Saturday, July 03, 2010


Since the recent event in Toronto where the police made over 1,000 arrests of people unconnected with the pathetic little "riot" that the police certainly "encouraged" and perhaps set up totally there has been a growing movement for an independent inquiry about the police actions during those days. Molly's only quibble with this is that it should obviously include the political "rules of engagement" under which the police operated. This is very much a "political matter", and it would be disappointing if the result were only blame one individual in the Toronto police bureaucracy. Here's the call from the Canadian Union of Public Employees for the inquiry.

CUPE calls for public inquiry on G20
CUPE is adding its voice to a growing list of organizations calling for a public inquiry into the traumatic and excessive use of force by police and government officials during the G20 summit.

“As we approach Canada Day, it’s deeply disturbing to think that something so undemocratic and fundamentally un-Canadian has just happened in our country,” said CUPE National President Paul Moist.

“Citizens of Toronto have a right to know why they were not consulted about the security process leading into the summit. Small business owners deserve to know why their businesses were not protected, and why they are not being compensated for damages. And hundreds of innocent people need to know why they were arbitrarily searched, detained, or subject to unreasonable aggression by the police,” said Moist.

Pressure for an independent investigation has been mounting steadily this week, with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Amnesty International, opposition parties, and tens of thousands of Canadians calling for accountability from police and government officials.

The Canadian Labour Congress has issued a statement on police actions. As well, CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn and Secretary-Treasurer Candace Rennick have issued a statement on behalf of CUPE members from across Ontario – many of whom bore witness to acts of unprovoked violence in Toronto.

CUPE deplores the actions of those individuals who committed acts of vandalism during the summit protests,” said Moist. “However, the peaceful expression of dissent is a right that must be protected with vigilance. It’s the sign of a healthy democracy, and one of the bedrock values of this country.”
As I said support for an independent inquiry has been growing. Here's an item from the Canadian Labour Congress demanding same.All these calls are fair and good, and they are definitely "of benefit" whatever convinced anarchists who don't see the need to reach out to the general population may say. At the risk of repeating myself endlessly I do have to emphasize that the political directives to the police should also be investigated. If this does not happen the author of these crimes will escape unscathed. Here's the statement from the CLC.
AStatement on G20 Summit Police Actions
The Canadian Labour Congress supports the call of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and other organizations for an independent inquiry into the actions of the police during the G8 and G20 summits.

The G20 summit in Toronto on June 26 and 27 was an opportunity for us to tell our politicians that the needs of workers, of citizens, and the environment must take precedence over the greed of global finance and global corporations.

Our People First Rally on June 26 brought over 30,000 people to Toronto, to the official demonstration area at Queen's Park, and along a parade route negotiated with security officials. By all accounts – including the police – labour's rally was a peaceful demonstration with hundreds of volunteer marshals from the labour movement ensuring we had a successful event.

Unfortunately our successful and peaceful demonstration was overshadowed by the actions of small numbers of individuals unrelated to our event, who committed serious acts of vandalism.

The Canadian Labour Congress quickly and publicly deplored those actions, which undermined the efforts of labour and civil society to ensure our voices were heard.

Reports of peaceful demonstrators, exercising their democratic rights of expression and free assembly, being rounded up and detained in mass arrests are cause for concern. We are further disturbed by the revelations that the Ontario government passed in secret an amendment of the Public Works Protection Act that did not meet Canadian constitutional standards and resulted in inappropriate use of police powers to arrest and detain individuals for recognized legal activities.

It is the responsibility of our governments to ensure Canadians know exactly what transpired during this security operation, and that police will be held accountable if mistakes were made. We call on the federal and provincial governments to conduct an independent inquiry into security during the 2010 G8 and G20 summits.

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