*“Public” Inquiries & the Criminality of the G20*

The Hamilton Coalition Against the G20
October 20, 2010

Given the massive public outcry against the activities carried out by the provincial and federal governments, and by the various police forces before, during and after the meeting of the G20 countries in Toronto in June, 2010, all levels of police and government have launched numerous reviews and inquiries into various aspects of this event. At present there are ten inquiries or reviews pending, underway or completed. The Hamilton Coalition Against the G20 presents for you this week, an overview of these inquiries.

Two inquiries initiated by the Toronto Police:

1) An internal police operational review called by Toronto police Chief Bill Blair (who was a member of the G20 Integrated Security Unit (ISU)), to “assess strengths and weaknesses in the police force’s G20 plans” and to better prepare for future events. The review will “examine everything we did and how we did it,” and it will “ensure that our procedures are tested thoroughly and we identify any areas that may require further examination.” This review will be done by SMAART, the Toronto Police Service’s Summit Management After Action Review Team. Blair said that its report, to be finished by September 2010, “will also benefit other law enforcement agencies in Canada and abroad.”

2) The 7 member civilian “overseer” of the city’s police force, the Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB), decided to set up an “Independent Civilian Review”. They have refused all forms of public participation in the review, including the development of its terms of reference and its leadership. The TPSB chose John W. Morden to head up this police “civilian review.” Morden will be paid $480 per hour for his services. He works for
the law firm of Heenan Blaikie, as does the Independent Civilian Review’s counsel and media point man, Ryan Teschener. This review has 35 terms of reference, prepared by Doug Hunt, lawyer and former bureaucrat in the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney-General. According to Susan Eng, former chair of the Toronto Police Services Board (1991-1995), the purpose of the reviews “is that the general public needs to feel a sense of confidence in the police.”

Four provincial reviews

Two deal with the *Public Works Protection Act*.

1) A Public Works Protection Act review, headed by Roy McMurtry (for the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services), is meant to “modernize” or update this 1939 law.

2) A review by the Ontario Ombudsman André Marin, deals with the June 2nd order-in-council to instate the “five meters from the fence” regulation “temporarily” to the Public Works Protection Act. The Ombudsman will justify the use of Rule by Decree (i.e. the method through which the five meter fence law was enacted by a small elite within the Liberal Party Government cabinet – Orders-In-Council). His draft report was completed October 9th and will be sent to the Ontario government sometime between Oct 9th and Oct 19th; once finalized it will be made public, before the end of the year.

3) The newly established Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD), Gerry McNeilly, a “watchdog” agency of the Ontario Attorney General, will review 275 public complaints made against the police during the G20 summit. The OPIRD received 164 complaints between June 27, 2010 and July 3, 2010. The office typically fields 80 complaints a week.

4) The Ontario Special Investigations Unit (SIU), which deals with incidents of serious injury or death involving police officers, is investigating 5 cases of serious injury. Police officers themselves initiated the investigations. Four incidents occurred Sat. June 26 and one occurred Sun June 27. Once the investigations are over the SIU decides whether or not to lay charges against the officers who inflicted the injuries.

Four Federal reviews/inquiries:

1) Auditor General Sheila Fraser’s audit of G8/G20 security expenditures.

2) The Parliamentary Budget Officer’s report released June 3rd, 2010.

3) The House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security will hold hearings on October 25, 27, November 3, and December 1 and 6, 2010. They will hear a maximum of 30 witnesses or groups on G8 and G20 issues. These issues include budget, role of federal government, role of the Integrated Security Unit – The RCMP led
multi-jurisdictional policing model (which the Canadian Armed Forces’ assisted in setting up). Other issues that will be addressed include why Huntsville and Toronto were chosen as locations for the two summit meetings, and what can be done to lower the costs of future summits. Between Oct. 6thand 13th the Committee MPs will decide on the list of 30
witnesses. The Harper Conservative MPs, one of whom heads the Committee, will choose 15 of the witnesses and the NDP, BQ and Lib MPS will choose the other 15.

2) 4)The House of Commons Government Standing Committee on Operations & Estimates is to investigate federal spending on the G8-G20 (spending which included militarizing Toronto and Huntsville and preparing the police to launch assaults on the people in Toronto).

In the end, the Inquiries will hold no one accountable

None of these inquiries will bring criminal charges against the police or political forces which planned and prepared to unleash violent attacks on those who exercised their right to oppose the G20 and their audacity to even meet in our country. No one will be held accountable (i.e. fired from their job, charged and imprisoned) for launching violent aggression against the G20’s political opponents. The human rights abuses, including the
restriction of civil rights, abuse of power, and the passing of laws more suitable to a police state, will go unpunished if these largely un-public inquiries are the only ones to take place.

None of these Inquiries are Independent, Public or Democratic!

It is likely that these inquiries will not call for the victims of the police’s actions (months and weeks prior to and during the G20 weekend summit meeting) to be financially or otherwise compensated for sustained mental and physical trauma, and the assault on their rights. Nor will they address the reason for the repression in the first place. Only a true Independent public inquiry with full powers could do this. Such an Inquiry would have to be discussed and developed by the citizens themselves. Only then can we begin to get real justice, real democracy, and begin to have the confidence to help abolish the G20 by taking Canada out of it.

To get involved or give your views, contact us: hamiltong20resistance@gmail.com

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