Who’s to Blame for G20 Violence?

By Tim Hudak, Ontario Conservative Party Leader

(The following column was originally printed in The Toronto Sun on July 5 under a headline that read; ‘Don’t blame cops for G20 mayhem’.  It is being posted here in its entirety with the permission of the office of Tim Hudak who, as well as being leader of the province’s Conservative Party,  is a Niagara area MPP and was a cabinet minister in the former Conservative government of Mike Harris.
Niagara At Large will be pleased to post remarks by Ontario Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty or other members of his government should anyone in the Liberal camp choose to comment publicly on the way security was handled at the recent G20 summit in Toronto.)

Exactly one week ago, the downtown core of Toronto was turned into a conflict zone by a group of lawless hooligans.

Ontario Conservative Leader Tim Hudak

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, nor was it 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 that 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 that 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 that 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.

Tim Hudak, Leader of the Official Opposition and Ontario PC Party Leader.

(Click on Niagara At Large at www.niagaraatlarge.com for more news and commentary on matters of interest and concern to residents in our greater binational Niagara region.)

6 responses to “Who’s to Blame for G20 Violence?

  1. Terry Nicholls

    And you SHALL go to the ball…..so Mr. Hudak wraps himself in righteousness and parrots the same old trite line the law-and-order junkies have always used. Funny how it escapes the notice of these people that the ones being so cruelly arrested were NOT the ones committing the serious acts of vandalism in Toronto—they were conspicuously left unmolested. After what happened at Montebello, are we so ready to accept that these “Black Bloc” members were not agents provocateurs placed precisely so as to dominate the media scene and thereby validate the insane security overkill we all ended up paying for?

    Many people who were being targeted for special treatment were journalists and ordinary folk who thought they were in compliance with the law by staying in the designated protest site at Queen’s Park and away from the security fence. The vandalism, please note, was mainly happening blocks away. The Queen’s Park folk were kettled in and told to leave the area, but as soon as they tried many were arrested for getting too close to the police line. Some were thrown to the ground, struck, and cuffed because they were carrying “weapons”—bottles of water, prosthetic legs, crutches, etc. Apparently it is not necessary to actually be trying to cause trouble for the full weight of the law to come down on one’s head. This entire exercise was obviously designed to accomplish one thing, and to do it uncompromisingly—create enough fear in the general populace of reprisal, for daring to confront unpopular government policies, to keep everyone’s head down and looking the other way when the “austerity measures” we plebs apparently need are forced down our throats by a sleek, fat, self-satisfied government who can find a billion-plus dollars to fund the weekend fiasco we enjoyed in Toronto.

    As a private citizen I am only allowed, by law, to use the minimum force necessary to defend myself against a violent attack, yet the police increasingly seem to believe they can bypass civil discourse or any rational attempt to defuse a potentially difficult situation and move straight to physical and often brutal measures against people who are not only unarmed, but who often are offering no threat or resistance at all—and they do so while loudly yelling “Stop resisting arrest”. And that’s good enough for Mr. Hudak, I guess.

    Those who follow his jaded rhetorical pap should stop for a moment and ask themselves a serious question: when the unchecked use of excessive force by armed police officers becomes passively accepted by the majority of the public, and the pool of victims expands beyond the targets people seem to believe deserve everything they get coming to them to include their neighbours, their spouses, their parents, their children, their co-workers, or anyone else who believes in their right to exercise their democratic freedoms—how long do they think it will be before they themselves have to start worrying about when the pool starts to lap at their own heels?

    I am not generally anti-police; they have a lousy job to do and get little thanks when they do it well and conscientiously—but I do wish some of them would think more often about what ” to serve and protect” means. Or perhaps I’m just naive for thinking that it refers to some duty towards the public, whose taxes pay their salaries.
    A fascist state is a very easy place in which to find oneself, and it’s reached when millions of ordinary people become inured to seeing definable others abused by the police and the military—gays, blacks, aboriginals, students, socialists, activists, Jews—believing that it could never happen to themselves because they would never run afoul of the law. Especially not by standing against the abuses and attracting attention.

    It is made even easier by slick tough-on-crime advocates like Mr. Hudak who deliberately ignore facts in order to paint a wholly distorted view of society, and ultimately to redefine what constitutes a crime in the first place. Some of us refuse to believe that we in Canada need to be afraid of each other; but after all the lethal taserings and severe beatings across this country that have been well-documented in the media in recent years, and having spoken to friends who have been completely stunned to find themselves on the wrong end of the service boot and the baton, we are beginning to see a frightening pattern of increasingly arbitrary use of excessive force by certain law enforcement personnel who evidently believe that their orders, badges, and guns put themselves beyond the law. Some of these will likely be scapegoated for the recent appalling events, but the people who should really be held to task are their government overseers at both provincial and federal levels who set up this nasty little exercise in school bully-style lesson-teaching in the first place.

    It seems we are, as a nation, being gradually dragged further and further to the Right. But we do NOT have to consent to it without a struggle, or contribute to the pull. Those who wrap themselves in the flag and support state-sanctioned misuse of power are spitting on the graves of the citizens of Canada who have died in our wars believing they were doing their part in keeping totalitarianism at bay. If we want a free country to live in, then we each bear the responsibility to protect hard-won freedoms—for all of us—from those who try to take them away.

    Or you could just go shopping or watch TV. While you’re allowed.

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  2. i agree with previous comments – agent provocateurs are being used elsewhere and have been caught here – it is blatantly obvious to anyone who cares to look…..

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  3. 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. Note 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.

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  4. William Hogg MD

    Who-dat? No! Mr. Hudak. Welcome. Very nice little writeup. It covers all the usual political bases and meets no human need. It is a big bit fatuous, but granted, you do have some moxie. So, when will you come to see that our police are less a ‘service’ than an increasing ‘force’ to most Canadians? Hope you tune in further to hear what the real grassroots people are saying.

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  5. George Jardine

    The only politician that understands the true situation is Peter Kormos who was at a protest ,he we arrested and thrown in the poky I believe he was supporting striking workers, so I know he get’s it, he’s been on the front lines.that’s why Welland loves him.

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  6. Young Hudak sounds pretty dangerous. We ought to arrest him.

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