With graphic scenes of burning police cruisers and corralled protesters combating peace officers, June’s G20 summit caused a global commotion. Yet, with so many residual effects, was this meeting of government and financial leaders worth it?
No, said Kezio Mauronik, a downtown resident who calls himself a non-confrontational opponent to what many feel was a wasteful weekend.
“With the aftermath overshadowing the actual meetings, I don’t think many people who weren’t directly involved even know what the summit was about anymore,” he said. “Toronto citizens should not have been subjected to such a blatant disruption.”
Mauronik said he sees both sides of how the weekend erupted into disarray.
“Contrary to the popular line put forth by the police and the media, anarchy isn’t about breaking things,” he asserts. “What happened to police cars and shop windows was vandalism. To describe those acts as anarchism is pure ignorance.
“Still, it was disturbing to see the use of police force first-hand, something you’d expect in dictatorial countries, not Canada. As a normal citizen prompted to peacefully protest by our then-mayor, I shouldn’t have been subjected to that.”
Mauronik said he holds political leaders accountable for allowing Hogtown to be subjected to the debacle while “disowning the entire thing.”
A report by Ontario Ombudsman André Marin found that police were hastily granted greater powers by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services via an amendment to the Public Works Protection Act.
Marin said the revision created “martial law ... in the city of Toronto, leading to the most massive compromise of civil liberties in Canadian history.” His report calls for revision of the PWPA and a review of what powers police may receive under the act.
In response, Toronto police Chief Blair said, “I think it’s important that the public be assured that we’re all taking this very seriously” and noted five officers accused of using extreme force had been identified with more to come.
Premier Dalton McGuinty said the province acted with “good intention” yet was rash in allowing the law alteration. “The police were given additional authority. We moved too quickly to provide that authority,” he said.
Last Tuesday, Const. Babak Andalib-Goortani was charged with assault with a weapon in the takedown of a protester near the Ontario legislature during the summit.