Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Well said

Thomas Walkom rightly criticizes the actions of police in using the G20 as an excuse to make arrests that had absolutely no basis in law (resulting in this week's flood of dropped charges):
(W)hat seems increasingly clear is that in the wake of that Saturday mayhem, security authorities went over the top, expanding the very elastic provisions of the criminal code to arrest not only those who were protesting legally and peacefully but those who police thought might engage in such protests.

Hence the arrest of a uniformed TTC ticket-taker on his way to work. Hence the arrest of a 17-year-old for the crime of carrying eyewash in her backpack (police called it a “weapon of opportunity”).
In effect, what occurred at the G20 was a massive and quite possibly illegal array of pre-emptive arrests. People were picked up and charged not because they were doing anything wrong — not even because they were about to do anything wrong.

Rather they were arrested and charged because those in charge of the police found civil liberties inconvenient. Their thinking: If everyone who might conceivably cause trouble is put in jail, there can be no trouble.

It is the totalitarian’s recipe for public order. Very China. Very Zimbabwe. Not very Canada.

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