“Hello dirtbag. You live or work Downtown and you’re a suspect. For all we in the Harper government know, you’re a deadly enemy bent on terrorism against the multinational corporations we honour and serve…and even, perhaps, worship a little bit.”
That’s the unabashed attitude the Harper Tories seem to have toward you. They don’t care what you think or how you feel. They’ll spend $1 billion of your money just to get you accustomed to being bossed and bullied by your own police force. And to make sure you realize how awful they think you are, they’ll bring in armed outsiders to add to the insult and injury.
These horrid rulers the Liberals let reign against us are neocons. Corporatists. They serve the interests of multinational trillionaires for whom corporations are their war machines, loyal to no nation and certainly not to Canada. (A million dollars isn’t what it used to be, in case you haven’t noticed. Corporate heads get 10 times that much just as a performance bonus, and they’re way down on the totem pole. If you earned $1 million a year it would take you a million years to earn $1 trillion.)
The Liberals exposed us to this by running two doofus candidates (silly professors) to counter the diabolical Stephen Harper, butler to multinational corporations. He’s aggressively trying to give away Canadian sovereignty in corrupt NAFTA-like “free trade” deals with the thirsty European corporations that lust after our highways, water systems and other local-government services, and with Mexico, which has little that we need aside from avocados and mangoes. And to Chile. You know what a blessing NAFTA has been, shipping our jobs to Mexico on their way to China.
But back to what’s happening on the local scene where the world is going to get a postcard view of our tourism-hungry city being tear gassed, sound cannoned, flash-banged and billy clubbed to preserve the servants of the world’s elites. Was there a big spurt in new tourism to Pittsburgh after the September G20 disgraced local police and alienated its citizens on worldwide TV?
G20 is an utterly useless public display of power and privilege. We must fear that it’s going to sully Toronto’s image to the world. It’s likely to wreak devastation on the small businesses in and around the fenced-in core and keep tourists far away; a financial catastrophe imposed by yet another hateful Tory senior government less than a decade after provincial Premier Mike Harris doomed Toronto to amalgamation with the suburbs.
Federal intrusion into Toronto has been a curse. The waterfront suffers from federal meddling and a few hundred flights a day to and from the Island mean that outdoor summer concerts in the Queen’s Quay parks are doomed. The worst legacy of G20 would be tarnishing Toronto’s reputation as a civil, safe place to live and visit. There is much danger in the new Tory toys bestowed on our police force.
We’re lucky that our police chief is moderate and sensible Bill Blair. Had we still been under the fist of hardcore politico-cop Julian Fantino our cops would be wearing menacing black outfits and riding aloofly around in vehicles instead of interfacing with their public.
Still, it’s human nature to want to field test new equipment and those sound cannon, which can do permanent damage to human hearing, will be out there. Remember how those Mounties in Vancouver plied their spanking-new “non-lethal” Tasers on that poor Polish guy at the airport with deadly effect.
There will also police seconded from out of the city to act against Torontonians. Cops probably won’t easily be accountable for their actions during this stressful event because they’ll not be identifiable. In other actions where out-of-town cops were called in to handle a protest, such as one a few years ago from Allan Gardens by the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP), there was no way for citizens to identify individual officers if any got out of line.
That should be corrected before G20 by issuing each officer a special number on a vest that preserves individual identity, but makes each officer accountable if necessary. Look to see if that happens.
Emotions run high in large public protests both among the protestors and the police seeking to keep things from getting out of hand. Look also to see if, as happened in Ottawa in 2007 at the Montebello Summit, police or government officials plant provocateurs in the crowd to attack police and incite them to attack the protestors.
But also do remember that this is Toronto. We have a tradition of decency, civility and order. Let’s pray that despite the odds, we pull through this G20 catastrophe with our heads held high. And unbloodied.