Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Brief Explanation

Although anyone who happens to read my blog on a regular basis might be wondering if I have somehow lost my balance in that all recent posts have revolved around either news stories, my own commentary or that of others regarding the violation of Charter Rights during the G20, I feel the need to offer a small explanation and justification.

First, I have an almost lifelong interest in politics, especially local, provincial, and national. The entire G20 Summit, whether we are talking about the gathering of heads of state or the actions on the street, were political in nature, in that they affect us on both a micro and macro level.

Secondly, the abuse of authority is something that has preoccupied me since my days as both an elementary and secondary student within the Catholic school system, years during which I and many others were both psychologically and physically abused by nuns, priests, and lay teachers. But that topic deserves its own series of posts, which I may get to one of these days.

The third reason for my seeming obsession with the G20 fiasco is that how we define ourselves as Canadians is in no small part contingent upon the freedoms that we enjoy and far too often take for granted. While all of them are essential rights of citizenship, several of them were curtailed and, I would submit, unconstitutionally violated during the G20 in Toronto: freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of association, and freedom of the press.

One of the things I find especially troubling is the fact that many people, while enjoying their freedom of expression, have weighed in on these violations as if their inappropriateness is dependent upon whether or not we agree with the protesters. Several have said that peaceful protesters should have stayed away, that law-abiding citizens move when a police officer tell them to move, etc. Such comments seem to indicate a fundamental lack of understanding of the concept of civil rights. Whether or not we agree with a cause has nothing to do with permitting the expression of that cause, as long as it is done within the boundaries of the law.

And that to me is the crux of the matter: there is ample evidence emerging that countless people committing no crimes were swept up in often violent mass arrests. This fact is not something to be facilely dismissed by anyone, whether you are a Premier, a police chief, a journalist or a private citizen, no matter where you stand on the political spectrum. To do so is to further diminish those rights, leaving them open to the possibility of even worse abuse in the future.

So as long as questions remain and answers are withheld, I will be writing about this topic frequently. As well, I shall continue to reproduce stories from newspapers that I think are relevant, largely because most of those stories tend to be archived after seven days and thus no longer readily available.

Enough said for now.

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