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July 17, 2010

G20 Afterthought: Officer Bubbles + Stephen Harper

CANADA - We're still learning more about what happened during the G20 summit in Toronto, especially about the ridiculous police presence and arresting civilians who were doing very little that is noteworthy.

For example in the video below 52nd Division officer Const. Adam Josephs threatens to arrest a G20 activist for blowing bubbles. The activist, Courtney Winkels, says she was talking with the female officer when Josephs walked over from about seven metres away — “totally out of range of the bubbles” — to stand in front of her and threaten arrest. He deliberately went out of his way to stand in front of her and then make the threat.



“I was both shocked and confused, but I complied and put the bubbles away,” says Winkels.

Since then "Officer Bubbles" has been making derogatory statements about the public on his Facebook profile, which has since been made private and he is no longer answering phone calls from the press. Police officers who resent the public is not a new phenomenon. The high stress job has been known to cause officers to lose their temper, become violent and go to ridiculous lengths trying to assert their authority. Mini Mussolinis essentially. The "Officer Bubbles" incident even spawned a video cartoon:



Meanwhile new protests against the police overstepping their own laws are being organized. Many of the activists are expected to bring bubbles.

And while we are at it, why is Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty getting all the slack for the G20 presence? The OPP wasn't even involved, everything was the Toronto Police Dept., who were on orders from Stephen Harper. There was the Provincial regulatory change that would have allowed Toronto police to arrest anyone within 5 meters of the security fence, but that turned out to be just a rumour... and frankly besides the point. Toronto police were arresting people who were whole city blocks away. Nowhere even near the security fence.

Meanwhile Stephen Harper is getting away Scot-free and is avoiding the whole G20 topic as much as he can. So far Harper has managed to escape the G20 fallout, with Dalton McGuinty taking a lot of the blame for things he had little or no control over.

It was Stephen Harper who decided the Canadian G20 summit would be in Toronto.

It was Stephen Harper who allocated $1.2 billion to G20 security and building retrofits (ie. the fake lake).

It was Stephen Harper who apparently wrote a black cheque for the summit and ignored attempts to control spending.

It was Stephen Harper who invited the leaders of 34 countries and over 10,000 delegates to the summit... such numbers were probably not needed.

It was Stephen Harper who approved of and helped plan many of the security measures.

It was Stephen Harper who decided that they're not going to reveal what the $1.1 billion spent on security alone would actually be spent on.

Yet it is the City of Toronto which will be hit with lawsuits for lost business, destroyed property, over a thousand unwarranted arrests and ensuing lawsuits and hundreds of allegations of police brutality. It is Dalton McGuinty who is currently receiving the political fallout, which he frankly doesn't deserve.

Three weeks after the summit Stephen Harper is still mum on the topic, except for his praising of the G20 police. Praising them! (I am sure Hitler praised the gestapo during his time in power too.) Meanwhile Stephen Harper is now on vacation, visiting the Calgary Stampede.

All while opposition MPs earlier this week tried to launch hearings and inquiries into the G20 policing, especially that bloated budget which has yet to be explained. Harper has a lot to answer for.

Hearings and inquiries are going forward on the municipal and provincial levels and the RCMP are doing their own investigation in police brutality reports, but Harper's refusal to allow a federal inquiry suggests he has something to hide.

Central to all of this is the concern amongst some Canadians that Canada is becoming a police state: A country ruled by the police and the military. That is a very serious concern because it represents a taking away of freedoms Canadians have enjoyed up to this point. The right to be arrested with due cause. Innocent until proven guilty. Not police officers with no uniforms attacking civilians with batons. Not officers in riot gear shooting crowds of chanting civilians with rubber bullets. Not spraying young women with pepper spray for the crime of trying to walk home near the police line.

And certainly not arresting them for something as simple as blowing bubbles.

1 comment:

  1. Cut the Billion dollar Toronto police budget.

    Policing like this we don't need, and its costing way too much for too little value.

    ReplyDelete

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