There was lots of second-guessing of police actions yesterday following violent G20 protests, but some of the debate focused on moves by the Ontario cabinet that critics said suspended civil liberties in Toronto and kept the new law secret.
Opposition parties and civil libertarians were outraged the Liberal cabinet gave police extra powers to question, search and detain people near the G20 fences, and then failed to inform the public until it was too late to mount a court challenge.
“The secret law was inappropriate (and) the use of mass arrests as a tool to eradicate or find 50 to 100 looters is not appropriate,” said Nathalie Des Rosiers of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has so far refused to explain why his cabinet felt it had to pass the law in secret and keep it secret.
The decision to update the 70-year-old Public Works Protection Act for the first time ever — extending rules that normally govern court houses to portions of downtown Toronto — was done because of a special request from police, McGuinty said last week.