By Doug Draper
Ontario’s Ombudsman Andre Marin will release his promised report this December 7 on controversies surrounding the way security forces dealt with demonstrators around the G20 summit in downtown Toronto last June.
Last July, Niagara At Large broke the story of John Pruyn, a Welland resident, federal government worker and part-time farmer, who had his artificial leg pulled off by police before he was arrested and kept in a makeshift cage for two days before being released without any charges.
Enough stories like Pruyn’s made it to the Ombudsman’s office to trigger a special investigation, the results of which will be released by Morin at a news conference at Queen’s Park this coming Tuesday.
You can watch the media conference live at 1 p.m. on December 7 by locking on the Ombudsman’s Twitter account at www.twitter.com/Ont_Ombudsman.
In the meantime, two Niagara MPPs, Welland riding NDP critic Peter Kormos and St. Catharines riding MPP and Ontario’s minister of community safety and correctional services had an exchange on G20 security in the provincial legislature this December 1. We include the hansard of that discussion below.
Ontario Legislature, Dec. 1, 2010 From Hansard
G20 SUMMIT Mr. Peter Kormos: To the Premier: With more disturbing accounts of police brutality during the G20 summit, Chief Blair in denial and the peculiar instance of the SIU reopening their investigation into allegations of excessive force right here on the grounds of this Legislature, with so many troubling questions still unanswered and more arising each day, when will the Premier finally agree that the only way to clear the stench is through a full public inquiry into the events surrounding the G20?
Hon. Dalton McGuinty: To the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services.
Hon. James J. Bradley: It was interesting to note that the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, in fact, weighed in on this particular subject. What they said is, “What is needed is a comprehensive review that can examine the decisions and policies of all of the actors involved in the G20. The G20 was a federal summit, hosted by the federal government, policed by a federal security agency and paid for by federal funds. The federal government is therefore best suited to coordinate such an inquiry….” It would be useful if the member were to speak to his federal colleague in the House of Commons to direct that particular question to the Prime Minister or to whatever minister in the federal government it would be most appropriate to direct it to, but that is the conclusion of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Supplementary?
Mr. Peter Kormos: We’re talking about police who are mandated by provincial legislation to perform their duties. We’re talking about a Public Inquiries Act that is provincial legislation. We’re talking about a situation that is entirely within the jurisdiction of this government, around which to call a public inquiry: excessive force, brutality, illegal arrests by Ontario police officers, blatant disregard of fundamental rights by Ontario police officers, damage done to local businesses. People have serious questions about what happened during the G20 summit, and for that matter, what happened in Premier McGuinty’s cabinet when they passed their fake regulation, and these people aren’t getting any answers. The hodgepodge of narrowly focused investigations won’t cut it. Why does the Premier continue to ignore the call for a public inquiry by this government in this province and in this city?
Hon. James J. Bradley: I have a great deal of respect for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and their recommendation, but let me inform the member, as I think he knows, of what inquiries are going on at this time. First of all, the Toronto Police Services Board announced that it is leading an independent review, with an eminent justice at the head of that review; the Office of the Independent Police Review Director announced that it is conducting a systematic review; the Ontario Ombudsman is conducting an investigation into the specifics of the G20 regulation; and Justice McMurtry will be reviewing the Public Works Protection Act, a World War II-era piece of legislation. Justice McMurtry’s review is moving forward in this exercise to determine the best use of this legislation in 2010. There are several specific reviews of a provincial nature going on at the present time. The member may want to ask his federal. …
(Visit Niagara At Large at http://www.niagaraatlarge.com for more news and commentary on matters of interest and concern to residents in our greater binational Niagara region.)