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‘Chief Blair’s 5 metre security zone law was so secret, it didn’t exist’

That’s a bit of snark from a Harper parody on Twitter, Pmoharper, that I found amusing, which describes this bit of obfuscation from the Toronto Chief of Police Bill Blair (which is not very amusing at all);

Police admit deliberately misleading public on expanded security fence law

Toronto’s police chief is admitting there never was a five-metre rule that had people fearing arrest if they strayed too close to the G20 security perimeter. ..the Ministry of Community Safety says all the cabinet did was update the law that governs entry to such things as court houses to include specific areas inside the G20 fences — not outside. A ministry spokeswoman says the change was about property, not police powers, and did not include any mention of a zone five metres outside the G20 security perimeter.

When asked Tuesday if there actually was a five-metre rule.. Chief Bill Blair smiled and said, “No, but I was trying to keep the criminals out.”

Even though it wasn’t accurate, the public was left to believe the province had given officers the power to demand identification and detain anyone with five-metres of the G20 site. All weekend there were reports of police stopping people throughout downtown Toronto — often in areas nowhere near the G20 zone — demanding identification and to search bags and backpacks.

The reaction to that bit of revelation from me has been best stated by Laura Payton, a reporter for Sunmedia at her twitter feed today:

‘The chief of police can’t just suspend our freedoms when he feels like it. This is completely outrageous’

In a related note, I understand from a Hill Liberal I know that the federal Liberal Party will be making a statement soon (this afternoon, I understand) on the events that transpired over the weekend, so I’ll be interested to hear their take on it. It’s been awhile in coming, but I’ve been of the suspicion they’ve been waiting until multiple events have been shown to have taken place before they react, because of the fear of being painted as “anti-police” or “pro-black bloc vandals’ if they came out too soon with a reaction.

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8 comments to ‘Chief Blair’s 5 metre security zone law was so secret, it didn’t exist’

  • Jean-Francois Johnson

    Well Ignatieff issued his release and he did not criticize the police tactics. Indeed he praised the Toronto Police and said there should have been more security measures in place. You’re attacking the wrong points, Scott. Ignatieff laid out the case for why Harper failed on this file and that’s what we should focus on. You can’t deal with hoods like the Black Bloc without infringing on civil liberties. Ignatieff understands this and knows that there must be a balance, heck he wrote a whole book on basically this topic – and was praised for it. And the Liberals haven’t been waiting to see which way the wind is blowing, for those juvenile enough to launch that criticism. Liberals have been consistent in their criticism on Harper’s failed decisions regarding this summit. However, there has NEVER been a criticism from the Liberals regarding too much security or inappropriate security or inappropriate police tactics.

    • @Jean-Francois Johnson,

      “You can’t deal with hoods like the Black Bloc without infringing on civil liberties.”

      Bullshit. There’s no justification for arresting peaceful protesters, people passing by, journalists and observers. The mass arrests occurred long after the Black Bloc had done their illegal acts. Acts which were tolerated by police.

      The designated protest site at Queen’s Park was tormed by police on horseback, despite there being no violence.

      Screw Iggy. He’s done.

      • Northern PoV

        @Mark Francis,
        thanks Mark,
        I agree, this remark is either totally silly or disingenuous
        “You can’t deal with hoods like the Black Bloc without infringing on civil liberties.”

        If someone is committing violence, then a firm (and perhaps violent) arrest is in order. No civil liberty issues involved.
        But when the police ignore the violent perpetrators (were they undercover buddies of the cops?) and violently crush legal, peaceful demonstrations … do we really need to explain this further???

  • slg

    How about waiting for all sides of the story, evidence, etc., before blathering on. That would be the grown up thing to do.

    So many stories and hardly any validated.

  • Northern PoV

    “I’ve been of the suspicion they’ve been waiting…”
    …to see which way the wind is blowing?
    …awaiting the results of a poll perhaps?

    That’s MY Liberal Party – always showing leadership – especially in the face of oppression

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