Green party leader Elizabeth May joins calls for public inquiry on G20 security

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      Elizabeth May wants to know why police didn’t step in and stop black bloc activists from smashing windows and torching cop cars during the G20 summit protests in Toronto.

      The leader of the Green Party of Canada is also wondering whether police deployed agents provocateurs to incite protesters to damage property on June 26.

      "Were there in Toronto, under any of the various agencies—RCMP, the Toronto police, OPP, CSIS—or any other contracted security force used in G20, were any of them actively promoting vandalism? We have a right to find out,” May told the Straight by phone today (June 30) from her home in Sidney.

      That’s why the Greens’ Saanich-Gulf Islands candidate is echoing calls from Amnesty International, the Ontario New Democratic Party, and others for a public inquiry to examine the G8 and G20 security plans and the police response to the protests.

      With South Korea chairing the G20 in 2010 and planning to hold a summit in November, May said she wants an inquiry to find out why Canada was hosting the meetings at all. According to her, an inquiry could also answer why Toronto—specifically its downtown core—was chosen, and why $1.2 billion was spent on security, when other countries have spent less.

      “How much hardware is our government stockpiling to suppress citizen protest?” May asked. “I’d be interested to know that.”

      As for what went on inside the G20 summit, which took place on June 26 and 27, May asserted that world leaders failed to act on climate change and neglected to address “casino capitalism”, while prioritizing deficit-reduction targets that will most likely hurt the poor.

      May did refer to Canada’s contribution of $1.1 billion to a G8 initiative to improve maternal and child health in developing countries as “generous”. But she pointed out that amount is less than what it cost to hold the summits.

      “Canada has, I think, contaminated the issue and tainted the aid we’re providing through this quite unacceptable, to put it at a minimum; illogical; and unhelpful ideological stance that no Canadian money can go into the provision of abortion services,” she added. “That is bizarre and unhelpful, and certainly no less than the British medical journal, the Lancet, said it contravened all common sense—and it does.”

      May was in Toronto a few days before the G8 summit began on June 25, and she recalled that it was difficult to get to Union Station, a major downtown commuter hub, due to security barricades and the already heavy police presence. She remarked that authorities promoted an “atmosphere of oppression and edginess” in the city ahead of the summits.

      “I think we need to look at this textbook approach, and say, ”˜Did the over-militarization of the advance preparations increase the risks of violence?’” May said.

      The Green leader noted that she’s “very careful” about using the word violence.

      “I don’t like using violence in the context of smashing windows,” she said. “That’s vandalism. I disapprove of it entirely. I disagree with my colleagues in the movement who think we have to embrace diversity of tactics. I don’t think that Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King ever embraced diversity of tactics. They were clear about what’s acceptable in civil disobedience and what isn’t.”

      May said she’s calling on the opposition party leaders to join her in demanding that Prime Minister Stephen Harper launch a full-blown inquiry. Another question an inquiry could answer is why police abandoned the cruisers that were set ablaze, she noted.

      “I have questions that I want answered,” May said, “and I think a lot of Canadians do.”

      Riot police charge G20 protesters singing O Canada.

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      Brian O'Hallarn

      Jun 30, 2010 at 8:08pm

      Frankly, who gives a sweet dam about what Elizabeth May thinks about anything, least of all the protest, if you want to call it that in Toronto on the weekend. I admire the Police for their restraint in a situation that was not of their making. One thing for sure, the majority of the citizens of Toronto and those outside are grateful for the manner in which they conducted themselves. If the idiots who perpetrated the chaos carried this out in most European countries, they would have been assaulted and jailed. Most of the idiots were from out of Province. I am sure they are personal friends of Sid Ryan.

      Phillip Martin

      Jun 30, 2010 at 8:43pm

      Heres a Lady who has enough friends to fill a PHONE BOOTH.
      Scary stuff...WOOWOOWOOWOOWOOWOO
      Follow the herd see the new POLL that confirms that all decent Canadians CONDEMN the protest in Tronna. Another excuse for a day off work to create mayhem


      Jun 30, 2010 at 9:59pm

      Forget Elizabeth May... did you see the above video??

      WOW, For singing "O'Canada" the Riot Squad decides to attack peaceful protesters/civilians......

      Something HORRIBLY WRONG with this picture folks!!!!!!!!

      For the love of whatever you consider holy, if you think that action was justified, you really need to do some soul searching on the meaning of life!! Or, next time, just stand in front of the next riot squad in your city and sing, "Mary had a little lamb..."
      kreative kaur
      - Imagination is more important than knowledge.
      Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world." - Einstein


      Jul 1, 2010 at 8:24am

      Lizzy May's main job is to get Harpo relected so he can continue with his work of turning Canada into a religious based fascist country and a giant environmental disaster.

      Useful Idiots is term used by fascists for traitors in the progressive movement.

      Lizzie May and the Green party are the most potent tools in Harpo's election warchest.

      Chris Evans

      Jul 1, 2010 at 10:28am

      Political grandstanding.


      Jul 1, 2010 at 12:15pm

      Brian says ' I admire the police for their restraint' ...!

      What an IGNORANT misplaced comment!

      While the Black Bloc were causing staged, photo op mayhem ( a group
      of troublemakers clearly infiltrated and used by agent provocateurs as
      controlled opposition), journalists from the Guardian and Real News
      Network were viciously attacked as were many other innocent protestors
      who committed no act of violence.

      Why were the Black Bloc who it was clear had plans to be there to induce
      trouble, left alone while they were torching police cars and smashing windows but protesters who sat down with nothing more than holding their hands up in peace signs were rounded up, (many beaten) and caged for hours on end not even allowed a sip of water...

      Jonathan Y.

      Jul 1, 2010 at 12:24pm

      Methink Brian and Philip have been watching too much state sponsored

      Real anarchists (whatever one may think of them) don't wear Nike pants
      and don't have the money for matching black tops and heavy black
      shoes. They'd be more likely to wear torn up running shoes and tattered

      Do some research as to who the attempted troublemakers at Montebello
      were... caught redhanded as AGENT PROVOCATEURS. This is nothing
      new. Using agent provocateurs is a common modus operandi or tactic whether for false flag operation or other agendas.


      Jul 1, 2010 at 1:44pm

      Meanwhile Gwynne Dyer gets the Order of Canada... brown nose!


      Jul 1, 2010 at 2:27pm

      May makes some solid points - that's the only reason you'd care what she has to say, same as with anyone else. Not sure what else you're looking for, but questions of legitimacy concern ideas, not people.

      The video is interesting - it really was some pretty awful singing, but if the police were there to prevent the horrible cacophony (which I'd heartily support) you'd think they'd have charged when it began rather than immediately after. It appears offhand that they had more respect for the half-rememberd words and tones of a song than the people singing it.

      People seem to have forgotten the Stanford prison experiment and similar studies; line people up in paramilitary gear and you get what you get, regardless of who they thought they were or believed. A social primate is what it is - easily exploited.


      Jul 2, 2010 at 4:11pm

      Nice of whats-her-name to weigh in on the HST thingy issue that's only been in the news and populist for several months now.

      Sorry Greenies...bandwagon's full!