If you spend $1 billion to line the streets of Toronto with people who look like Darth Vadar’s storm troopers you are going to get reaction.
The violence and property damage in Toronto is lamentable but predictable. Use of military power to limit public protest always results in violence, in Beijing, Tehran and Toronto.
In Beijing of course Canada denounces it as communist suppression of free speech and lack of democracy. The Iranian government is oppressive when it shoots at people protesting the election. In Canada somehow the government finds the use of police violence as appropriate when people want to end poverty or discrimination.
The same conference was held in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania with only $18 million in security costs and minor violence. “In Pittsburgh during the G20 meeting late in September 2009, about $50,000 in damage was caused by a minority of protesters.” CTV
That wasn’t ten years ago, it was ten months ago.
Whether we agree with the views of the protesters, we are supposed to allow free assembly in Canada, along with free expression.
From what I could gather from the media’s obsession with the burning police car and balaclava clad young people, the protesters were a motly crew who wanted more equal distribution of the world’s wealth, less suppression of free speech, animal rights, maternal health, native rights and women’s rights.
However, bringing out the big guns attracted more radicals than any other city. Experts who deal with confrontational situations tell us that use of excessive violence does not solve the issue.
Perhaps we might learn that violence begets violence. There are better ways to deal with protests than the $1 billion Canada spent.
Today the people or Toronto are horrified and shocked at how their relatively peaceful city has been transformed in to a small war zone. What amount of spending on police officers, armor, intelligence and weapons would ensure peaceful protest doesn’t turn violent? The answer is that even $3 billion wouldn’t work. You cannot suppress the free assembly and free speech of people without confrontation.
Perhaps a better more peaceful way could be explored, or just not hold these things in the downtown of a big city.