Opinion

Police Chiefs and Premiers

Bogus weapons caches, secret orders-in-council, imaginary special police powers, widespread abuses of peaceful protesters: Premier McGuinty and Chief Blair have some serious explaining to do.

By Lorne Warwick
Published June 30, 2010

I have to confess that my nose is presently feeling quite abraded and raw. This is not surprising, given its strenuous workout in this week's smell tests. It begins with the spectacle of Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair displaying a cache of 'weapons' seized from protesters that turned out to be less than claimed.

First, an astute CBC reporter asked about the cross bow that was given prominence. Hadn't that, in fact, been seized from a car before the summit began and determined to have nothing to do with the G20? Well yes, the good chief sheepishly admitted that it shouldn't have been there, as reported in the Globe and Mail.

A car search last Friday netted a cross bow and chain saw but they were not determined to be G20 related, and no charges were laid. When this was pointed out, Chief Blair acknowledged the items should not have been displayed but said "everything else" was seized from summit protesters.

However, police also included objects taken from a Whitby, Ont., man who was heading to a role playing fantasy game in Centennial Park Saturday morning. As was reported by the Globe on Saturday, Brian Barrett, 25, was stopped at Union Station for wearing chain mail and carrying a bag with an archery bow, shield and graphite swords.

His jousting gear was seized by police, but was on display Tuesday, even though he was not charged and police told a Globe reporter it was "a case of bad timing."

The critical thinker, of course, would have even more reason after this display to question the veracity of what he or she was being told. But then things got worse.

Blair announced that there was no five-metre rule in place allowing police to search bags and demand identification from interlopers who had violated the police's 'comfort zone.' His justification for this alleged lie: "I was trying to keep the criminals out."

I say alleged lie, because this came only after an announcement from the Ministry of Community Safety made an announcement that "the change was about property, not police powers, and did not include any mention of a zone five metres outside the G20 security perimeter."

However - and my nose was really starting to hurt by this point - we remember Dalton McGuinty's statement of support for the police on Friday after word got out about the secret order-in-council suspending some of our Charter Rights:

"I just think it's in keeping with the values and standards of Ontarians," McGuinty told the Toronto Star on Friday amid a battery of complaints from opposition parties, city councillors, civil libertarians and regular Torontonians that the new rules were kept secret and, some say, may go too far.

The rules allow police to arrest and potentially jail anyone refusing to produce identification or be searched within five metres of the G20 security zone.

"Most Ontarians understand that there's something extraordinary happening inside our province," the Premier said. "We've tried to limit the intrusiveness to a specific secure zone as much as we can by working together with our police."

Despite the fact that it was front page news on several of Ontario's dailies, Premier McGuinty did nothing to disabuse the public about this seemingly inaccurate information, which leads me to conclude a number of limited possibilities:

The fact that the position of Chief of Police is, de facto, a political one, would likely have convinced Blair that his future would be far better served by obeying his political masters than hewing to the path of integrity.

Further evidence of government and police lying to the public emerges as the McGuinty Government is now stating that no one was arrested under any extended laws, but only regular criminal laws.

The critical thinking public will, of course, want to know why 31-year-old Dave Vasey was arrested when he ventured within the allegedly non-existent boundary, refusing to either show his i.d. or allow his bag to be searched, believing he was only enjoying his basic rights of citizenship.

Told he would then have to leave, he refused, after which he was arrested under this 'non-existent' rule. What then, was the offense for which he was arrested?

These and other questions must be forcefully asked and re-asked in the days to come. To do anything less would be criminal.

Lorne Warwick is a retired high school teacher who spends his time reading, traveling, doing crosswords, volunteering, and becoming increasingly concerned about the state of democracy in Canada.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted June 30, 2010 at 09:52:52

So, is Brian Barrett gonna get his stuff back? Chain mail ain't cheap.

Although I distinctly remember people on the radio referring to his padded arrows as "flaming arrows", thinking the padding (which they misidentified as cotton - they're apparently actually pool noodles inside) was meant for lighting them on fire.

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By realitycheck (anonymous) | Posted June 30, 2010 at 11:52:46

There is a "Solidarity with the Toronto 900" rally protesting the police actions during the G20 summit weekend scheduled to occur today at 6:00PM in front of Hamilton Police Headquarters, 155 King William Street. Details of the multi-city rallies can be found at rabble.ca

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By Cityjoe (anonymous) | Posted June 30, 2010 at 16:48:21

Ina news conference today, Chief Bill Blair conceded that:
The 'Mystery Law' was supposed to apply to the Inside of the security fence, Not the outside.
(Why the stipulation about the Five of metres from the fence in the 1st place? That number just 'made up' too!)

The Mystery Law was supposed to be rescinded at 5 p.m. on Sunday night (about the time people were being arrested at the makeshift 'detention center' fence & at Queen W. @ Spadina.

I'm sorry but all Police had to do was READ the Damned Law! They had a copy from June 2nd. Couldn't Dalton have given Blair a call over this month to say. "You have got this all wrong?"

(Can you imagine over 800 cases of false arrest/detention & a ton of $$ going out of tax payer's pockets in settlements, even if you aren't that crazy about political protests.)

This is Just Too STUPID for words!!!

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By JonC (registered) | Posted June 30, 2010 at 18:27:40

My understanding regarding the 5m was that 5m from the roads were to be consided public works, but only on the inside of the secured area. That would allow the checking of parking lots and entrances and such. Blair then extrapolated that to 5m outside and not only McGuinty, but every other cabinet member that crafted the legislation in secret didn't bother to correct him.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted June 30, 2010 at 18:35:23

I have a very hard time taking people seriously who will not even entertain the idea of INVESTIGATING whether the cops did something wrong when the whole nation is watching video evidence.

Not a single one of us, if we were seen beating people sitting down and singing O Canada, could escape investigation for it. And maybe we had a good reason - but that's to be decided by courts in this country. And from what I've heard, the judges at many of the bail hearings were very pissed off with the police.

Are we seriously going to let these people get away with charging hundreds of innocent (in the strictest legal sense, since the vast majority were let go after charges were dropped) people with a make-believe laws? There is no law that says we must show ID or submit to searches. In fact, there are a number of laws that specifically say WE DON'T. Hundreds if not thousands of of protesters bothered to look this stuff up before they came, and a great many of them were simply arrested for stating the relevant laws.

There is no question that a LOT of money is going to be paid out in damages. How about making the individuals responsible liable, instead of taxpayers? In cases of clear misconduct on behalf of the officers, take it out of their paycheques. And if they were just following orders, then the people who gave them should be found responsible. This is exactly what the court system is designed to do, and with any other set of defendants there'd be no questioning these proceedings.

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By Michelle Martin (registered) - website | Posted June 30, 2010 at 19:29:44

Are we seriously going to let these people get away with charging hundreds of innocent (in the strictest legal sense, since the vast majority were let go after charges were dropped) people with a make-believe laws? There is no law that says we must show ID or submit to searches. In fact, there are a number of laws that specifically say WE DON'T. Hundreds if not thousands of of protesters bothered to look this stuff up before they came, and a great many of them were simply arrested for stating the relevant laws.

Exactly. And we do have laws that say that you can't smash windows and set police cars on fire, and these acts occurred under the noses of law enforcement officials. Instead, they rounded up innocent bystanders and journalists when the looting was over. Way to show the criminals!

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted July 01, 2010 at 10:32:37

http://thegallopingbeaver.blogspot.com/2...

'Nuff said.

Comment edited by Brandon on 2010-07-01 09:33:29

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By BobInnes (registered) - website | Posted July 01, 2010 at 11:31:40

The first casualty of war is truth.

If Michelle is right then its like a hockey game where the losing side starts taking out their frustrations in illegal ways. Unfortunately the only referee is an after the fact judge, sorta like league officials up in their box looking at replay tapes, but too delayed to change the play.

All's well that ends well - most folks were quickly let go. Dave Vassey was exercising his right - to make a point. I was thinking of looking after some business in the area in which case, I would have just done what they asked me to do to avoid arrest.

So we had a mini war, a skirmish: globalists vs the people, the leftie people anyway. But given that cars were burned, windows smashed, and who know what might have happened if the fence had been breached, most folks will sympathize with a 'little white lie', a ruse to keep the fence intact. After all, its only a cheesy fence - mobs have dismantled similar fences.

Confusion, agent provocateurs are standard fare. If you want to play, you gotta expect such and keep your cool.

This discussion is good and necessary since our rights are being trampled, but I'm far more concerned about other more insidious tramplings. Habeas corpus gone (USA, don't know about Canada) undoing a thousand year protection. Have a look at the Constitution this Canada Day and note it abrogates our rights when a treaty is involved -- then dig out what the Copenhagen Climate treaty would have done. Google what Monsanto is doing to farmers over GMO foods. Etc.

I'm also more concerned about the money, the Billion $. Too much. I got the feeling, looking at the crowds of cops milling around that the whole thing was a stimulus package sent out to Harper's boyz in the form of overtime. Dribbling pools of budget into cop's coffers for ever fancier hardware. Enjoy paying your taxes this Canada Day. I filled up last night.

The problem with this debate, albeit needed, is that the proper fix is akin to the demilitarized zone between N & S Korea. A double fence. Properly defined in law next time. More money.

Q How come taxpayers always get screwed? A Because they never react, other than a little hissing.

Sheeple.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted July 01, 2010 at 12:56:15

"How to boil live frogs" eh Bob?

I've been told the temperature has been rising since I was a kid... unfortunately others haven't. At this point I wonder if we may in fact be "brain dead" already???

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By The man wins (anonymous) | Posted July 01, 2010 at 13:11:50

So the media and the authorities have been saying this was gonna happen for months.

It did.

The police cars are bait cars that were placed there to be destroyed

And they did.

Hundreds of people are going to get arrested.

They did.

There will be lawsuits and legal fights and inquirys.

They are going to happen.

Store fronts and private property is going to be destroyed.

It did.

So if all of these things were going to happen and the protestors compiled with every prediction... who wins?

The police get massive funds for overtime and equipment.

The glazers and public works people get paid for repairs and ot.

The weapons manufacturers get fat contracts for gear.

The lawyers and crown attorneys get cases for years that taxpayers and the people arrested will have to pay for.

The politicians and corporations successfully divert all attention from the issues what the cops did and what the protestors did.

They people arrested will have to take a day(s) off work to go to court and get "in the system".

Btw when you go to court look around and take note and see who in the court room is getting paid. Not you. The police, judges, lawyers, clerks, reporters are all going to be feeding from the trough.

So who wins?

Did the legitimate issues get debated?

Did the politicians address these issues?

Did the protestors justify the predictions tactics of the state?

Did the protestors do exactly what was expected of them?

One last thought.

Imagine if all the protests were peaceful and you had a $1bil security plan that did nothing.

Now that would be a scandal.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted July 01, 2010 at 17:55:57

Police go completely overboard with budgets, equipment and presence at completely peaceful protests all the time. And it's never a scandal.

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By BobInnes (registered) - website | Posted July 01, 2010 at 23:25:44

Kiely, they're not brain dead - just ask them about sports statistics (gents), or recipes & gossip (the gentler gender) or movies or Holywood personalities, or local muggings, a sex scandal or.... Its our version of bread and circuses. Served up by media.

Is media brain dead? I doubt it, not at the top where it matters. Seems they know their business is to distract the sheeple while their friends recognize and harness the trends of history to their common advantage, while soothing us with lullabies about democracy and freedom.

You might like Atwood's Year of the Flood which novelizes something along these lines within an enjoyable story.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted July 01, 2010 at 23:42:28

Bob Innes: Clearly, you see things from the right, I am from the left, so how do we gain consensus, that things are not healthly from any stretch of the imagination.

Do I really feel sorry for some small business guy who has bought into the corporate franchise lie. No I do not, I would rather spend what little money I have on a small business that stands on its own morals.

There are many who post here who have already sold their souls, they lambast and put down the poor, those who lost their jobs. The middle class morons who post things like the poor is poor because the smoke crack or cigarettes but that is a lie.

Where are the voices to call these liars out, oh yes no where,

Then we have the CHRISTIAN FASCISTS, who deem everyone who is poor as being people who have never been taught to cook or buy food, then advocate that people can live on 12.50 per week per individual. Why do you not shut these people down.

Please, Ryan, tell me why you allow these assh*les to post their bull sh?t.

Sorry Ryan but you have a responsiblity to ensure that what people post is real, why do allow for creeps to post their bull sh?t.

You have given me warnings yet when people swear at me, call me names, I see no warning from you like you gave me.

You must abide by a double standard. Coward!!!!

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By Mr. Meister (anonymous) | Posted July 02, 2010 at 00:32:30

The police are in a most untenable position. Caught between the law and their superiors. Imagine if the natives at Caledonia had been treated this way, and they probably deserved some of that treatment. Why are the protesters damaging property? I have a real problem with that. I understand that many did not but some did and in many peoples eyes they all get coloured with the same brush. I understand it is their right to protest (peaceably), but they also know that it will accomplish nothing. Every one of these meetings draws protesters. To what end? These meetings must be of some necessity to the attendees and in the end to all of us the citizens of the countries.

Perhaps the way the protesters were treated should bother me more but it does not bother me at all. They were there to be a problem to get arrested and get their 15 minutes of fame. They got all they wanted. Time to leave it be and move on. I know this will really irk some of the readers and will be down voted early and often but it is the way most of the population feels about it.

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By ? (anonymous) | Posted July 02, 2010 at 08:04:27

I read this drivel by all you lefties excusing crimes committed against humanity and you justify it. My stomach turns. And Lorne you should be ashamed of yourself. You used to be a bright man. Age has ravaged you.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted July 02, 2010 at 09:21:23

Sadly, I think imagining some Chomskyesque shadowy conspiracy to control the media to keep the populace ignorant of politics is failing Hanlon's razor (never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity).

By and large, the people want pap. I mean yes, everybody says they'd like a civics lesson on the news, but when it really comes down to it, a 24-hour round-the-clock coverage of the latest celebrity death captures more eyeballs than high-minded news-coverage.

It's the same thing you see everywhere else in business and politics - there are unwritten rules of politeness. Things you just don't do... but then one day somebody realizes "hey, nobody will actually punish me or hold me accountable for breaking the unwritten rule". And then the game theory sets in - the players that don't play by the actual, written rules get pushed out because they have extra encumberances.

For Mulroney, it was stacking the Senate. For the Republicans in the USA, it's the filibuster and appointment-approval process.

For the news world, this hidden encumbrance was standards. It was an obligation to the truth, and to covering important events. It is not illegal print falsehoods in the news, as long as it's not defamation of character. There is no real reason they should cover strife in the 3rd world instead of celebrity shenanigans - all that matters is what grabs more eyeballs.

Remember, in any free-to-consume media, the viewer is not the customer. The customers are the advertisers - they pay for the creation of programming, so they can get their message out to viewers.

We, the viewer, are not the customer. We are the product. They sell our eyeballs to the advertisers. Then it becomes a matter of tracking who makes the most buying decisions, who is the most influenced by advertisement, who has the strongest "marketing footprint"? That's who the media will pander to.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2010-07-02 08:22:42

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted July 02, 2010 at 12:06:58

Customers are not advertisers. Customers, whether it's newspaper's circulation or a blog's web traffic stats, are a product sold TO advertisers by those who own the media in question, so that advertisers can market to them more directly. We pay for this entire ludicrous cycle with inflated consumer prices, very little of which actually makes it back to us in the form of half-decent content.

And Chomsky never alleged a media "conspiracy". He wrote about documented evidence that media coverage is slanted, and put forward a large number of factors driving it, such as the reliance of the media on ad revenue, or government sources. He also points out that survey after survey has shown that viewers actually do want more "hard news" and less "fluff", but that it's disappearing due to more economic and political factors (most notably, it's much cheaper to re-print celebrity gossip).

Oh, and for the record, they DID do these things in Caledonia, too. The occupation wasn't the least terribly rowdy until a bunch of grandmothers got attacked and pepper-sprayed around 4am. Later that day, several hundred people took the site back and that's when things started getting really heated.

In all my years protesting, I've seen a pretty clear correlation between police response and protester-related destruction. It takes two to tango, and when there's only a few friendly cops around, it's hard to get people riled up. When there's a few hundred Darth Vaders lining the streets and bullying people, it's a lot easier to rationalize (especially when people figure they're going to be arrested anyway). Keep in mind that this kind of behavior on both sides has been largely absent from big North American protests for most of the last decade (peace marches have a totally different vibe). Not that it accomplished much, despite record numbers, or the fact that nearly every big claim we made has since been proven true (WMDs? Osama?).

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By lorne (registered) - website | Posted July 02, 2010 at 20:42:28

Well, Premier McGuinty has finally emerged from hiding, likely having seen the Angus Reid poll revealing that “73 per cent of Torontonians and two-thirds of Canadians believe police treatment of protesters was justified during the G20 summit. “ (http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/830832)

His confidence thus bolstered that there will be minimal political fallout from last weekend's Charter Rights' violations by the Toronto Police, and his Government's failure to correct the fallacies about 'non-existent' powers, McGuinty's performance (seven days in the making!) suggested a man somewhat truculent and completely unapologetic for the incredibly serious abuses of ordinary citizens' rights last week. Adamant in his refusal to call an inquiry, McGuinty said that those who felt their rights had been 'abridged' (I love that euphemism) have adequate avenues for redress. Sadly, this is yet another instance of the Premier's failure of leadership in that his 'solution' does nothing to shed light on the systemic failure that led to the aforementioned 'abridgement' of Charter Rights. Until the reasons for that failure are known, Canadians dare not rest easy.

BTW, my nose is still raw.

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By Cityjoe (anonymous) | Posted July 03, 2010 at 03:51:06

Well Said Grassroots!!!

Things that really bothered me about this;
McGuinty says, "No apology" after arresting/detaining 900 people, after admitting that he screwed up. Police Chief Blair enforced a law that was not a law, even though he had a copy of what was to be enforced since June 2nd.

Neither McGuinty nor Blair have provided an explanation about how 'Nobody Inside' became 'Nobody Outside' & why that 5 meter rule was just 'made up'. They need to do this Now!

People were still being physically harrassed, searched, tackled, & interrogated on the street by police on MONDAY morning! (individuals who were not part of any demonstration, who were just going about there business.) The law "that did not exist' was rescinded on Sunday @ 5 p.m. We need to know why this was going on.

Why were people left stranded @ Union Station, mid week (Tuesday) with their luggage & kids, without any notice? If the 'not really a law' wasn't, there was no reason to close all of Front St off, esp, 4 days before the Summit. Why were these people herded 5 blocks away to Lakeshore Blvd., an 8 lane urban expressway to get a cab? That's unsafe & unacceptable!

Why was the entire TTC + Go service shut down without notice? If police wanted everyone to leave the area & go home ( retail workers, shoppers, hospital staff, tourists, protesters, etc etc..) why did they prevent them from doing do? Police did not direct people away from demonstrations, nor did they direct them to safe places to get a taxi or make arrangements to be picked up? (Most people in Toronto, even visitors use the TTC to get around town all the time.)

Why close all the local liquor outlets on Tuesday? As The Star said, "Anarchists! Quick, hide the Merlot!"

A designated demonstration area was allotted @ the N. Queen's Park lawn. A peaceful protest was broken up there by police. Why?

During that demonstration several journalists with accreditation were arrested for doing nothing except their jobs. A CTV news co-ordinator was arrested walking in front of his media van. Several more journalists were dragged from the crowd both at Queen's Park & at other locations.

Anybody know how much money it costs to get a few large military helicopters up & flying -for a week? Many complaints from people living in & near the perimeter concerned big choppers flying low, night & day from Monday to the close of the Summit. These things shook people's homes, windows, china in cabinets & pictures on the wall. They repeatedly woke people up at all hours of the night. Their lights were very bright, & people worried about them crashing into high rises. In the end these things did not provide adequate surveillance.(The vandals/Black Bloc/ police plants -however you want to see it, got in, & did the damage & got out without being apprehended at the time.)

People downtown got very angry with the constant disruption to daily lives, sleep, constant questioning, & over-kill police presence. This insanity went on with increased intensity for an entire week. Residents were very angry about his kind of intimidation by the weekend, it showed. The 'My Streets, My City' chant was what that was about.
IMHO-They were Absolutely Right!

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By MarkState (registered) - website | Posted July 04, 2010 at 11:10:43

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Comment edited by MarkState on 2010-07-04 10:19:43

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By WRCU2 (registered) | Posted July 04, 2010 at 13:21:20

Mark-State, I do not waste excuses nor do I hide the underthings when I approach the laundry line on days such as these.

Trolling for roses is like reading the morning news before planning the last day of (as IT is for some) a longed four hallowed days weekend, to reflect upon and/or celebrate the births of two great nations. My missus shared this comment with me today, from a young Yankey step-child to her Cannuck step-mother on a facebook page:

"Not sure what IT is, but happy Canada Day..... is IT like a holiday that gets you off work?"

IT's starting to look like a laundry day folks; Brothers and sisters, we are not united and can never be organized if we cannot take to heart what IT means to feel real freedom, to experience IT and embrace IT... Have we begun to take IT for granted?

IT's Your Festival is happening right now in Gage Park, the last day of a forty year strong, four day musical event! Go NOW or you risk wasting a good part of your day reading into what I have wrung through my wash-IT machine and am now wrangling with putting-out too dry...

Alas, our local news [has informed me that] today is a write-off: (http://www.thespec.com/News/BreakingNews/article/801248 "Smog advisory issued for Hamilton"):

To Take a deep breath and hold IT right there

The Ministry advises that people should avoid strenuous outdoor activities during an advisory as even healthy people can be adversely effected by polluted air. Those most at risk; young children, pregnant women, the elderly, asthmatics, and people with heart problems should take extra precautions.

Anyone suffering difficulty breathing should contact their physician or visit the nearest hospital.

Sunday will be the first smog day of 2010. There were four smog days in 2009. Hamilton experienced a record 45 smog days in 2005.

This advisory will remain in effect until further notice.

I went trolling for roses and once again I found only the thorns. What the heck, even the trend in the report suggests Hamilton's air is the cleanest it has been in five years! Yet here I am, I have the freedom to celebrate the birth of my homeland and that of my kinsmen brothers and sisters while spreading some badly needed money around, but I am warned IT is best today to just sit back and make IT easy with short-indoor breaths. I probably shouldn't be taking long walks in the outdoors with my children like going to listen for free to dozens of local musicians, to browse and buy wares from hundreds of arisans and eat homecooked food prepared locally from around the world. And those intergalactic carnival rides, your know the ones that take your breath away, we certainly could not expose our kids to such strenous activities on such a smoggy day.

I took my dog for a walk in the morning freshness. I seen my old-country neighbor tending to his tomatoes. We shared a passing glance and the usual greetings. IT is a fine day to be free and IT's Your Festival to see. I'll probably go because IT is the sounds in the air that I most care to hear, a little smog won't hamper my style or melodious flair at the fair when IT is masked by the sweet sounds of celebration for new birth and nation ringing in my ear. Ain't I queer? Who cares, here, have a cold beer and some cheers;-) Lose those fears and come near!

That's ehough, I'm outta here.

Comment edited by WRCU2 on 2010-07-04 12:29:51

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By BobInnes (registered) - website | Posted July 04, 2010 at 19:43:11

Mark State:
While you are careful with your words, your bias is shown by the last few lines, which should have been placed first:

I'm sure they'd rather have been home with their wives and kids and sipping a cool drink on the balcony or in the backyard next to a simmering bar-b-que than dressing up in armour and facing a shouting abusive crowd

Are you kidding? With all that overtime to be had? With all that special training/ expertize to absorb? With all those cool new toys like sound cannons to play with? Isn't that what they joined the police force to do? The security business is a very good business to be in these days, no?

In trying to lay ALL (most of) the blame at the feet of protesters, either we have to conclude you are a right wing law and order Bush (?) kinda guy or you are just a little naive. A few questions:

Why did the expense shock us, if not the extreme disparity between the past and the present?

What would expenditures have been say in the 50s if a bunch of leaders came to town?

Why was the G20 meeting in a major city anyway? Was it to put/keep us in our place? To show the new globalist flag? To assert its dominance?

If there is more truculence now, why is that? Do you want to blame it on the left? Why is Grassroots so upset? Is it just the influence of TV cameras?

Maybe there is a trend here that you are not recognizing (or are a part of) as whole populations get fleeced instead of just a company or an industry. Would you prefer that people just act through their democratic institutions? What institutions are those? Do we vote for the IMF or the World Bank? Or the UN, or the COP (the proposed Climate Treaty administrator)? Do our politicians control the money supply or central banks? Can we even influence Harper when he resides inside the PMO instead of Parliament, dealing not in bills, but in omnibus bills? What's the difference if we replace our elected representatives with other representatives from the same corporate donor lists? With an incumbent reelection rate of 78% (in Canada, higher at the municipal level, 94% in US), what does an election even mean? You, yourself are facing this. Which is why I posted previously on Athenian lottery based democracy.

Not that I condone violence. But what's with the ransacking of our democracy and our protections and what would you have us do instead, given those changes? Seems like one leads to the other, no? So why not try to shine the spotlight on the folks that made the changes in the first place, before things get any worse?
Bob Innes

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By Brant Lyne (anonymous) | Posted July 05, 2010 at 07:37:25

A billion-dollar globalization beat-down an hour to the east is relegated to a crawl-line detail while a $125 million box-office flop (third-place opener with the most flaccid box office haul for a Tom Cruise action film in two decades) gets cover treatment. (For what it's worth, both blockbusters get luke-warm reviews.) That's just View's way of saying "Happy Canada Day!"

http://viewmag.com
http://viewmag.com/13104-Day+%27N%27+Knight.htm
http://viewmag.com/13097-G20+Havoc.htm

God keep our land glorious and free.

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted July 05, 2010 at 16:38:02

Mark,

Are you suggesting that a billion dollar price tag was the minimum that they could come up with to protect us against the "black bloc"? Seriously?!

That orders that said "abandon your police cars here and allow them to destroy them without interference" are acceptable?

That rounding up peaceful protesters is an acceptable situation?

Nobody ever said being a cop was easy, particularly in a country with freedom of expression(!) like Canada. That being said, they aren't forced to do the job and they need to follow the rules as they're written down and available to everybody. If they aren't capable of that, they shouldn't have taken the job.

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By Mark State (anonymous) | Posted July 06, 2010 at 04:29:36

Find a response to most comments on my earlier reply in the following:

To say that the information is not all in and to commend the police force for restraint while damning the hooligans for causing the need to call up the troops in the first place is not laundering anything. It is merely presenting another side of the story, in which preserving law and order supercedes the right to enact mayhem. In doing so, I also gave the detractors of any positivity of police action (in fact I BEGAN my comment by giving those detractors) at least potential credibility in their condemnation of police actions; a courtesy some of you apparently don't believe in due to your righteous convictions and what seems your (to me, puzzling) desire to make the police bad and wrong for doing riot control. Insinuating that they are not capable of following the rules they are employed to enforce intimates that the reason for a police officer's taking the job is to do otherwise. I think modern-day police employment procedures weed most of those kinds of folks out before they can join the force.

How could I suggest that the Billion dollar price tag was minimum or maximum, correctly applied or wasteful, when I don't know the details of the billing that added up to that figure?

And neither do you.

We can both get all upset by the enormity of the costs; and perhaps we should, because from your point of view it was due to expensive toys and overtime, and resulted in the rounding up and arresting of innocents by an unruly bunch of bullies.

And from my point of view it was completely necessary because both our Toronto and the G20 itself had to be defended against violence and public disorder in the demonstrations, and I resent its necessity.

I only hope (and possibly, so can you) that both the potential and real violence by protesters turns out to have been kept to a minimum due to police action; and the costs will prove justified, along with recommendations about how to do it better next time.

I am on record as being totally against wasting public money. It is and will remain the central component of my Mayoralty campaign. My comments in here do not reflect blanket approval of the expenditure...merely another point of view in which I hope it may be justified. I am also on record as being completely against unlawful acts, especially those of vandalism and violence. There is no room for sympathy regarding those behaviours in my philosophy of governance. Moreover, they infuriate me. Hence, my own truculence. By way of explanation, I am both not appalled by the lawful actions of police pursuing their jobs, and intolerant of excessive violence in that pursuit. I thoroughly expect and have no doubt that every single activity of every single police officer involved in quelling the riots will be put under a microscope to determine whether it was properly or improperly carried out. Naysayers to my approach will claim that the police in protecting 'their own' will not accede to such an investigation. The point may be moot to us, however, because unless some officers committed gross misconduct, you will not find a report about the results of such an investigation (except as perhaps a back-page kind of item) in the media, because it provides no demographic incentives to advertisers.

The expense shocked us because it was so... expensive! We are not yet privy to a breakdown of those costs, including an explanation of their necessity. That knowledge may help reduce the shock somewhat. Nothing like understanding to reduce fear and discomfort.

Either way, it was a horrendous amount of money to spend on security. You blame the spenders, and I blame the cause for the expense.

The rounding up of peaceful protesters along with the bad guys might have been a tactic, as I mentioned, to achieve a particularly useful goal. If I am correct about this, not having done so would have allowed the bad guys hidden amongst the good guys to get away. I'd be against that. In my mind, better to round up a big bunch of people that includes the perpetrators than to let them get away with their unlawful behaviour, then separate the good guys from the bad guys knowing that at the very least, you've got some of them in custody right along with quite possibly some pretty good eye witnesses.

No specific order to ALLOW vandals to destroy the police cars were given as far as I was able to determine in my checking of media reports. My opinion (for what it's worth) is that the police may have been acting in a restrained manner during those incidents in order to achieve other goals, such as holding a line that unfortunately did not cover the lost cruisers. Certainly arrests of as many of those doing the police car damage as could be found closely followed this act of disregard for the city's property and expensive equipment. Did those police cars belong to the police? No. They belong to the taxpayers in Toronto; and it is we who were attacked by their wanton destruction. To their destroyers, they may have been "symbols" of "the establishment". That, to me, is just an example of how far away those doing the damage were removed from reality by a stupid, mob mentality...or by deliberate criminal intent.

I suspect that in the 50's, the expenses for a group of world leaders coming to Toronto would be minimal; and that dangers posed to such a conference (seeing as the 50's predated international agreements against government assassination of other government leaders) would have been restricted to strong intelligence and targeting of specific individuals who might have provided danger to the participants. Isn't that what we were doing this month in an updated sort of way? You must also take into account the gradual disappearance of respect for authority and the diminishment of self-discipline that has occurred since then in determining that fewer police officers would have been required to achieve the same effect.

I don't believe Toronto will be ready for ANY major events, including this one, the upcoming Pan Am games, or an Olympic bid until after we have overhauled our inability to handle traffic flow with any degree of competence. Considering the Pan Am games will be here in a short five years, the overhaul had better get started right away.

Still, in some respects, having the G20 here was a huge gift to the city in terms of publicity. Managed well by the new city government looking forward, that publicity will create income Toronto desperately needs. In that sense, it was a cloud with a solid gold lining. We've always been a world-class city, but since Mayor Mel and his hijinks that kept us in the eye of the world left the scene, we've been diminishing in stature on that level. Now, we're back in the picture and could, with well-managed marketing, stay there awhile.

Truculence is the central theme of all these commentaries. It is being shown by the left in their complaints against what they have determined was unwarranted brutality by police and unwarranted expenditures by government in the security provided by government. Those who are sanguine about the effectiveness of police during the G20 express their truculence regarding the appearance of vandals and hooligans amongst the otherwise peaceful protesters, the violent behaviour that ensued as a direct result, and the forced cost of having to set up a protective service around the conference. I do not blame the left for truculence, merely point out here that it is they who also possess it just now for their own reasons, just as I and others sharing my view possess our own. Upset that recognizes a dynamic difference in approach can be good, because it generates the need for discovering information and achieving order. But upsetness for its own sake is just chaotic: sound and fury, signifying nothing.

When you mention fleecing the public, you have all my attention because --even though saying so makes me a seeming conspiracy theorist-- I think, given the method of expenditure customs and decision making in council and the current state of our financial situation in Toronto, that our current civic government's fiscal irresponsibility in general is a HUGE fleece job on a wide range of fronts. We are not too naive to understand that it is individuals in government who lead the fleecing of the public.

The system of government is not perfect in Canada (or anywhere else, I suppose). We will always find ways in which it may be improved. The old standby is that we get to elect our representatives; but as you have pointed out, that is not always the case, especially with government leaders who are elected by their own parties. John Tory's leadership of the conservative party is an especially good example of this in recent Ontario politics.

In the civic arena, Mayor Mel discovered that he could make up the money not forthcoming from the province, and necessary to support the city's spending when tax increases were suspended if he started practicing deficit financing. By the end of his Mayoralty, we owed lenders $1.3 Billion. By the end of Mayor Miller's term, even though property tax increases are back to normal levels, that will have tripled, and we will also be saddled with double that amount again as we proceed with the course of action he began with regard to new public transit rights of way.

Sometimes it seems (quoting the crows dance number in 'The Wiz' when they were trying to convince the scarecrow that he couldn't get ahead by joining Dorothy and the others [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YrinCQOxB0&feature=related] by forcing him to repeat their credo) that "You can't win, you can't break even, and you can't get out of the game." It's very unsatisfactory to those of us who care deeply for the well-being of our democracy, but the only thing we are allowed to do, for now, is be very careful about who we choose for our leaders by evaluating them as best as we can. Your dialogue about reforming government and the voting procedure will also contribute eventually to change and a more equitable form of governance.

Mark State
2010 Toronto Mayoralty Candidate






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By WRCU2 (registered) | Posted July 06, 2010 at 07:36:32

There have been 532 views since I posted Sunday afternoon, so where are the voters? Why is no one else weighing in? Barely 1% are actually throwing their weight around by voting up or down. This feature has not shown a fair representation of popular opinion. Therefore I believe a majority of viewers are only coming here for the entertainment value again and again and again.

The G20 event did not have to be staged deep in the heart of a major metropolitan city center. IT was staged there because the planner's desire is conflict and the media loves IT.

I also have no idea why a Toronto Mayoralty Candidate would choose to campaign on a Hamilton blog. What more can I say to this straw-man's politico manifesto other than, you win bud!

I am impressed that Mr. State at least tried to play THE REMIX GAME.

I had an interesting long holiday weekend, I didn't blog much, I was way too busy. My Canada Day BBQ was spent with family and I had a great time discussing things with: a retired Major and magazine/newspaper man from BC, a retired media executive and former producer from CBC and a prominent regional sales rep for a major retail outlet. I don't know exactly what will come of IT, but I have high hopes and aspirations this could lead to a new media here in Hamilton. Your thoughts are welcome: farmer6re9_at_execulink_dot_com

Be cool my friends;-)

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted July 06, 2010 at 09:38:00

Call me a leftist all you want, but I have a hard time believing in the "restraint" showed by police forces when given a carte blanche to do whatever is necessary.

As far as the billion dollars goes, I'll agree to wait and see the details, but I find it interesting that France claims their meeting will cost 20% of that.

"You're not in Canada now" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjVtsuoPl...

A report from someone who was arrested during a peaceful protest: http://backofthebook.ca/2010/07/01/how-i...

Chief of police admitting to lying about the 5-meter rule: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/nati...

"Anarchists" running and hiding behind police lines? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeG_t9aba...!

But finally, how can you justify this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Heb9BXjYc...

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted July 06, 2010 at 10:08:28

One of the interesting things that has come out of all the participant coverage generated by the G20 protest is a pretty strong vindication of Steve Mann's sousveillance idea, in which citizens wear and broadcast mobile video recorders as a kind of countervail against the privacy- and freedom-curtailing abuses of fixed surveillance cameras.

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted July 06, 2010 at 12:11:27

Yeah, it's much harder for people to take the word of a uniform when there's video evidence that directly contradicts it. The Robert Dziekanski episode was a perfect example of that.

Here's another example of our billion dollar security forces at work:

http://niagaraatlarge.com/2010/07/05/tho...

Damn those anarchists!

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By BobInnes (registered) - website | Posted July 06, 2010 at 12:23:11

Well, Mr State, you're certainly following in the great right tradition I've always leaned toward. Having supported Harris, Mulroney and Mayor Mel, it has taken me many years to understand how my confidence in them was misplaced, despite their having done things I voted for. As you noted, it was largely about the money, but there are other factors too such as why the 407 was given a 99 year gift instead of say a single generation of immutable responsibility, how their developer friends benefited, etc. The devil is in the details and in allowing your bias/philosophy to override those details, you would make the same mistake as they. But the world has come to where the stakes are far higher, despite that you claim fiscal rectitude.

Did those police cars belong to the police? No. They belong to the taxpayers in Toronto; and it is we who were attacked by their wanton destruction.

Are you kidding? A few hundred thousand $, at most a million or two vs .... ONE BILLION, irrevocably taxed at the point of the almost-only-legal gun-force from hapless taxpayers at the last minute? How much notice did we receive of this expenditure? Taxpayers were attacked alright.

When you say "it is individuals in government who lead the fleecing of the public", well everyone is against corruption, so corruption is not the problem. Deficit spending is indeed a problem, but only relatively minor. It is fixable. Whenever Canadians chose to understand that public debts are future taxes. Now whole governments are looking for a way to offload their responsibilities while maintaining the power, glory, and income they skin from we the people. Downloading broken, now they look to "upload". They are willing to become dupes of whatever international order looks good and willing to do whatever it takes, disregarding our traditional values in the process. Canada has such an inferiority complex, it would sell it soul to curry international favour. That billion$ would have been better spent on finding a way to allow proper dialog between protesters and the bigwigs, but of course, bigwigs don't want to hear from the plebes. And Mark Carney will bask in his new international status.

Then you fall for the old chestnut.....

"having the G20 here was a huge gift to the city in terms of publicity. Managed well by the new city government looking forward, that publicity will create income Toronto desperately needs. In that sense, it was a cloud with a solid gold lining."

We all know where the gold lining went ..... into the details. But I doubt we will ever really know the details. They are fragmented into a multitude of microscopic budgets, too boring to bother with. King Gordius himself couldn't untie the knot! I know the game. But the old chestnut, - all that badly needed income. Umm. Exactly what income is that? Besides the boozing and schmoozing that must have gone on, or did we pay for that too? Or do you think that when the province pays for PanAm parties, that balances the books? Humbug. Hamilton's falling for the same balderdash.

What we will never be told is whether or not the police cars were bait. Or whether there were agent provocateurs. You really expect them to admit to such a manipulation of the media to the media?

Finally, I believe your words might come back to bite you

There is no room for sympathy regarding those behaviours in my philosophy of governance. Moreover, they infuriate me. Hence, my own truculence..... In my mind, better to round up a big bunch of people that includes the perpetrators than to let them get away with their unlawful behaviour, then separate the good guys from the bad guys knowing that at the very least, you've got some of them in custody right along with quite possibly some pretty good eye witnesses.

Reminds me of a guy with a funny mustache. What was his name?

Comment edited by BobInnes on 2010-07-06 11:31:01

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted July 06, 2010 at 12:35:55

@BobInnes Upvoted despite the Godwin because it's nice to see a conservative with a clear head.

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By BobInnes (registered) - website | Posted July 06, 2010 at 15:09:23

Ouch, nobrainer. Guilty as charged - and grateful for your lesson on a name new to me! I'd go into some background on my mental logic but don't want to exacerbate my error, which I hope Mark State will forgive. I'd probably listen to his candidacy (hey, its on the right!) but some of his stuff alarms me and hope he doesn't mean it quite so strongly as it comes across.

Responding to your thought about my conservatism, and keeping in mind Grassroot's searing question:

Bob Innes: Clearly, you see things from the right, I am from the left, so how do we gain consensus, that things are not healthly from any stretch of the imagination?

Exactly. How to bridge the gap? Not sure, but I suspect it must be a new party, perhaps along the lines of the provincialistic Wild Rose Party??? We trade away our nationhood (by means of too many treaties, corporate moneylicking, etc.) at great peril. I've had conversations along these lines. Idle ones so far. My only suggestion at this point is a name - Fed Up Canadians - United. Do you like the slogan its acronym suggests?!!! Any takers???

:-)

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted July 06, 2010 at 20:49:30

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vgQalXaIxs

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted July 09, 2010 at 02:13:19

If expecting police to abide by their own most crucial rules makes somebody a "leftist" then this country is in a lot of trouble.

Arresting people based on their political views, participation in organizing non-violent protests or what they "look like" are not legal. Period. Neither is beating peaceful protesters. And neither is failing to follow basic police procedures.

Perhaps what angers me as much as any of my incensed anarchist sensibilities is that it's fundamentally bad police work. They could have easily apprehended these kids at the scene of the crime, but chose instead to impose a reign of terror with a thousand arrests targetting radicals in general. It's fascist, illegal, and highly immoral, but more importantly, it wastes a lot of resources not catching the perpetrators.

They did this to fairly privileged white kids. They did this in front of a nation of private and public cameras. And people still don't believe it. They joked about it, caught on camera, and they still aren't really in any kind of trouble. Think about that. Then ask yourself, how many times a day do they screw up this badly with people a lot less well off?

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted July 09, 2010 at 09:18:22

I'm upvoting ASmith's Rollin's video. I find that it's completely accurate given the fact that the chief of police has admitted to lying about the existence of the "5 meter rule", despite several people being arrested under it and seeing police applying the rule beyond the five meters in video.

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By Cityjoe (anonymous) | Posted July 09, 2010 at 12:50:25

Here's one of the worst examples of police over kill.

I thought the small Asian TTC employee who was grabbed by Police on his way to work near King & Spadina, put into 'detention' for 12 hours, & had his transfer clipper aka a paper punch seized as a dangerous weapon was the dumbest incident yet but -

The handicapped man in this CBC story is still missing his glasses, 2 canes to walk with, & $33.00 out of his wallet.
There is also Youtube footage of this incident.

Police Riot? It's beginning to look like it.

http://www.aolnews.com/article/amputee-says-g20-police-ripped-off-leg/19543604

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted July 12, 2010 at 11:48:29

Sadly, I think imagining some Chomskyesque shadowy conspiracy to control the media to keep the populace ignorant of politics is failing Hanlon's razor (never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity). - Pxtl

Corporate interests went around buying up local independently run newspapers and media outlets for a reason Pxtl… and I don't think it was out of stupidity.

Comment edited by Kiely on 2010-07-12 10:48:57

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted July 12, 2010 at 12:42:32

you see things from the right, I am from the left, so how do we gain consensus - grassroots

Well, go far enough in either direction and you end up in the same place only with different names.

Or we can throw off the "left" and "right" labels and start talking about things that work and who they should be working for. The labels are shackles they put on us to divide and conquer us... I try not to wear them.

We all need to watch the labels we receive and the ones we assign ourselves:

Don't be left or right… be politically minded.

Don't be labeled a consumer… insist on being called a citizen.

Don't declare yourself an anarchist… be a community activist.

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted July 12, 2010 at 22:54:34

Your open and transparent government at work: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/poli...

Amazing how questioning mass arrests is somehow supporting the anarchists.

"You're with us or you're against us!"

Sound familiar? I vaguely recall this sort of thing being said down south almost 9 years ago now...

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By MarkState (registered) - website | Posted July 13, 2010 at 04:58:18

BobInnes

http://www.mark-state.com, is my political essay website if you are masochistic enough to read through it. Upcoming this month will be http://markstatetoronto.com --a campaign website with plenty of video. But as a Hamiltonian, you can be forgiven if you never tune in. The election in T.O. isn't your fight.

As a member of a group seeking election to eliminate a very considerable deficit figure that's holding the city back in a great many important ways due to income being spent on supporting that debt, I may be justified in claiming to comment for all the Mayoralty candidates by writing that none of us would agree with your take that "Deficit spending is indeed a problem, but only relatively minor. It is fixable." The fact is that deficit accumulation really is a bear to repair, and not minor or easily fixed at all. Our taxes are very comprehensive here in Toronto, and fully 50% of most incomes is spent on them. And the galling thing is that not paying off the deficit but rather increasing it directly results in more taxation for fewer services, not just here, but anywhere. Methods of getting rid of the deficit form the chief bone of contention amongst all of us. I am informed that in the USA, fiscal reform at the federal level has mandated that all major cities clear their deficits, and they are rending their civic governments into hamburger to get it done.

But that's all a commentary for another article. Re police action at the G20: The stakes are high not only in civic governance but in the maintaining of order by the authorities. Nowhere have I stated that I am in favour of unrestrained violence perpetrated against peaceful protest by Police. Quite the contrary. I have called for the entire situation to be put under a microscopic examination of events including orders issued under various conditions and why, and over-the-top-appearing behaviour resulting in the apparent abrogation of civil rights. In this commentary, I further recommend that a judicial inquiry be held and chaired or led by a senior jurist removed from connection with the event, that all events during the protest by all persons in attendance be reviewed and that recommendations be made. Where there are criminal charges to be laid out of those findings, they be brought to court forthwith, and should any of those proceedings produce a verdict of guilty against an officer of the peace, that person be dismissed from his/her force immediately. We depend upon our police to keep the peace, and the trust we place in them must not be broken. Equally, findings of guilty for misdemeanors by attendees must be appropriately punished, and maximum sentences handed down to illustrate that we have no room for those kinds of behaviours in this Canada of ours.

My intention is not to be soft on anybody, but never never to jump on a bandwagon so as to pick a side in the aftermath of an event such as this. Hence, those who side with the anti-police or mob mentality see me as a tool of the media. My response to them is "what media?". Until all the facts are in and appropriately evaluated, I'm inclined to give police the benefit of credibility for now because as a citizen I must place faith in them since I hire them to protect me. And besides, our system of justice insists upon innocence of a defendant in any action and the burden of proof being placed on the plaintiffs and prosecution. But I'm equally ready as a Mayoralty candidate in the instance of having achieved the office to completely remove from my police force any officer, including commanding officers, who through deliberate actions undermines that essential faith placed in him or her by Torontonians.

Mark State 2010 Toronto Mayoralty Candidate

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