, and their violent allies, has given Harper political cover for the huge security cost. They have no one to blame but themselves.

    • Jan says:

      Ah yes, there’s the new Con narrative – ‘the left’ (which is anyone who disagrees with Harper) is allied with violent anarchists. It’s simple enough his bots can repeat this ad nauseum.

  19. A. says:

    It’s not just a problem for Harper but for McGuinty. How can the provincial government justify it’s underhanded misapplication of a 1939 law that is almost certainly in violation of the Charter to essentially suspend civil liberties in the City of Toronto?

  20. tf says:

    You know what I don’t understand…?

    All of us – including the politicians and the security planners – have been raised on the Star Wars movies. Can they not see the parallels to images of black clad and helmeted guards to the evil Empire and Darth Vader? If you present yourselves that way, you will undoubtedly get rebels fighting back…

    Can they not see themselves? Can they not ask the question – what can we do differently to get a different reaction???? So many questions …

  21. Jim says:

    Easy…no more black masks at protests in Canada. Lets write a law!

    People should be able to see your face and identify what you stand for. If you hide your face and smash shit, you are only one step from the KKK.

    I have only ever “protested” once, in Vancouver, against Dion’s coalition gambit…and I made the news, not for wearing a black mask.

    Nothing got smashed or vandalized. Folks showed up from both sides and most were very civil.

    I didn’t see one covered face.

    • Namesake says:

      You might be onto something there, Jim, about outlawing masks at demonstrations.

      And maybe there should also be some clarification / elaboration of citizens’ arrest laws, w. free zip tie handcuffs made available to the peaceful demonstrators, so they can rise up & neutralize the vandals who emerge from their midst (a la http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Airlines_Flight_93 ),

      …instead of being hijacked by & passively going down with them.

  22. James Smith says:

    Mr K.:
    Sorry, this started as just a quick note & is now anything but. Hey, it’s your party, feel free not to publish or to edit.

    Many folks (including me) have waxed on – here & in other forums about how evil or, how victimized the protesters were, some have even suggested they somehow they had it coming to them. Conversely much has been said about how the police tactics & responses seemed at times measured then, inept then arbitrary and almost abusive. But I see in some of the blogs how some folks just seem to really hate Hogtown. Not in a good natured way either the way – like the way I hate the Leafs, but in a real sense there seems to be something ugly that has been poured out into the water of our country. Why is that?

    What is it that makes Canadians so grouchy & rude to one another not six months after the high of the Vancouver games? Being a sophomoric partisan I would like to lay all the blame at the feet of the present PM (a person I have never met but cannot abide). While I think he indeed is ultimately responsible for most of the mess of this past weekend, I think this person is only a symptom of what is wrong with our country. Are we not better than this?

    As I walked to work today I took more photos of the the aftermath of GD-20. The fence, crews cleaning up some of the weekends mess, a few teams of police officers having a break, shops; boarded up & workers dismantling the hording from others. When I got to what looked like the spot on Queen Street where the police cruiser was allowed to burn to the ground I paused & did not take any more photos because I was overwhelmed with sadness and shame. I was ashamed of what happened in Toronto. I was ashamed of the images of the city that the world got to see, I was ashamed that this is the image of Canada that my friends in other parts of the world now have of Canada in general & Toronto in particular. The present PM & others can talk about their accomplishments but let’s face it, does anyone remember what was decided at the GD-20 in Pittsburgh, or where the last GD-8 was held & what that accomplished?

    I wish I had some answers, frankly I wish it was as simple as rid us of this person who is presently the PM, but like I said there is something wrong with us and we need to look ourselves in the mirror & be more, well, loving of our country. Not to get all Kumbaya but we need to start appreciating this entire great country more, & take it for granted less. I could have lived my entire life in America, but as a kid Expo 67 & Centennial showed me that this country is as great or greater than any other, but this negativity I see, hear & read almost daily has me questioning if I should stay. There are (or at least up until the weekend) millions of folks who want to share what we take for granted (or took for granted until the weekend) we need to quit griping that this one got more than me and be happy in each others’ success. Like it or not, as Canadians we are touched in a positive way by Toronto regardless of where we live, a healthy & vibrant Toronto is important to us all. (Okay not as important as the HABS winning the cup, but pretty important!)

    I needed to get past the funk that the morning had handed me so on the way to the train tonight I took a different route & I found myself at University Ave & Queen Street. I rarely cross to the east side, but today I did, & I looked up & down University Ave & noticed all the monuments in the centre of the Avenue. These Monuments are something I almost always rush by when I drive on University but today I lingered to glimpse some of them – testaments to the sacrifice & achievements of Canadians, why is this not the image of Toronto that was shown to the world ? I know at the north end of University Ave are seven flags of the G-7 nations who met in Toronto, I think in the late 80’s, or early ’90’s a testament to a different time. So I thought what a fitting addition, at the opposite end of this Avenue would be a permanent monument to the GD-20 who met here. What would be fitting would be for some of the menacing fence from the conference site relocated here in an interesting construction that would serve as a reminder. A monument to how we need to be ever vigilant to safeguard our freedoms, and the freedoms of our cities and fellow citizens.

    Perhaps a monument is what we need, one to encourage citizens to dust off the monuments in their neighborhood, to reconnect with the ideals that created this just country. To focus folks on the fact that freedom comes with the price of being ever vigilant & never accept that violence or arbitrary action is ever justified. In examining the actions of the past weekend we need to also reconnect with what it is to be a Citizen of Canada AND our fellow Citizens. Like the fella sang “What’s so funny about Peace Love & Understanding?”

  23. Anne Peterson says:

    My family came to Alberta in 1882 so I am a real Albertan not a johnny-come-lately to the oil patch and all the politics that demands Albertan, and I like Toronto. I did a poll of everyone I met the other day and they all said they liked Toronto or that they hadn’t been there but from everything they hear it is a good city. So all these blanket statements that say,”Canadians like this or that,” or “Candians hate this or that,” is just so much ridiculous hooey.

    Calgarians hate Toronto and Vancouver and Montreal and even Edmonton so really they hate everyone who is not them. It shows how insular and small minded they are. Or perhaps how easily lead they are.

    I was reading a big artiicle about Norway and how prosperous it is in every way and thinking about the reaction of Calgarians to the NEP and Petrocan and how I thought at the time that when Alberta ends up as rich as Oklahoma when the oil runs out they will wish they had supported it. But oh, I forgot about the oil sands and since I live now on the river sytem their crud drains into I am very aware they haven’t finished with oil quite yet. But they will and then they will know the mistakes they made.

  24. God i love Yahoo. I personally have been watching too much television 😛 i bought Satalite Direct TV from http://tele.wokf.org which allows you to watch all your TV programs on your PC (Legally ofcourse)

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