The Green Party of Canada is calling for a public inquiry into the planning, security, and police conduct at the G8 and G20 meetings this past weekend.
Today, Green Leader Elizabeth May issued the following statement:
While all Canadians are aware that an invitation to world leaders requires of the host country a meaningful and effective level of security, the costs involved and the chaos on the streets of Toronto raise issues that deserve an impartial public response. There is no question that, for the most part, the Toronto police displayed restraint. Where we wish to raise questions, they are focused at the top of the chain of command and much less with individual officers. We cannot allow civil liberties in Canada to be further eroded. While not in any way pre-judging the answers, we believe the following questions must be answered, fully and impartially:
1) Why were Toronto civic leaders excluded from the initial planning?
2) Why was the summit held in the downtown core
3) Why was the budget so far in excess of previous summits' security costs?
4) Were policing methods inappropriate? We note that the practices employed by the Toronto police appear very similar to those of the London police in last year's G20, resulting in false arrests and charges of police brutality in the UK. One year later, charges are being dropped as juries have found alleged provocateurs to be innocent by-standers caught up in the melee. Can we learn lessons from the over-militarized approach to security and the possibility that such displays of militarized security increase the risk of violent clashes?
Can we learn from the Toronto Summit and provide advice to other governments of the best way forward to balance the needs for freedom of expression, protection of private and public property and security for the leaders themselves?
5) Were any agents of the RCMP, Toronto police, or OPP or any other security personnel used to increase vandalism while disguised as demonstrators?
6) Is it true, as reported, that officers had orders not to arrest vandals smashing windows? If so, what was the security rationale for such orders?
These are not necessarily the only questions that merit an investigation. We raise these questions and ask for an inquiry in the public interest.
Elizabeth E. May, O.C.