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.


A Eliz. said...

HBhi there

A Eliz. said...

Sorry I hit the publish by mistake!!

I cannot unserstand how come the poice did not stop the Black Bloc, in their smashing windows, burning police cars. I saw in Monedbello, the police dressed like the Black Bloc and started trouble..also in PittsBurg at the G20. The RCMP wwere running things from Barrie, you know.

fern hill said...

I agree. Blair was a HUGE improvement over Fantino. But his actions over this whole mess are not very upright. I don't call for resignations lightly either. But Blair needs to acquit himself a whole lot better than he has.

Karen said...

I'd like more info re'RCMP and Barrie. E-mail me.

Agent provacateur? Yes, Montebello brought that to light. I didn't see that kind of thing here.

I just want to know what happened. It's my city now,Blair has been a blessing,(crime down) but if he messed up, so be it.

Karen said...

fern hill, I think we are on the same page.

Trust me, I was revolted and saddened, but I want to know the truth.

Yep we need to know more from Blair.

Chrystal Ocean said...

Among the questions for me:

Why were so many police on the front line not wearing badges or, when asked, failed to identify themselves? The explanation that came first to mind: they're private security people. That might also explain behaviour that most Torontonians aren't used to from their police officers. It also makes 'true' that 'Toronto police behaved in upstanding fashion'.

Another concern... Most journos and others appear to be ignoring Harper's role in all this.

It wouldn't surprise me if the PMO was found to be the primary player behind the scenes, not McGuinty or Chief Blair - the latter of whom might have been set up to fall on his sword.

Liberal Justice said...

I won't be shedding a tear over what happened to people over the G20 summit. The police did exactly as they should have and both federal and provincial Liberals are supporting the actions. You have to lose some civil liberties in order to fight groups like the Black Bloc. That's just the new reality.

fern hill said...

'Liberal Justice'? That's irony, yes?

Rights are rights. This whole 'if your have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear' schtick astounds me.

Everybody has something to hide. Cops are human. They have bad days. There must be rules to keep them from kicking random butt.

Why don't people get this?

Liberal Justice said...

I agree 100% that there need to be rules. We can't live in a police state. It was Ignatieff who said, "To defeat evil, we may have to traffic in evils: indefinite detention of suspects, coercive interrogations, targeted assassinations, even pre-emptive war." So yes, the Toronto Police had to traffic in a few evils, but everything was well within the law.

Liberal Justice said...

Let me take back "everything" because I'm sure someone will find something that was exactly kosher. But overall they performed admirably.

Anonymous said...

I think calls for Toronto's Chief Blair resignation at this point is ill advised and a knee jerk reaction.
Yeah, because we like our chief of polices to make shit up such as the 5m law....

For that alone he should be fired. It undermines public trust that the man will uphold the law and not to what he pleases.

Blair has been a blessing,(crime down)
Crime is down everywhere... (about to go up with the Connies but that is something else).

And of course, this cost 1 billion dollars (I'm sure more)...

No wonder Paul Wells call it a Conservative-Liberal coalition....

fern hill said...

Oh. 'Liberal' as in Liberal leader Ignatieff 'Torture Lite'???

I think I'm outta here. Twisty brains live here.

Hiya, Cherniak WTF.

Karen said...

Cherniak_wtf, you are agreeing with Liberal Justice. Touché.

Do you know a thing about Blair? To have this guy in TO is something. Look at our history with Chief's of police. Awful. He's not.

I'm asking the same questions you are, I just refrain from passing judgement without fact.

Karen said...

Liberal Justice, if you are going to quote people, first, understand what you are quoting, second, use it in context.

You really have no idea what you are speaking of, but thanks for propping up the Conservative pap....I mean, there just aren't enough of you...cough

Fillibluster said...

"I won't be shedding a tear over what happened to people over the G20 summit. The police did exactly as they should have"

Really. You blow my mind. A few vandals trash a few stores and torch a few bait cars and you're ok with people being rounded up en masse and put in metal cages where they have to beg for water for 12 hours. Innocent people. Begging. For water.

Anonymous said...

Hi, KNB!

My problem with all this is the claim that there can exist such a thing as a "secret law". In a democracy, how can you arrest people for violating a law that was not published? If it's not published, it's not a law. McGuinty should apologize for claiming that he has the power to create such an abomination, regardless of whether he actually did so in this case.

As (weak) proof that it was the PM twisting everyone's arms behind the scenes that made them forget all about the Charter, look no further than Hudak, who DOESN'T want this matter investigated! Now why in the world would an opposition leader not want his opponent investigated, deservedly or otherwise?

Unknown said...

Well written and fair article.

IMO, what we need answers on is who was in charge. Clearly police breached our rights, either they did it on their own and need that exposed, or more likely, someone higher up directed it.

To have McGuinty go into hiding, Harper not even acknowledge what was unleashed on our city for the sake of his party is total lack of accountability. At least Miller stuck up for the victims of vandalism but he too didn't stand up for his beloved "Torontonians". Who will stand up for what's right?

As far as I can tell, $1B++ was spent to protect a fence and its contents. Toronto got the shaft, and that's before the police went off on Sunday.

Investigate it now, protect our rights, and give us the truth about who called the shots. Then, whomever that was can resign, or get voted out in the next federal election. All I want is the truth.

Liberal Justice said...

You guys are out to lunch! The Internet sure brings out the nut cases. Yes we need to keep the police in check but if anyone really thinks there were any serious violations you're not going to see any uncovered. The police acted as they were suppose to. I don't know of ANY political leaders coming to your side. This is just wacky left wing stuff that even Layton doesn't support. We should be focusing on the boondoggle of overspending for this summit. Instead, some wackos want to focusing on police brutality ... that doesn't exist. We can be proud of what the police did in containing the terrorists and violent protestors!

Fred from BC said...

Chrystal Ocean said...

Another concern... Most journos and others appear to be ignoring Harper's role in all this.

That would be because the journalists and reporters all know that he had *nothing at all* to do with the security arrangements. Being the Prime Minister, he was thoroughly occupied with the business of the G8/G20 meetings. And by all accounts (domestic and international) those meetings were quite successful.

RuralSandi said...

So quick to chop heads it seems. Chrystal Ocean has a good point. Wasn't there an issue about a private security firm and a license in Ontario?

Blair is an easy target right now. I'd like to know just exactly how much say he really had in the whole thing.

Was it the Feds and the RCMP that were really in charge?

There are two sides to every story. My neighbour's daughter was down there (re environment) and was really upset. She heard so-called good protesters planning to taunt the police, one saying "let's get them". She was also upset at how they rudely taunted women police, calling all sorts of horrible names and sexist comments just to try to get them going.

We only hear the bad, it makes for good newsy stuff.

I think it should be a Federal inquiry.

Face it, Harper would love to get rid of Blair - remember long gun registry?

Blair has been an excellent police chief and I find it strange that things would change that suddenly.

Instead of acting like lynch mobs, perhaps we should get to the truth, then decide.

Good to see you back by the way.

Skinny Dipper said...

I can't speak on behalf of those arrested. If I had been arrested, I would be demanding an inquiry and suing the police and governments for compensation for an illegal arrest. I would, however, hold out a carrot by stating that with an inquiry, a possible settlement for compensation may be reached. Without an inquiry, I would be going for a full court hearing and court compensation. That would also include not having any "confidentiality clauses" for compensation. Canadians would know how much would be compensated. With an inquiry, the total compensation for most of the 900+ arrested could be about 13 or 14 million (based on the compensation in Pittsburgh). Without an inquiry, the compensation could be about 90-100 million dollars.

Liberal Justice said...

Let's first see if there WERE any illegal arrests. If there were almost none then enough with the non-sense talk of an inquiry already - they cost a bloody fortune. Every time the government does something somebody doesn't like there's whining for an inquiry. There isn't any factual evidence that an inquiry is necessary in this case. And rural sandi makes an EXCELLENT point, the Toronto Police Chief is a supporter of the long-gun registry. So let's not go chopping his head of already. What gets me the most upset is people saying he lied and should therefore be fired. He DID NOT lie. He said he was misinformed about the legislation. People really should read the regulation and legislation that applied in this case and you can see how this mistake happened. It's hardly something someone should be fired for. We've TOTALLY lost our message about how this was a billion dollar boondoggle and Harper is now actually coming off looking good!

RuralSandi said...

Compensation - hmmm, I think that's what it's about. Use it to make some money.


It should be about justice, not profit making

Fred from BC said...

Liberal Justice said...

And rural sandi makes an EXCELLENT point, the Toronto Police Chief is a supporter of the long-gun registry. So let's not go chopping his head of already. What gets me the most upset is people saying he lied and should therefore be fired. He DID NOT lie. He said he was misinformed about the legislation.

Then he must also have been 'misinformed' about the complete ineffectiveness of the gun registry, since he repeated the same tired old lies about it "saving lives" and "being a crucial tool for police" and "being accessed 14,000 times a day" (that last one is *almost* true, but not quite).

Anyone that 'misinformed' almost borders on incompetence, don't you think?

Liberal Justice said...

Well if those are lies those are the lies that the Chief of Police Association have endorsed. The facts are solidly behind the registry, unless of course you include the nonsense rhetoric of the yahoos and Reformatories.

Karen said...

Liberal Justice, Fred tends to think anything he doesn't agree with are lies.

Facts are facts, but sadly facts don't mean a thing to some. Indeed the point raised by Sandi is a good and interesting one.

Few opp's agree with the Hoeppner bill and those in parliament who do, don't do it for the reasons she espouses. Ignatieff's concessions to registry seem to sate the LPC members who voted and I hope the NDP gets it's act together.

Blair could be the fall guy and imo, at this point, that would be a shame.

Karen said...

To all who have commented, thank you. I think it's an important discussion and one I'd like to keep up.

I'll continue to post on the matter as I learn new information, but until then, feel free to keep the discussion going.

Sandi, thank you, and it's good to see you again too.

Dame said...

Facts are : the police Did not engade when the black Bloc was in a rampagne Did the actually Confront any of those "thugs" ???
did they actually detained them?//
NOOOOOOOO It stinks!
Don't Forget The RCMP made Harper as PM !!!
Of Course Not all the RCMP or the Police force are Guilty But there is a part what does dirty works...

Dame said...

Sorry For the numerous spelling Typing mistakes ... I am out Of my Mind...