December 7th, 2010

[LINK] "G20 police rule slammed by ombudsman"

This was one of the top news items in this evening's newscast.

Ontario's ombudsman had scathing criticism for the provincial government Tuesday for quietly passing a G20 security regulation that enabled police to exercise "phenomenal powers" that "should never have been enacted."

"For the citizens of Toronto, the days up to and including the weekend of the G8/G20 will live in infamy as a time period where martial law set in the city of Toronto, leading to the most massive compromise of civil liberties in Canadian history, and we can never let that happen again," André Marin told reporters.

Marin was speaking at a news conference where he announced the release of a report titled Caught in the Act, which determined the Liberal government's decision to enact Regulation 233/10 was unreasonable.

The regulation was passed by the Ontario cabinet on June 2 without debate.

It designated parts of the area within the G20 security fence in Toronto a public work, bringing it under the purview of the Public Works Protection Act, which was enacted in 1939 to protect infrastructure works from wartime enemies.
Ontario Regulation 233/10

Marin said only "three small parts" of the security perimeter weren't already considered public works. The intent of the regulation was to close those gaps, he said.

But police frequently asked those near and outside the security perimeter to identify themselves and state their purpose for being there.

Anyone who failed to provide identification or explain why they were near the security zone could be searched and arrested. Penalties included up to two months in jail and a $500 fine.

The temporary rule expired June 28, the day after the two-day meeting of world leaders in downtown Toronto concluded.

"Responsible protesters and civil rights groups who took the trouble to educate themselves about their rights prior to the G20 had no way of knowing they were literally walking into a trap," said Marin.