Saturday, June 19, 2010

The G20 Summit

This past week we visited our son in Toronto, and after an enjoyable visit I was once more reminded of the restrictions being imposed due to the impending G20 conference in Ontario's capital. Because the security perimeter has already been established, we had a rather difficult time getting to the Gardiner Expressway, obstructed as it was by concrete bunker type bases anchoring the huge fences designed to keep protesters and ordinary citizens at bay. The plan is to deny access to the restricted zone unless people can produce a passport or other photo i.d. as well as a compelling reason for entry, e.g. work, having the misfortune of living in the area, etc.

The restricted zone is quite large, encompassing many hotels and businesses, all of which will lose substantial sums of money because of lost patronage during the summit. The Harper Government is on record as saying there will be no compensation offered to those affected. As well, GO trains with Toronto destinations will have all their washrooms locked up except for one for the handicapped. Travellers are being told to expect substantial delays. Let's hope the delays won't be too long, given GO's decision.

The security for the G20 and the G8 (to be held in Huntsville) combined will cost $1 billion in tax dollars, and most of the public's outrage has been directed at that outrageous amount, while it seems that something more fundamental and basic to Canadians has been virtually ignored in the press: the fact that our Charter Rights, most notably our freedom of movement, has essentially been suspended for the duration of the summit.

My question is simple: how can any democratic government simply suspend those Charter Rights under the guise of security? The thoughtful reader will doubtless understand the implications of such an action.

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