Wednesday, 23 May 2012

The G20 Reports and a Quick Note For The Left

Nearly two years ago world leaders met in Toronto for the G20 summit. Anytime that 20 of the most powerful people on earth (and their staff) are all in one place there is a necessity for a large scale security operation. Citizens of Toronto were aware of this before the summit started as entire sections of the city were being fenced in prior to the dignitaries arrival. Joe Blow Toronto couldn't have expected what was to follow. Anyone who pays attention to world events knew exactly what to expect.

In both Pittsburgh and London there were massive protests and massive arrests. In London in particular, one protester died during a confrontation with police.

On queue, massive protests descended on Toronto, including a small portion of the Black Bloc. Police responded by arresting more than 1,100 people. Immediately following the summit there were calls for the resignation of Police Chief Bill Blair, and allegations of assault, wrongful arrest, and various breaches of Charter Rights.

This past week The RCMP Commission for Public Complaints  and The Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) released reports in review of the incidents during G20 week. In addition Byron Sonne was cleared on all charges in his case where he nearly spent a year in prison without bail. In that time he also got the gift of a divorce via letter.

After having read the majority of the two reports, it became clear that there was no shortage of Charter Rights violations two years ago. The command and control structure of our police forces played a large part in this. The officers on the front line knew what they were doing was wrong, and in some cases unlawful. They had objections, but carried their orders.

The RCMP report was released on Tuesday, and the OIRPD report was released on Thursday.

The RCMP Report

The RCMP report revealed that two plain clothed Toronto Police officers were arrested as part of the five total arrests that the RCMP completed. This was not made known to the investigator. From page 38 of the report:

During the interview, as in the arresting officers’ notes, the POU Commander did not indicate that two of those arrested were plain-clothes officers, later stating that he did not believe it to be significant. 
It was only through an inadvertent comment that the Commission was made aware of the incident. 

This wasn't the only occurrence of the investigation being mislead by officers. In reference to the incident at Queen and Spadina the investigation notes. From page 39 of the report: 

A similar response was received from the RCMP Liaison Officer in the MICC who indicated that although he was aware that there was an RCMP tactical troop at Queen Street and Spadina Avenue, he was preoccupied with the movement of resources from Ottawa to Toronto. However, an entry on the sitboard at 6:21 p.m. on June 27, 2010, states: “On June 27, 2010,  at 1818 hrs,  RCMP Supt. . . .  (MICC) updated the crowd is still at Queen and Spadina where POU units, and [Toronto Police Service] Mounted Units are monitoring.” A second entry eleven minutes later goes on to note: “On June 27, 2010, at 1829 hrs, RCMP Supt. . . . advises that the crowd is contained, ongoing extraction and arrests.” This suggests that the senior RCMP officer in the MICC was aware of the situation at the time. (...) There is an apparent disconnect between the RCMP POU Commander on the ground, who had concerns with the ordered tactic, and senior RCMP commanders, including the Liaison Officer in the MICC, who either were not aware of the ongoing situation, or were aware but did not have or did not express concern.

The RCMP investigation was limited in scope. For example, it was not within the scope of the investigation to determine what intelligence gathering methods were legal. However, it appears as though the report hinted that it might look at this anyways since there was a lack of judicial oversight in this regard. From page 30 of the report: 

Given that the resolution did not include any judicial scrutiny of whether the operations were carried out in an appropriate manner, the Commission is considering whether further review of these operations is required. 

The RCMP report revealed that RCMP officers aren't exactly forthright when being investigated.

The OIPRD Report 

If I was to include all of the relevant quotes from this report, I'd break 30,000 words in this blog. Instead, I'll point you to my Reddit post for all the quotes and page numbers to substantiate the following bullet points:

  • 186 People were strip searched with no paperwork to justify it. 
  • Young Offenders were placed in adult cells 
  • The Prisoner Processing Centre (PPC) had obvious flaws brought up previous to the summit, that were ignored/dismissed. 
  • The planing documents for the PPC said it could hold 500+ prisoners, but had no logistical reason for that. The roof partially caved in, and there was a flood of six inches of water. 
  • The mass arrests at UofT were unlawful. 
  • During the unlawful mass arrests at Queen and Spandina (including two Toronto Police Officers) Bill Blair was busy shaking hands with the President of the United States. 
  • The mass arrests at Novotel were unlawful. 
  • Officers either didn't understand, or disregarded the limits of their stop and search authority. 

This was essentially a slightly watered down version of martial law. The right to protest was trampled on, and the abuse of police powers was far reaching.

For trampling on the rights of the citizens, these officers will clearly face severe legal consequences. Actually... that's not the case. In fact, according to CBC News the worst that could happen is they lose their job:

The charges, which are not criminal, would be laid under the Police Services Act. Officers found guilty could face penalties ranging from having their pay docked to losing their jobs.  

I doubt this will satisfy the 180 people who were strip searched without any justification.

A Quick Note For The Left

Can we celebrate for a second? If we're going to get on our high horse and profess the need to have programs in place for the less fortunate/downtrodden, shouldn't we also demand that those who abuse these same systems have some kind of accountability? 

I understand why the NDP and Liberals need to scream "bloody murder" over the changes to EI. Politics was never about truth, rather perception. Mr. Flarhety's comments about needing seniors and aboriginals to work are especially easy fodder for this. Likewise, the left-leaning sheeple (yes they do exist) will follow along this same line of thinking. 

The rest of us need to get on board with the conservative government for taking steps to ensure that serial users of EI are weened off the system. Better yet, have them shocked off they system. EI is an insurance. If I was to crash my car every 8 months, I'd be paying so much in insurance that I couldn't drive, or I wouldn't be able to get insurance anymore. Our safety nets should be used by people who occasionally need them, not by people who consider them a way of life.  

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