The Public Works Protection Act, as Orwellian a name as I've heard since coming to Canada, gives enormous power to police, to be used at their own discretion, or lack thereof.
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association tells us that the Act allows the
power to search without warrants, obligation of visitors to state name and purpose of the visit, power to deny entry. Most of these powers contradict current constitutional safeguards. The Regulation, which was not announced and has appeared on e-laws, will be published in its regular form on July 3rd 2010.
These unconstitutional, fascist powers, which supposedly apply only along the border of the Great Security Fence now standing in Toronto's downtown core, took effect Monday. In other words, by the time we, the people, were informed of them, the rules were already in effect. It was too late to seek a court injunction or to protest them or to speak to our elected representatives about them.
Tim Burrows, spokesperson for the "G8/G20 Integrated Security Unit" that is charged with keeping Our Lords and Masters safe from angry peasants, reassures us that the peasantry should not be afraid. "The public has nothing to fear with this legislation and the way the police will use this legislation," said Burrows.
Whew! Thanks, Tim! We all feel so much better now. Please continue to trample on our rights!
In fact, "two or three" arrests - Tim's not sure how many - have already been made under the new law. And you see, everything is fine. Ask this man. He was arrested and left in a wire cage for the crime of walking around.
The regulations state that anyone who comes within five metres of the Great Security Fence must give police their name and state the purpose of their visit.
Police can deny anyone access to the area.
Police can search anyone who approaches the fence.
Police can use "whatever force is necessary," at their own judgement and discretion, to keep people out.
The Canadian Labour Congress and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association were in court yesterday, seeking an injunction against the use of ear-destroying "sound canons" against protesters. This morning the suit was dismissed.
This CBC story says, "Protesters worry the devices can cause long-term hearing damage". Wrong. Protesters know the devices can cause long-term hearing damage, damage to internal organs and brain damage. But hey, if they're good enough for the US military to use against Iraqis, they're good enough for the Integrated Security Unit to use against Canadian citizens.
LRADS don't cause hearing damage. And tasers are non-lethal weapons. Just ask Zofia Cisowski.
Up in Huntsville at the G8, nothing spells police state like the detention of reporters. A Canadian Press reporter was detained because he was carrying a gas mask and body armour, which he needs because of the people who are detaining him.
Before I opened the trunk of my car, there were two officers scanning my vehicle from the outside.
Once the lid was opened, and the contents of the trunk revealed, uniformed police seemed to come out of every corner.
Two more police officers. Then four more. Three taking notes. Then another.
Two more still began to rifle their way through the entire car, looking curiously at my half-eaten bagel and the bottle of wine I bought as a thank you gesture to my friend and Huntsville resident for letting me stay at his place for a couple of nights.
While one stood guard over me, presumably for my own safety, officers from the Ontario Provincial Police crime unit descended on the vehicle.
Then, the G8 security task force sent in their people. More uniforms took notes.
"Of course, we are very curious about why you are carrying body armour and a gas mask in your car," said a female officer who asked not to be identified in the media. In fact, no one could be identified. For security reasons, of course.
All standard equipment issued by my employer for covering demonstrations that could get out of hand, I assured them.
Seems my assurances weren't good enough.
"What is your supervisor's name?" one officer asked.
"We'll need to speak with him," said another.
They called Scott White, editor-in-chief of The Canadian Press, to confirm that our reporters are issued safety equipment like gas masks and vests. But that apparently wasn't enough to get me through.
Soon, a helicopter was hovering overhead.
Then came the bomb-sniffing dogs.
I was still being detained, nearly two hours after being pulled over. And I was growing only slightly aggravated by the lengths to which they were going to interrogate a reporter.
I saw a story. So I asked that I be allowed to videotape my interrogators.
"You can't do that," said one moustached officer.
"We have protocols, and you wouldn't want to put us in danger, now would you?"
Soon I was moved behind a large metal mesh fence, again "for your own security."
And another thing: where has our billion dollars gone? "G20: Canada’s billion-dollar summit mystery".
Part I of G20 insanity here.
Save Our Civil Liberties: Oppose The PWPA on Facebook.
Sign the petition to oppose the Public Works Protection Act.