If you’re in Toronto this weekend and happen to be in the area of the G20 summit, be aware that the Ontario Liberals have decided to take a big ol’ steamer on the concept of democracy and it could cost you some money and some freedom.
Regulationspassed quietly with no debategive police the power to demand identification and purpose of visit from anybody who gets within 5 metres of the secured area. And if the police aren’t happy with the answers you give them or if you choose to remain silent, you can be searched, arrested, fined $500, detained and possibly sent to prison for 2 months.
I realize Toronto has a Chinatown, but there’s really no reason to make those people feel like they’re back home by ripping a page out of the real China’s policy handbook. This is Canada, we have rights here, and I personally count standing peacefully near a fence I paid a billion dollars for among them.
I have no faith, in spite of Sgt. Tim Burrows of the G8/G20 Integrated Security Unit telling us that these powers won’t be abused.
“The public has nothing to fear with this legislation and the way the police will use this legislation,” he says. “It really comes down to a case of common sense and officer discretion. If you’re approaching that fence line, we want to know why.”
It’s the common sense and officer discretion parts that worry me. Nothing to do with this summit has had anything to do with common sense, and I’ve seen far too much police misconduct to believe that there won’t be at least a few bad apples in the bunch that will take the opportunity to bully people without fear of repercussions.
And on the subject of without repercussions, try this on for size.
The regulation also says that if someone has a dispute with an officer and it goes to court “the police officer’s statement under oath is considered conclusive evidence under the act.”
I’m not sure how you read that, but to me it sounds like no matter what I say, even if I’m telling the God’s honest and the guy in the uniform is making things up as he goes, I’m fucked. What’s the point of even having a court system at that point?
these new powers became law last Monday and will only be in effect until this coming Monday, but that’s a week too long. I’m all for arresting the professional protesters who are just there for something to do, to get themselves on TV and for no other reason than to cause trouble. But being able to harass people for the crime of just standing there? That’s wrong, and not how things are supposed to be done in this country.