Wednesday, 23 November 2011

letter: G20 mayhem ringleaders receive justice for $84-million each!

G20 mayhem ringleaders receive justice for $84-million each!

Despite the early estimates that the combined G8 and G20 summits would cost $1.1-billion to host in Huntsville and Toronto, according to the auditor-general, the final bill ended up being “only” $663.9-million.

Of that total, $509-million was to provide security for the twin summits.

It’s a figure worth recalling, after Tuesday’s announcement that six so-called “ringleaders” of the violence that marred the streets of Toronto have agreed to plead guilty to lesser charges under a plea bargain agreement struck between their defence lawyers and the Crown. Each of these individuals was subjected to prolonged investigation by undercover Ontario Provincial Police officers, and was arrested once the summit got underway. Charges against 11 others have been dropped. Given the cost of securing the summit, and the rather anti-climactic outcome of the legal proceedings against those at least partially responsible for the lawlessness, it’s reasonable to wonder if these six guilty pleas to relatively minor charges were worth the roughly $84-million dollars of security each verdict required (and that doesn’t even include the costs to the court system to prosecute the case).

Of course, the security costs were successful in their primary goal — no major security incident threatened the safety of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the various world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, that he was hosting in the heart of Canada’s largest city. Securing a major urban area was always going to be an expensive proposition, and while the wisdom of hosting the event in the middle of a large city can be debated, Canada does have an obligation to the international community to occasionally host global summits. That will never be cheap.

But the G20′s costs — both financial and social — were immense. Despite investing half a billion dollars in security, gangs of thugs still roamed Toronto’s streets while the police were seemingly helpless to respond. When the police response did begin, it was only after the violence had largely petered out, and ended up inconveniencing (or worse) thousands of non-violent protesters or simply passersby, leaving Toronto’s generally excellent police force with a black mark on its reputation. The cost, the inconvenience, the suffering of those wrongfully detailed — it all might have had some meaning if, in the final analysis, it could be demonstrated that the police efficiently responded to a very real and present danger and if our legal system had effectively dealt with it.

Instead, we have the worst of every world — enormous sums were spent, innocent citizens harshly detained, criminals roamed freely about the city destroying property, damned few consequences have been meted out to overly harsh officers as those charged with policing the police have been proven utterly inept, and only a handful of the thugs who threatened the peace and safety of Toronto will have to serve minor sentences (in many cases, likely time served).

All of this speaks to a greater crisis in Canadian justice. Police forces from coast to coast are being buffeted by allegations of abusive behaviour or outright incompetence (see Vancouver’s Stanley Cup riots and the aftermath), while millions are spent on trying criminals with increasingly poor results. All of this leaves Canadians feeling as if their society is becoming a harsher, more lawless place. While statistics continue to suggest that this is not the case, the public perception is powerful all by itself, and goes a long way to explain continued public support for the federal Tories’ tough-on-crime agenda.

The money that Canadians spent on hosting the summits can’t be gotten back, and the legal effort against the G20 ringleaders has seemingly come to a close. Despite the unsatisfactory outcomes, Canadians must move on. But we should do so with a mind to avoiding such mistakes again. That not only means never again hosting major summits in the hearts of cities, but also addressing the deficincies in our justice system that are, even after hundreds of millions in spending and almost a year and a half of effort, could still barely bring reduced convictions against the targets of intense, prolonged police scrutiny.


                                                 G20 gets instructions from Toronto Police!

                                                G20 at St. James Park prior to break-up!

                                   Union members remove camper's tents from St. James Park

               Camper's have left St. James Park peacefully within hours of by-law officers arrival!

my response.......While some may have doubts that the G20 mayhem ringleaders received justice considering the taxpayer paid $84 million each in their criminal trials, the fact remains in all likelihood that those sacrificed can now be successfully sued civilly by aggrieved individuals and businesses that suffered injury or loss during the riots. With St James Park campers getting equal suspect advice, have their good G20 friends who escaped jail now put them on the hook for additional punishment?

No comments:

Post a Comment