Saturday, July 03, 2010
Reflections and Unpopular Positions
Is there more to read on the G20 Summit? I have no doubt there is more to come, but I've read and heard about as much as I can take in at this point and I have a few observations.
To begin with, I think calls for Toronto's Chief Blair resignation at this point is ill advised and a knee jerk reaction. Now before you scream, I firmly believe that things went horribly wrong and I do think we need a full enquiry, but there is just something about this that doesn't quite jive for me.
First of all, having lived through having Julian Fantino as Chief of Police, Blair was a real breath of fresh air. I'm no expert and don't know everything about the man, but in a general sense, I much prefer his method of policing. By that I mean, he is a chief that believes in intelligence gathering, working with communities, building trust, overall a progressive approach versus Fantino's methods that more resembled the ill-advised, non affective, 'let's knock some heads', 'tough on crime' mantra of the Conservatives.
So with that in mind, what to make of what happened? Let's start with the request to the province for the PWPA. I've heard Blair interviewed and understand now, that it was not he who made the request. Blair said ISU and 'other' parties were involved in obtaining the special regulation. Sadly, he was being interviewed by John Tory and follow up is not Tory's forté. So, I think we need to know that. Did he misread the regulation? Absolutely and of course that is concerning. That said, he claimed once realising that, (actually being advised by lawyers), he immediately informed the forces on the street. Should the public have been told? Yes.
Given that he informed his forces, what happened on Sunday? Why did we see so many having their rights violated? At this point all I can see is that there was a hyper-vigilant atmosphere that was not reined in and that was the responsibility of either Blair or the ISU and to be frank, I'd like to know how much power the RCMP had. I'm given to understand that authorities had information about the Black Bloc and were being led all over the city, a Black Bloc tactic, with a main objective of breaching the main perimeter. Did that necessitate the action taken? In my opinion, no. I think we've all witnessed a gross abuse of power and we have to understand how and why that happened.
Given the information I have at this point, I do think rights were breached and the Charter was either ignored or abandoned. Innocent people were rounded up and held unnecessarily and overall, I'm appalled and to be honest, saddened at what happened. I want due process and answers. I see no value in being equally as hyper-reactive as what we want to counter. We need more facts and we need them to come out in an unbias way, so an enquiry makes sense to me. What form that takes, I'm not sure.
I want to know what the province actually agreed to and how unprecedented it was. I think they have been too silent. I want to understand the entire chain of command and how the ISU fit in and along with that, how large a role the federal government had. And of course, I want to see how Chief Blair went about making the decisions he did that day, how far reaching they were and why.
I don't call for resignations lightly and I try not to defend people blindly. If it turns out that this all lies on Blair's shoulders, so be it, but something is telling me that is not the case and until we have all of this aired, I'll wait for the facts.
This must be done now though. Not in months. Now. Sod the predictable, 'there are law suits in the works, so we must wait'. No, we can't wait. Write your MP and MPP and if you live in the city, get on to your councillor.
Push for truth and we might get somewhere. Making accusations and demands without fact, tends to push things back in my experience.