That Was the Week That Was


I posted something a little while ago that addressed my thoughts on the event; specifically, the poor choice of venue (downtown Toronto) and the amount of money (more than I will make in a lifetime).

During the event (and frankly, after), I expressed my shame at being a Canadian; this opinion was met with a lot of resistance, disbelief, and some commendable positivity. I haven’t really written anything further about it because I wanted it to settle in my mind; I wanted to learn more about what happened on all sides of this disaster, so that I could better express myself in a way that could be easily understood.

I will break down this discussion into sections, partially for my own benefit, but also so that one may follow what I have to say that much more easily…

The Protesters

It takes a lot of guts to express your opinion while armed and armoured enforcers are standing by, watching you. Of course, I’m referring to those people who were actually there to convey an actual message. Unfortunately, the messages were hard to see on all forms of media because the focus tended to be on those who were causing a disturbance.

The anarchist groups take so much away from the legitimate protesters because of their behaviour. I’m sure that most of them are intelligent people, but, one has to wonder; rampaging up and down city streets causing a swath of destruction sort of takes away from the word ‘peaceful’. And, pardon the pun, all of it tends to be not in the least constructive.

One of the many things that piqued my interest was a journalist trying to film them doing their thing; many of them were masked, but the ones that weren’t were taking offense to being filmed on camera, citing that it was a violation of their personal space. Then they would smash the front windows of a business that was as far away from being part of a national franchise as I am from the South Pole.

There were also those that were in the face of the police at all times. I understand expressing yourself, but badgering people and provoking them is not a good idea. I am honestly surprised that more of these people survived with their bones intact.

Then there were those who are sheep. They want to be cool and unique, but they don’t have the balls to do it on their own. You know the ones that I am talking about; they stand by, wishing to be part of something great, and when the first brick is thrown they decide to do what everyone else is doing and start causing problems or mouthing off. They are the first to complain when apprehended, explaining that they were merely caught up in the wave. I call them cowards.

I am ashamed of being a Canadian relative to these people because we are supposed to pride ourselves on our ability to keep an even keel. Why the destruction? Why the belligerence? We should be better than that.

The Police

I avoided being downtown for the whole week. I telecommuted, and enjoyed the peace and quiet of my basement office while others less fortunate were stopped and had their bags checked. While I respect law enforcement, there is something to be said about the effect of having so many of them in one place; not to mention the unspoken paranoia of having to protect world leaders. It is not an enviable position.

I am confused as to what was going on at some points on the weekend, but this much is clear: those in charge of this massive undertaking were taken by surprise, even though they were supposedly prepared. In fact, on the Saturday, I wonder what the plan was considering: that a rampaging mob went unchecked for a significant period of time on two of downtown Toronto’s biggest streets; police cars were left unattended in intersections, long enough to be set on fire; at least a billion dollars was spent.

The strategy for the Sunday seemed to be clear: let’s intimidate the hell out of everyone and hope that it keeps everything quiet. That’s what it seemed to me, anyway.

The sad part is that no matter how good of a job they did, the damning video footage of some of their antics is forging a path towards a public inquiry. There was much brutality and overreaction from parts of the group, leading to the injury of many innocent people.

I am ashamed of being a Canadian relative to this group because these are the folks we look to when order needs to be kept; a number of these people chose not to be respectable. There was anything but order during parts of the weekend, and the sad part is that command did not send units to disperse what was obviously a group bent on violent action without any thought. In fact, rumours are floating about that the destruction was all part of some greater plan, though what that plan could be baffles my imagination.

I feel for the good cops; the ones who do a great job and work hard, shrugging off the tantalizing lure of the behaviours they could enjoy due to their station. People will not look at them with the same level of trust and respect that they would have before.

The Government

In my opinion, our government dropped the ball on this one, and really, should be held the most accountable. By staging this meeting in an area very easily accessible to everyone, they practically handed out gilded invitations to criminals and shit-disturbers everywhere.

If you throw a party, and someone that you invited turns out to be a very negative influence, would you invite them again? If other people have thrown parties and are unlucky enough to have invited some unsavoury individuals into their homes and paid the price, would you invite those same individuals to your next party? It just doesn’t make any sense to me.

A friend indicated in my last G20 post that holding the event in a more remote location may not have been feasible from a resource standpoint. I respectfully call bullshit. I highly doubt that holding meetings of this nature in a remote location with an elite security force would really cost much more than the money that we spent on this joke. My wife has pointed out that people may still get together and cause mayhem in the closest city, but I would think that having this far from ANY urban center would make people think twice; I doubt that most people would spend the money to travel too far to cause mischief, unless they had the same conviction as those with an actual peaceful message.

In a classic my-dick-is-bigger-than-yours play, the Government has given Toronto (and I’m quoting a few writers when I type this) a “black eye”. Maybe the whole point of trashing the city was to prevent any similar future events from occurring? Perhaps that’s giving them a little too much credit.

I am ashamed of being a Canadian relative to our Government, because as our leaders they should represent our interests; they failed. In a time where money is more precious than ever, they spend like there was no tomorrow, providing many people (not from our city) with equipment that would never be used and overtime that was probably never even needed. Don’t even get me started on the fake lake.

C’est Tout

It will be interesting to see what happens in the next few months as interesting facts and stories rise to the surface of public awareness.

That’s all I really feel like typing for now. I just wanted people to know why I typed what I did before (in Twitter and so forth), and that my source of disappointment had some focus. As a Canadian, I try to be the best person I can be, and so do many other people that I know. Of that I am not ashamed.

One Response

  1. Interesting perspective, and very thorough in that you touched on all groups in a fair manner.

    Personally, I have no sympathy for a protest group (or groups) that feels the need to commit wanton destruction of storefronts, etc. and then turn around and cry, with a straight face (I assume, somewhere under the standard issue anarchy bandana-facemask), “police brutality!” when the pushback arrives. I’m all for keeping the police force in check and restraining them from overreacting (see: Dzjanski), but the G20 fiasco was a warzone of the protesters’ making. As I said, no sympathy.

    I agree with your point that the government should ultimately be held accountable. I think I heard a figure at one point that the G20 security bill will dwarf the entire budget of the 2010 Winter Games? If that’s true, that’s absolutely ludicrous. Costs should’ve been brought way down, starting with hosting the whole thing far, far away from Toronto. (Charlottetown, anyone? Or somewhere that can only be described with three synonyms for “remote”?)

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