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War of the PR campaigns

Banner on TORONTONAMO site.

Interesting to listen to the battle for the minds of Canadians being waged by, in one corner, the Harperites, Queen’s Parks and the T.O. cops… and in the other corner, the activist groups, community groups and individual Canucks.

At issue – did the cops step over the line during the Gee-Score protests?

As with most of these issues, the truth likely lies somewhere in betwixt and between. While I am sure that, cops being cops, some did get too rough, covered their badges and name tags, and acted as agents provacateurs. No doubt. And there is video evidence of this.

I posted a vid of a little lady blowing bubbles in the direction of the line of cops where one guy about 56 times bigger than her was being a real asshole and harrumphing that she would be charged with assault if one of the bubbles landed on the big guy. Then the vid cuts to the bubble blower being loaded into a van.  Yeah, I know the what-happened-in-between was edited out, but my point was that some members of the security forces were getting way overboard and letting their power go to their already inflated heads.

As for the demonstrators? For sure some of them went waaaaay over the line too. There is no excuse for vandalism and violence. As a pacifist, I believe that protests need not be violent and more sympathy can be garnered for the “cause” if one demonstrates civility. I personally despise those who destroy for whatever the cause may be.

But – and again, there is video evidence – the vast, VAST majority of the protesters were indeed civil. They didn’t throw things aside from epithets. They stayed within the rules. They acted civil. BUT, this god behaviour was not respected in several instances where the police broke up – often violently – groups that were clearly not doing anything wrong. They were exercising their right to freedom of expression and assembly.

As The Clash said:

Know your rights
These are your rights
Know these rights

Number 3

You have the right to free
Speech as long as you’re not
Dumb enough to actually try it.


Soap gets in the eyes of a gee-score security a**hole…

OK. I know that some of you are all… ohhhh… poor, poor cops having to put up with raging anarchists with rocks and stuff…

But bubbles? Yes, bubbles.

C’mon. Really.

Just another example of how far dudes wearing uniforms will push it to the limit just because they have a uniform, a Mylar vest, a Taser and a big gun.

Things haven’t changed that much since the ’60’s and Ohio State, have they? And still there are those so-called “reasonable people” who defend their actions in the name of public peace and security.

Detergent in their eyes? Shit, man.

I hope there’s a public inquiry and these morons are taken to task.


Police State well underway – and Friday miscellany too!

This does NOT give me warm and fuzzy feelings…

‘The public has nothing to fear with this legislation and the way the police will use this legislation. It really comes down to a case of common sense and officer discretion.’— Sgt. Tim Burrows of the G8/G20 Integrated Security Unit

The Ontario Legisl;ature passed, without debate, a special piece of legislation called the Public Works Protection Act. It gives the right for security jackboots to search anyone who comes near the Gee-Wow-Fence.  Police, at their discretion, can deny access to the area and “use whatever force is necessary” to keep people out. And those who refuse to provide the cops with their identity or reason for being there can be fined a few hundred bucks… but here is the kicker:

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.”

Say what? This means that the accused is denied the right to a fair hearing, does it not? The police can lie all they want (like the RCMP did in the Robert Dziekanski case) and get away with it.

True, the special powers expire when the summit is over, but from the 21st to the 28th, Canadians will be subject to the same limitations on their freedom as did the East Germans before the Wall came down.

Friday thoughts…

1. Why are there still parents who, despite all of the risks, drive around a busy city with their little kids perched in the front seat or on their lap? I saw this twice this morning? Is this not child endangerment?

2. Why do many male teens who wear ball caps keep the sticker on the brim and not tear it off?

3. My posts about the Great Quake of 2010 garnered just shy of 2200 hits on the 22nd and another 250 yesterday… a new record for a single post! Yay me!

4. Again on the Quake – it was interesting to see how folks reacted when it happened. A few freaked out. A few were confused about what exactly was going on. And some, like one of my colleagues just down the hall, didn’t even notice the quake. I’ve also heard stories about geese feeding on the shore suddenly heading to the water, cats that hi-tailed it to the basement and dogs running in circles. I think there is something primal in all creatures that kicks in when the earth moves.

5. The World Cup is pretty exciting, eh? France and Italy both get knocked out (YAY!). I’m looking forward – and with dread – to the England/Germany clash on Sunday. Wayne Rooney is going to have to be a lot better if the 3 Lions have a chance in this one!


The folly of Harper’s fences

And the sign said anybody caught trespassing would be shot on sight
So I jumped on the fence and yelled at the house, Hey! what gives you the right
To put up a fence to keep me out or to keep mother nature in
Signs – 5 Man Electrical Band

Almost complete are the conversions of two different Ontario communities into armed fortresses that would make even Kim Il Jong blush.

Huntsville and Toronto are very, very different types of communities – aside from the fact that many from the latter like to spend their summers in and around the former – the two are as different as night and day. Small town Ontario versus the Big Smoke. Urban versus rural. Natural environment versus built environment.

But over the next little while, these two communities have something very much in common. Something that up until recently, would have been unthinkable in the country.

They are full-fledged, razor wired, jack-booted police states.

I mean, what else can you call them?

Both are ringed with a 3 metre high fence that will be defended by fully armed and outfitted police officers recruited from the RCMP, OPP and the Metre Toronto boyz and girlz in blue. They have been specially trained in the use of anti-riot weapons like water cannons, sonic cannons, tasers, whips, batons, big guns, small guns, tear gas and effective noogy giving.

At first, the chattering was all about the threat of terrorism and hence the need for massive security.  Since terrorism is no longer a “threat”, we should not be too surprised that Day and the other Harperites are now characterizing all protesters as “anarchists and thugs”.  Thus the reason for this incredible and unprecedented armed presence on the streets of T.O. and in the bush around Huntsville. The ReformCons have to say something to warrant the ONE BEEL-LEE-ON dollars being spent on the establishment of the police state.

Sure, there will be some protesters in Toronto (there may be some in Huntsville too, but the main throng will be where they can garner the most media coverage) who are not there to exercise their democratic rights of free expression and assembly in a peaceful and meaningful way. There will be those who are there simply to cause trouble, mayhem and madness and to damage property.

But surely they can be identified fairly quickly and dealt with in an appropriate way? There are, like, thousands of cops and other security personnel, after all! They don’t do advance reconnaissance to identify individuals who may pose a threat? There isn’t a list somewhere?

I find that hard to believe.

Nope – the powers-that-be WANT disruption so they can point to it and say:

“We told you so! All of that money spent on fences, cops, cannons and razor wire was so WORTH it!”

The folks that I do feel sorry for are those in Huntsville and T.O. for whom this whole thing is a nightmare of epic proportions. I even feel sorry for the Bay Street lawyers!

Naw. That’s going too far.

I’ve been keeping an eye on the Torontoist – which is keeping a running tab on what the Gee-Score is ruining or making a mess of.

I’m sure everyone is thanking you, Stevo! From the tourism operators in Muskoka to the LCBO employees in downtown Toronto. Thanks a BILLION!

And all for a photo op…

Well, how is this for a photo op?


The Parry Island folks I knew woulda been pissed…

Sorry, but having grown up with folks of surnames like Pegahmagabow, Tabobondung, King, Rice, Partridge, Nanibush and others… I think this sorry attempt at a politically correct attempt at being inclusive would be chuckled at.

I don’t pretend to be an expert or even a knowledgeable person when it comes to land claims, treaty rights and all the rest. But I did know quite a few of these folks while growing up in the area and they wanted nothing more than to be respected and given the same opportunities as those of us who lived off the Island.

“I knew that we wouldn’t be involved with the G8,” Tabobondung said in an interview this week at the band office on Parry Island, across a single-lane bridge from Parry Sound.

“But I thought, ‘This is part of our traditional country. Our ancestors are still there – we should celebrate that.’”

The 39-year-old chief says guidance came from his grandmother, Chief Flora Tabobondung, who passed away four years ago at the age of 86. Flora was a legendary figure in Canadian first nations, one of the chiefs chosen to go to England in 1982 when the Constitution was being repatriated, one who fought for aboriginal presence at the constitutional table and who subsequently was named to the Order of Canada for her work.

Flora was the Grandmother of an old friend with whom I went to undergrad. I studied Politics and she, Native Studies. I think Shane is her brother. But the name is widespread across the Island and he may be a cousin.

In any case, Canada’s distant heritage is often an afterthought for the main political parties – as much a bother that has to be attended to than anything else.

But I saw the discrimination, the prejudice and the addiction problems with that part of the population in my hometown.

And it’s too bad that Obama et al are getting an oh-so-sanitized view of a very old story in a part of the world I still call my hometown.


How much the Gee-Ate and Gee-Score is costing us…

There are some busy little Grits out there working on stuff like the counter I just embedded to the right…

Kudos where kudos are due…

Thanks to Scott for pointing this out.