The security response at the G20 summit in Toronto, where police arrested hundreds of protestors without pressing charges raises fundamental questions about the health of democracy in this country, said the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

“It was a sad weekend for civil liberties in Canada.

We can do better,” Nathalie Des Rosiers, the general counsel for the national advocacy group, told the Commons public safety committee yesterday. The committee is investigating the security response to the summit last June, which saw rioting in downtown Toronto streets and mass arrests more than a thousand protesters, with all but a hundred of them never being charged.

“Space and mobility were redefined, weaponry was redefined, privacy was redefined,” Des Rosiers told MPs, noting that while such redefinitions may have been necessary, they were done behind closed doors without any input from the public.

“It’s not true that there was martial law declared during the G20 weekend in Toronto,” Des Rosiers told MPs. “This is dangerous. Our system of government requires that all powers be exercised according to law.”

Her testimony followed the firsthand accounts of two young women from Montreal, Jacinthe Poisson and Wissam , who were both taken into custody during a mass arrest at a University of Toronto residence on June 27, the final day of the summit.

“Conditions inside the detention centre were ... dehumanizing and humiliating,” said Poisson.

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