Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Demagoguery is Alive and Well in the Ontario 'Progressive' Conservative Party

As a guest columnist in the Toronto Sun, using demagogic rhetoric reminiscent of his mentor, former Premier Mike Harris, Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak amply demonstrates why he and his party are not ready to form the next government in Ontario. I have bolded certain parts of the following to underscore his inflammatory appeal to the extreme right wing of his party's supporters as he conveniently casts aside any consideration of Charter Rights, as if those rights should be available only to those with whom he agrees. Indeed, the perceptive reader will notice that not once does he address the violence perpetrated on peaceful protesters unjustly arrested and incarcerated, instead concentrating only on those who committed crimes, their actions somehow justifying everything the police did.

His final paragraph, you may notice, is rich in irony, likely unintentional.

Don’t blame cops for G20 mayhem

It wasn’t frontline police officers who smashed storefront windows and torched police cars

By Tim Hudak, Guest Columnist

The downtown core of Toronto was turned into a conflict zone by a group of lawless hooligans a little more than a week ago.

These reckless thugs were not in Toronto to protest a legitimate political cause. Instead they are part of a circuit of criminals who travel to international summits with one goal in mind — to destroy property, incite mayhem and terrorize law-abiding citizens.

Sadly, in the wake of the violence, a number of usual-suspect special interest groups are attempting to pin blame, not on the hooligans, but instead on our police services or the federal government.

But it wasn’t frontline police officers who spent a weekend smashing in storefront windows, and it wasn’t federal government officials who torched police cars.
Instead these were the acts of violent anarchists, with a long history of using “peaceful” protest marches at international summits as cover for reckless acts of extreme violence.

That is why I oppose the orchestrated attempt by these activists to demonize our police services in the wake of the G20 violence. I proudly stand behind the men and women of our police services that were faced with a daunting and difficult task of protecting the public against these professional vandals and hooligans.

After a week of silence on the G20, I hope Dalton McGuinty will join me in clearly supporting our men and women in uniform.

McGuinty should also have the courage to finally explain why his government passed a secret law to expand police powers during the G20 summit. I believe the public would have understood the necessity of these new powers to contain the violent thugs, but that does not mean McGuinty had the right to hide these new powers from the public.

We all know Ontario’s police officers have two fundamental responsibilities:
First, they are expected to preserve order and protect law-abiding families and businesses from criminal activity.

Second, they are expected to bring those responsible for criminal acts to justice.
It is on this second responsibility that we should now focus our attention.

We must make sure the thugs and hooligans who trashed downtown Toronto are held accountable for their crimes. The right to speak must never be confused with the right to vandalize property that tarnishes the reputation of our city and province.

The McGuinty government must do everything in its power to ensure the criminals behind this violence are caught, tried to the fullest extent of the law and held personally financially responsible for the cost of the damage they have caused.
In addition, the authorities should co-operate with any resident or business that wishes to pursue a civil action against the individuals and groups responsible for this violence.

In the meantime, the senior levels of government should establish a fund to compensate small business owners for property damages and the interruption of business caused by repairing the damages.

The hooligans behind the G20 violence gave our city a black eye on the world stage. We must not let special interest sideshows distract our attention from holding these criminals accountable for the harm they caused.

Now is the time for us to reclaim the reputation of our city and make it clear to the world that in Toronto, law-abiding citizens get protected, criminals get punished, and justice always gets done.

— Hudak is Ontario PC
Party Leader

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