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Montreal Simon: The G20 Summit and the Police State in Toronto

It's been almost six years, but I'll never forget that weekend. The weekend of the G20 Summit in Toronto.When they turned my neighbourhood into an armed camp, more than 1,000 people were arrested.And I felt like I was living in a police state…. . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: The G20 Summit and the Police State in Toronto

Montreal Simon: Toronto’s G20 Victims Win the Right to Sue the Police

They turned my neighbourhood and much of downtown Toronto into a police state.They arrested more than a thousand people most of them peaceful protesters.They kettled them for no reason.Read more » . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: Toronto’s G20 Victims Win the Right to Sue the Police

Montreal Simon: The G20 Summit and the Day of Reckoning

It's hard to believe that it's been more than four years since the G20 Summit in Toronto, and my neighbourhood became a police state.A dark sinister place where more than a thousand people were arrested, and caged like animals.

For no good reason.And yes, the wheels of justice grind slowly.Read more »

. . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: The G20 Summit and the Day of Reckoning

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper, Vladimir Putin, and the Great G20 Showdown

OMG. I see Stephen Harper has stolen the spotlight at the G20 summit, by going dictator to dictator, with Vladimir Putin.Stephen Harper told Russian President Vladimir Putin flatly that he needs "to get out of Ukraine," when the two met at a Group of 20 summit of major economies in Brisbane.Or mano a . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper, Vladimir Putin, and the Great G20 Showdown

Montreal Simon: One Day in the Darkness of Harperland

It was cold and dark tonight by the lake where I live. Like it usually is in late November, in Canada. But at least for the first time there was a sprinkling of snow on the ground to brighten up the gloom.Which is more than I can say about Harperland, where it just keeps . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: One Day in the Darkness of Harperland

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper and the Great Pipeline Crusade

Well he may be losing his battle to convince Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, but I see nothing will stop Stephen Harper from launching yet another oily crusade. First he will conquer or bribe British Columbia.A parade of cabinet ministers and senior bureaucrats will head to British Columbia starting next week . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper and the Great Pipeline Crusade

Montreal Simon: The Syrian Apocalypse and the Con Klowns

I see it's going to be an apocalyptic weekend. The unofficial end of the northern summer that is never long enough. The sound of fighter jets flying low over my tree house.And of course this ghastly nightmare. Read more »

. . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: The Syrian Apocalypse and the Con Klowns

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper’s Made in Canada Recession

Holy Acropolis Now. As if what was happening at the G20 summit wasn’t enough of a nightmare of naked panic, piggy squeals, and vomit. As if these figures weren’t frightening enough.Canada’s jobs market suffered its biggest loss in 2 ½ years las… . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper’s Made in Canada Recession

Politics and its Discontents: A Tax on Financial Transactions

The Globe and Mail has an online story reporting Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan’s adamant opposition to any consideration of a tax on financial transactions at the G20. Although the article doesn’t provide details, most of what I have read abo… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: A Tax on Financial Transactions

Politics and its Discontents: Two Sunday Morning Links

Echoing some of the sentiments I expressed the other day, this morning’s Star editorial endorses the Toronto Police Services Board’s decision to deny promotions to nine officers recommended by Police Chief Bill Blair. Is it possible that these officers… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Two Sunday Morning Links

Politics and its Discontents: Vindication For Those Abused By G20 Police Forces

The vast majority of the 1100 people abused, assaulted and arrested as a result of the thuggish actions of the G20 police forces, apparently intent on suppressing Canadians’ Charter Rights last June in Toronto, must be feeling a deep measure of vindica… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Vindication For Those Abused By G20 Police Forces

Politics and its Discontents: the Real News Asks Some Important Questions About The G20 Secret Law

Although hardly the best interview I have seen, the following is worth viewing inasmuch it raises real questions about credibility regarding who the driving force was behind requesting the Public Works Protection Act invoked during the G20 Summit. Was … . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: the Real News Asks Some Important Questions About The G20 Secret Law

Politics and its Discontents: Chief Bill Blair: No Apology, No Resignation

Having released a self-serving 70 page report reviewing the G20 Summit debacle, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair has concluded he has nothing to apologize for and will not consider resigning. As reported in today’s Star, despite a public opinion poll sh… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Chief Bill Blair: No Apology, No Resignation

Politics and its Discontents: Canada’s Quasi-Police state

While the Premier of Ontario continues to blithely and glibly disavow any responsibility for the horrendous abuses of Charter Rights that took place during last June’s G20 Summit, admitting only that he “could have done a better job of communicating,” … . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Canada’s Quasi-Police state

Politics and its Discontents: With Powers Beyond Those of Mortal Men (And Women)

Loathsome worm that I am, I have spent the past year regularly criticizing the police for their mass suspension of our Charter rights during last June’s G20 Summit in Toronto. I saw them as a force gone wild, intoxicated by their own power, emboldened… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: With Powers Beyond Those of Mortal Men (And Women)

Politics and its Discontents: Finally, a G20 Police Arrest

There is little doubt in my mind that the relentless efforts of the Toronto Star played a major role in the arrest of Toronto police officer Glen Weddell in the G20 beating of Dorian Barton, the Toronto baker whose only crime was to take some pictures … . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Finally, a G20 Police Arrest

Politics and its Discontents: And The Two Chief Culprits Remain silent

Today’s story in The Toronto Star shows how the search for the identity of the officer who allegedly beat Dorian Barton is reaching absurdist levels. Yet despite the increasing evidence of flagrant police obstructionism, Toronto Chief Bill Blair and P… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: And The Two Chief Culprits Remain silent

Politics and its Discontents: Despite Police and SIU Obstruction, G20 Lawsuit Moving Ahead

I have already written extensively about the G20 police abuses of our Charter Rights and have cited the McGuinty Government’s collusion in those abuses as the main reason I cannot vote for the Ontario Liberals in October. However, a story in today’s S… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Despite Police and SIU Obstruction, G20 Lawsuit Moving Ahead

G…

Questions for the Cons:

Do you understand now why holding the G20 summit in downtown Toronto was a huge fucking mistake?

Did you really think these summits would boost Ontario tourism? Really?

Care to comment on how at least 3 cop cars were torched after apparently being left unattended?

How about the report . . . → Read More: G…

liberal catnip: G…

Questions for the Cons:

Do you understand now why holding the G20 summit in downtown Toronto was a huge fucking mistake?

Did you really think these summits would boost Ontario tourism? Really?

Care to comment on how at least 3 cop cars were torched after apparently being left unattended?

How about the report about a journalist who was punched in the face? Got anything to say about that?

And this one? Emomotimi Azorbo charged with assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest, but friends say he couldn’t hear and follow police instructions. He is deaf.

Can you tell us why the TO police chief says he’s “shocked” by the violence? “Shocked”?

Seriously, if you Cons thought Canadians were outraged at the $1 billion security tab you racked up for this farce, just wait until the fallout from this really hits the fan.

And Saturday nite has only just begun…

And while you try to blame what’s going on on a bunch of anarchists, more than a bit of self-reflection about this absolutely bone-headed, politically-motivated decision you made about the location of this clusterfuck will definitely be in order.

I’ll tell you what: next time you guys want to get together, do the rest of us a favour and try Cuba. I hear Gitmo has damn good and cheap security. And that pesky “free speech” thing won’t even be an issue.
  . . . → Read More: liberal catnip: G…

Prime Minister: "Toronto can go screw themselves, but they’ll have to do it somewhere else"

OTTAWA – Prime Minister Cowboy Steve vented his anger with Toronto today on the eve of the G8 and G20 summits. “These are the same bastards who laughed at me in high school, stuffed me into a locker and called me names, like ‘Pencil Neck Geek’. Then they don’t vote for us. Not one goddamned seat! Well guess what. Now they can’t wipe their asses without me and security seeing them. I took their city away from them for weeks. And they can’t even escape to their little Huntsville cottages, because we’re there too. We moved into their neighbourhood, and they’re paying the freight.”

Cowboy Steve extracts revenge from cool guys
“Remember, I’m watching you wipe your ass”

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. . . → Read More: Prime Minister: "Toronto can go screw themselves, but they’ll have to do it somewhere else"

Railroaded by Metrolinx: Seasick or Seachange: The G8 and G20 Summits


Only when the last tree has been cut down;
Only when the last river has been poisoned;
Only when the last fish has been caught;
Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.
– Cree Prophecy, oft-quoted as the rallying cry for the environmental movement

A belated happy World Oceans’ Day. A plume of oil 228 km away from its source in the Gulf of Mexico has been found, and scuba divers are encountering oil masses the size of softballs. This oil spill is seven times the size than that of the Exxon Valdez, and is still growing. So far, 9.5 million litres of oil have been spilled into the Gulf.

ABC News has shown footage of the first days of the oil spill, which BP chose not to make public, which documented far more oil leaking than initially admitted by the oil company. Human error and omission on the part of BP has exacerbated the scope and size of the oil spill because of their slow response time, poor management of containment measures, and inability to coordinate clean up efforts with the thirteen American natural resource agencies, waiting for instruction from this British oil company. The Americans have written a letter to BP saying they have two days to contain the spill.

As oil begins to wash up on shore, white Florida beaches and marshes are blackened. Generations of fish will have birth defects, or not be able to reproduce, and coral will die, as far away as Cuba, suffocated by a coat of oil. A genie in the bottle has been let loose by unregulated offshore drilling, a legacy of the Bush era, and Barack Obama is powerless to defend American natural resources against British corporate interests, and force this renegade oil well to be capped.

When I was a child, I was given a technicolour atlas of Canada, and told that we had the second largest land mass in the world, and more resources than we could possibly ever use – that we were awash in timber, fish, and wheat. In my lifetime, I have seen cod disappear on the east coast, wild salmon become scarce on the west coast, and pine beetles ravage west coast forests. Americans are facing the probable extinction of red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico, and this oil spill will have repercussions as far away as Vancouver.


Several months ago, while I stood in line at the grocery store, I overheard a child say that we will not have fish in twenty years. He may be right. We can extract oil, but we can never generate life, or recreate ocean species, and our oceans have changed their temperature and acidity by absorbing our greenhouse gases. A revered Canadian journalist Alanna Mitchell writes brilliantly about this in her book ‘Seasick’. She titled her book after witnessing the reaction of an oceanologist, who upon hearing of the radical chemical alteration in the world’s oceans, threw up, and was sickened for weeks by thoughts of the scientific repercussions on the reproductive capacity of ocean life in the increasing number of dead zones.

In Canada, one million wild salmon swam upstream this year in British Columbia’s Fraser River, when ten million were expected, shocking the First Nations communities and fishing industry. The government has launched a formal enquiry into the salmon farms, agricultural run off, and changing temperatures of the oceans, yet refuses to regulate oil sands’ tailing ponds, which leak millions of litres of toxins into the once pristine Athabasca River. Upon hearing of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, an oil industry representative said that it will make Canadians think of the oil sands as a cleaner source of oil, as if leaching toxins into the Athabasca River is better than spewing oil in the Gulf of Mexico. Are not all water systems interconnected?

As PM Harper spends $2.1 million to build a Fake Lake as a backdrop for journalists to sell off the ‘Muskoka Experience’ to international interests for the G20, I have witnessed climate change in this lake district firsthand. There have been two hurricanes within the past five years in Muskoka. A century old tree fell down within two inches of a neighbouring cottage, and entire swathes of old growth forest have been ripped up throughout this region. Historically, there have never been tornadoes of this magnitude in Northern Ontario – this is a direct result of climate change, and our unlimited desire for oil. Meanwhile, PM Harper is touting Huntsville and the rest of the Muskoka Lakes region as a tourist destination, encouraging more traffic, exurban expansion, Big Box Stores, and oil consumption, both on and off the water.

During the past ten years, I have watched Muskoka become a suburb of Toronto, and lose much of its rustic charm. You can buy pillows embroidered with Muskoka chairs made in China in its gift shops, purchase pre-fabricated birch canoes, and watch Sea Doos roar through shallow inland bays, tearing up clam beds in their wake. Tourist traffic can protect a region through revenue, but in many cases throughout Muskoka has not, as some of those who vacation there have no vested interest in preserving its natural beauty, environment or heritage, as they are just passing through, interested in cottage culture as a commodity, far more than the actual experience.

In a few years, I honestly wonder what natural resources Canadians will have left after the Conservative and neoliberal ‘Open for Sale’ agenda has taken full affect. As world leaders ask that the environment be included on the agenda of G20 international trade summit, and PM Harper refuses this request, this media spectacle is a harbinger of what we will leave future generations- a Fake Lake with plastic Muskoka chairs, a small pool with chlorinated water, and a sky with artificial stars as a backdrop for TV journalists as they describe our Canadian natural vistas – when a short walk away is Lake Ontario, one of our great inland seas, which we have done little to protect environmentally, and in which many of its 179 fish species have become extinct (see FishNet for a fascinating art project on this issue). In America, Jean Baudrillard may have it right- all we may have left is the false front of what was once culturally important, and contained our heritage, like the storefronts along main street in the Wild West movies, or the view of a kiddy pool version of Muskoka Lake, from a dock no longer owned by us.

I would hope that the G8 and G20 Summits become a forum to discuss global fiscal initiatives to enter a post carbon future, including curbing transportation emissions, to protect the world’s natural resources for future generations, but this discussion did not happen during Copenhagen, and has been suppressed once again. In effect, $1.1 billion in security measures have been paid by Canadian taxpayers to hold 18 hours of meetings to privatize our assets and sell off our natural resources to resolve our debt, while incurring a debt of over $2.1 billion for the summit. Dissenting voices have been discredited by the media as ‘protesters’ rather than as peaceful citizens with a sincere desire to represent our country’s best environmental and social interests. Business as usual in the suicide economy is the agenda in these summits, despite the possibility of economic growth through the international coordination of sustainable environmental policies, and development of green technologies.

Whether oil is absorbed as carbon from the air into our oceans, or exists as greenhouse gas emissions in our air, we need to discuss going toward a post carbon future to protect our health, and this carbon orgy must come to an end. With a Fake Lake as a backdrop to our media campaign for the G8 and G20 Summits, PM Harper, and our leaders, are about to sell off our country’s natural resources, and right to self-government through the Canada-European Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, as if our country is a tourist attraction for the fire sale of our citizens’ hard earned assets. Politically, our land, air, and water should be protected by us, because they belong to all Canadians as our birthright, beyond present federal policy and corporate agenda, or we will be left with only memories of what was once our country, like the fading technicolour on the resource rich map of my childhood.

O Canada, I stand on guard for thee.

This article is dedicated to my nieces, Jesse and Sally, to whom I read on the dock each summer.

References:
Live feed footage of Gulf of Mexico oil spill, link to
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/20/live-gulf-oil-spill-video-feed_n_583682.html
Alanna Mitchell, ‘Seasick’, link to http://www.mcclelland.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780771061165
Claire Ironside and Angela Iarocci, ‘ FishNet Art Project on Species in the Great Lakes’, link to http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com/whatson/freshground/fishnet.cfm
David Korten on the Suicide Ecoomy, “Economies for Life”, YES!Magazine, Living Economies Issue. Fall 2002, link to http://peoplenotprofit.org/livingeconomies.htm

Jean Baudrillard on the ‘aesthetics of disappearance’ in America, Excerpts 2 Link to http://www.egs.edu/faculty/jean-baudrillard/articles/america-excerpts-2/
Important information on the Canada-European Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement Link to http://www.canadians.org/trade/issues/EU/index.html
and Maude Barlow explains how the proposed Canada-EU trade agreement would deprive all levels of government of their ability to invest money in local economies, through programs such as Ontario’s Green Energy Act. Link to http://www.canadians.org/tradeblog/?p=850

. . . → Read More: Railroaded by Metrolinx: Seasick or Seachange: The G8 and G20 Summits

Railroaded by Metrolinx: Seasick or Seachange: The G8 and G20 Summits

Only when the last tree has been cut down;Only when the last river has been poisoned;Only when the last fish has been caught;Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.– Cree Prophecy, oft-quoted as the rallying cry for the environmental movement

A belated happy World Oceans’ Day. A plume of oil 228 km . . . → Read More: Railroaded by Metrolinx: Seasick or Seachange: The G8 and G20 Summits

All Hail the Oligarchy

Yes, of course it’s obscene that the minority Conservative government is going to spend an estimated $1 billion for security for the upcoming G8 and G20 summits as a result of political grandstanding (remember 9/11?!) and in the shallowest attempt to highlight one of the Cons’ ridings (which those attending the summit won’t see . . . → Read More: All Hail the Oligarchy