Saturday, July 3, 2010

A Mother's Lament

There is a fine letter in today's Hamilton Spectator which I am taking the liberty of reproducing below. Eloquently expressed, the writer addresses the abuses of authority that transpired in Toronto last weekend, but hers is a very personal, as well as philosophical, expression of concern over our basic rights.

Mourning Canadian democracy

July 03, 2010
Roberta McQuade
The Hamilton Spectator
(Jul 3, 2010)

Re: G20 summit and policing

The fallout from the debacle of the G20 will felt by all Canadians for some time to come. Today, I mourn the loss of my innocence, in believing I live in a democracy. I did not celebrate Canada Day. That morning at dawn, I removed all my Canada Day flags and decorations from my property.

By virtue of my profession, I travel the world. I have seen first-hand the police actions in third world countries directed at those who would "dare to speak out" and have their voices heard.

To think I would see the "trampling" of our collective rights and the right to "free speech" being discarded is devastating to me as a once proud Canadian. The actions of police in arresting and charging those who were peacefully exercising their rights is something I would expect to witness anywhere else but Canada.

The words "the true north strong and free" of our national anthem are now a mockery.
My youngest daughter was a victim of this suspension of our rights. She was arrested and charged with unlawful assembly and obstruct police. This young woman headed the largest ever contingent of university students to post-Katrina New Orleans, on a Habitat build, this young woman slept in -30C temps outdoors to highlight the plight of the homeless, this young woman volunteers with a soup kitchen. This young woman is a dedicated pacifist who would not even kill a bug.

And this young woman is the daughter of a policeman who was on G20 duty. The police officer who beat her with his/her baton would not have known that. Not everyone was an "anarchist" and armed. Some like my daughter were just there to suport their causes in a peaceful, lawful manner.

I for one will be asking the hard questions of my MPP and MP. And I will voice my outrage and "punish" those who allowed this travesty to happen by my vote in the next elections.

Nothing less than a public inquiry is in order. Canada's reputation for freedom and democracy has suffered a black eye in the court of public opinion, not only here at home, but worldwide.

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