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.
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.
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