G20: my thoughts…

26 06 2010

As I’m sure you have seen by now, vandalism ensued during the G20 conference in Toronto today: businesses were looted and/or their windows were smashed…police cars were torched… Downtown Toronto looked more like a war zone.

Let’s be clear – these are not the usual protesters in Canada. But for a few exceptions, the actual protests this afternoon were quite peaceful. This abhorrent behaviour was perpetrated by a group who acted similar to the anarchist group known as the Black Bloc. This small group of cowards put on black hoods to conceal their identities and then went on a rampage, smashing windows and vandalizing business street fronts in the city core, setting police cruisers on fire along the way. And then, when they were done some time later, they appear to have ditched their black attire to disappear once again into the crowds.

Although I’m angry at this small group of idiots for causing havoc that has nothing to do with the G20 and everything to do with causing mayhem for mayhem’s sake, I believe that the G20 conference should never have been held in Toronto in the first place.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper forced the G20 conference down Toronto’s throat. Everyone and his brother knew that the conference was a recipe for disaster after it was announced that it was being moved from Haliburton, the originally-planned site, which was determined to be too small (though the G8 was still held there).

Did Harper not realize (or not care) that the G20 is known for violent protests? His government said that G20 was going to help shine a beacon on Toronto and all it has to offer. And what happened? The area around the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the site of the conference, became, for all intents and purposes, a ghost town: a massive fence and security zone was set up; many businesses shut down; transportation services were either moved or cancelled outright; and what is normally one of the most bustling parts of Canada became silent – until a small group of thugs had their way this afternoon.

I see two possibilities: either Harper did not consider that Toronto would have to endure what happened today, which indicates that he’s incompetent to consider that holding the conference in Toronto was a bad idea to begin with. Or, he has great disdain for Canada’s largest city, knew that Toronto was going to be hit like it was today, and welcomed the idea. Otherwise, G20 would have not been held in Toronto at all.

Either way, he’s not someone who should be running Canada.

Remember today, Canada, when we go to the polls to elect the next federal government.

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