Aggression during G20 perpetrated by police, but demonstrations criminalized by Harper & McGuinty, or “When the people are being beaten with a stick, they are not much happier if it is called “the People’s Stick.”- Mikhail Bakunin

In my previous post I wrote about one of the McGuinty government’s most egregious hours: McGuinty’s management of “security” at last year’s G20 Summit meetings in Toronto. In today’s Star, Justice Melvyn Green has vindicated the actions of demonstrators at Queen & Spadina on Saturday of the protests. In essence, Justice Green concludes that yes indeed the people were beaten with people’s stick:

“The zealous exercise of police arrest powers in the context of political demonstrations risks distorting the necessary if delicate balance between law enforcement concerns for public safety and order, on the one hand, and individual rights and freedoms, on the other,” Green wrote in a 29-page judgment.

However, while the police should bear responsibility for their actions, they should not bear the responsibility, as the article states, for “criminalizing” political demonstration. That was done by the State.

The head of CSIS, Richard Fadden, before the demonstrations even began stated that the major security concern was not terrorism but the demonstrators. The riot gear, the make shift jails, and the surreptitious, “illegal and likely unconstitutional” enactment of a secret law, all of these preparations are what served to “criminalize” the G20 demonstrations.

And Dalton Mcguinty was instrumental in this criminalization.  From The Star on Dec. 7, 2010, “Ombudsman charges G20 secret law was ‘illegal’:

It was “illegal” and “likely unconstitutional” for Premier Dalton McGuinty’s government to pass a secret regulation that police used to detain people near Toronto’s G20 summit of world leaders last summer, says Ombudsman Andre Marin.

In a scorching 125-page report entitled Caught in the Act, Marin said the measure “should never have been enacted” and “was almost certainly beyond the authority of the government to enact.”

“Responsible protesters and civil rights groups who took the trouble to educate themselves about their rights had no way of knowing they were walking into a trap – they were literally caught in the Act; the Public Works Protection Act and its pernicious regulatory offspring,” he told reporters.

“_Capitalism is the Crisis: Radical Politics in the Age of Austerity_”

One of the most despicable aspects of the McGuinty Liberal government, among many others, was  its  handling of security at the G20 Summit last summer in Toronto. Dalton McGuinty oversaw one of the greatest civil rights abuses in Canadian history. When you start to crack down on dissension you begin to destroy the very thing you are trying to protect:  democracy.

On June 2, 2010, the McGuinty Liberal government secretly passed a  law that temporarily expanded the Public Works Protection Act and granted police powers to stop and detain people during the global summit of world leaders.

This was another fiasco and a total disregard of process that resulted in giving the police a half baked law to do their job.

The G20 secret rule was the subject of a probe by the Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin. His report was made public and slammed McGuinty for passing the secret regulation and characterized it as “illegal and likely unconstitutional”.

McGuinty had 20 days before the summit to advise the public about the new law but choose not to do so. Just more proof of McGuinty’s incompetence and secret dealings.

Dalton McGuinty will not explain why his cabinet passed this secret law because he does not want to be held accountable by the electorate. He refuses to open an Inquiry and has even refused to apologize for his part in the flagrant suspension of Canadians’ civil liberties.

Below, is an excellent documentary, featuring several Toronto based academics and a part of which deals with last year’s G20 Summit.

Say No to Negative Politics, Help Stop the Smears

It’s now a commonplace the incredible gains made by the NDP  in the recent federal election had to do with its unrelentingly positive approach and unwillingness to engage in the kinds of negative attacks now entrenched in the Conservative and Liberal approach to political campaigning.

I’m glad the ONDP has decided to follow suit, and moreover, isn’t going to take its opponents’ smears lying down. Today, the ONDP launched an anti-smear website.

“Andrea Horwath is putting forward a positive plan for affordable change and that scares our opponents,” NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo said in a media release. “This website will tackle the smears and start getting the facts out to Ontario families.”

From the website:

“People tell me they’re tired of US-style smear campaigns and negative advertising. But they keep happening because high-priced political consultants think they work. They spend millions of dollars every election trying to fool us. It doesn’t have to be this way. We’ve set up this website to help you fight back against smears and misinformation. Together, we can make change that puts people first.”
Andrea Horwath, Leader of the Ontario NDP

+++++++++

Update: Speaking of  doing politics differently, the new NDP radio ad is refreshingly positive. Have a listen:

Progressive Women Across Ontario Seem to be Getting Ready to Back Andrea Horwath and the ONDP

A website has been created by progressive women dedicated to defeating Tim Hudak in the coming election.

Can an endorsement of the Andrea Horwath and ONDP be far behind?

Surely, they’re not backing the insidiously sexist Liberals with an avowed Roman Catholic male leader, irrespective of what Heather Mallick might think.

Heather Mallick ignores Andrea Horwath as the only party leader who rightly champions women’s rights, or sorry sister it’s hard out here for a Liberal shill like me

According to Heather Mallick in Today’s The Star:

But what he and Hudak and Harper should understand is that abortion is not a “chip” on a woman’s shoulder, it is her body and her life, her internal sanctity and her choice.
I am warning those who want Canadian women to lose their right to abortion that this will not be a skirmish. It lives in the hearts of girls and women. We will fight you on this.

Sweeet! We’re going “progressive” with this election. Only two questions Ms Mallick.

1. Why snub a sister like Andrea Horwath? She after all is one of those in whose heart lies the fight to preserve a woman’s right to choose. Secondly, she’s leader of the only unified, positive, and progressive political party out there.

2. Why would a feminist shill for an avowed Roman Catholic man? There are few symbols that conjure up the history of exclusion and systemic violence against women than the RC Church and powerful male politicians.

Lastly, a question for “progressives”. Is it possible that the latent, less obvious forms of sexism that well up occasionally from Liberals actually represents a more refined, opportunistic, and insidious form of discrimination -even if Liberals are more likely to “apologize” for their cock-ups???  Remember this???

Trivial or insidious sexism???

According to latest poll, ONDP and Liberals in virtual tie and Andrea Horwath way ahead with highest approval rating as well as lowest disapproval rating

“[Andrea Horwath] is making a great impression on voters.”

Horwath’s approval is up to 63 per cent from 59 per cent and her disapproval down to 37 per cent from 41 per cent.

Dalton McGuinty, by far, remains the leader with a lowest approval rating (39%) and the highest disapproval rating (61%).

Although to hear Liberals tell it, this is great news for them????

Keep sending us your “progressives” dear Liberals. We welcomed them home in May and we’ll welcome them home in October.

McGuinty all rhetoric on abortion, or how does an avowed Roman Catholic maintain any credibility on feminist issues?

The recent turn by Ontario Liberals to dredge up the abortion issue is quite fascinating. Is it out of sheer desperation to change the channel? Is it a suicide pact?  A vain attempt to hold on to “progressives” they’ve manage to fool in the past?

Although McGuinty has done little of the talking, how could one fail to see the glaring contradiction in an avowed Roman Catholic posturing as a feminist? So speaking of “choice”, it seems to me a serious feminist Roman Catholic would have only two choices vis a vis this horribly stratified and perverse expression of Christianity, one which has been unfailingly misogynist and conservative.

Choice one: Claim Roman Catholicism but work tirelessly to reform it from within. As a “progressive” Christian, I have often asked some of my female RC friends how they find it possible to remain within such an oppressive, hierarchical structure, particularly an institution from which they are barred “full membership” (not having a right to ordination or to fully preside over the sacraments is not being able to be a full member.) A very compelling response from some of these friends has been 1) I stay because it is part of my story and I want to help change it into the institution is should be. 2) I stay because without me to show love and support, it would be an even worse place for women and the LGBT communities.

Choice two: Walk across the street to any number of truly progressive expressions of Christianity, such as that eminently Canadian institution, the United Church of Canada.

Thus, I’m only being a little facetious when I ask how can McGuinty confidently claim credibility on the “progressive” file, especially the feminist file?

Ontario Liberals in Free Fall: Add Wild Hyperbole to their Campaign to Woo "Progressives"

As part of the Ontario Liberals’ suicide pact, I mean campaign to woo progressive voters we get this nasty example of hyperbole in the hopes of redirecting the coming election away from pocketbook issues towards “progressive” issues. Gritchik opens yesterday’s blog posting with this doozie.

“Since Dammit Janet! helped vault Hudak’s position on abortion into the internet stratosphere”

Just a tad overstated, no? I mean, Oslo bombing, US debt ceiling, Amy Winehouse’s death, and, of course, Hudak predictable stance on abortion? Or perhaps just desperately wishful thinking. Polling must be showing an even bleaker picture than already portrayed. Liberals now seem in a desperate fight to hold onto second place. Trending and recent history of the May election are certainly not on their side.

I’ve been canvassing in probably Ontario’s most progressive riding and not one person has brought up women’s reproductive rights at the door. Nor has one person mentioned Hudak’s stance on abortion. But I hope they do, since in the Liberals there is a caucus divided on the issue and in the NDP there is a caucus united around the issue.

What I don’t understand is why the Liberals think they are well positioned to capitalize on “progressive” issues. It clearly appears that to The NDP, as we saw in Canada’s most progressive province (i.e. Quebec), is overwhelmingly where progressives are turning.

Finally Canadians realize that 1) Liberals are not Progressive and 2) It is possible to get out from under the tweeddle dee/  tweeddle dum, one party faux democracy under which we’ve been held hostage for so long.

Ontario Liberals in Free Fall: Add Disingenuousness and Hypocrisy to Campaign to Woo "Progressives"–Updated

In their desperate attempt to halt their slide down the polls, the Ontario Liberals are preparing to spread out across Toronto’s subway to distribute flyers charging the NDP with abandoning the environment while crowing about David Suzuki’s pat on the back.

Oh the irony.

The OLP is hardly known for its commitment to the environment. I’m still waiting for Nanticoke to be closed down. McGuinty promised to do so by 2007. He has not only not phased out coal energy but has wrongly committed to go into Big Nuclear (something which Suzuki chides McGuinty for, but I’m sure won’t appear in their flyer tomorrow). Although Liberals rightly see the NDP as the strongest advocate on the environment, the OLP is hardly in any position to call them out on it.

Second. Killing trees to convey an a green message on glossy full page flyers.

Third, fanning out across public transit lines to convey a green message when you’re the party refusing to use electric trains in favor of diesel trains for a rail link to Pearson Airport.

The NDP have yet to roll out their environmental platform, but I know this. The NDP has always been far ahead of the other parties on the environment. And, the NDP has one of the best minds on the environment, former executive director of Greenpeace, Peter Tabuns.

_________
Update:

The following letter by the ONDP was cc’d to the David Suzuki Foundation among many other environmental organizations. Guess David didn’t find the time to read it. Either that or Mr. Suzuki is stuck in the same blue door red door paradigm that we saw shattered in the May election. Progressives do have a choice, and it’s not the Liberals- never has been. The NDP has been and continues to be the most authentic choice for progressives, students, women, workers, small businesses, and the poor and marginalized.

“We are writing to outline the NDP’s position on renewable energy in order to expand on our commitments in our recently released “Plan for Affordable Change,” the first of our policy documents.

The NDP is committed to aggressively expanding renewable energy, conservation and efficiency in Ontario as the path to the development of a vibrant green energy economy in the province.

To this end, we will maintain the feed-in-tariff (FIT) program for smaller projects led by farmers, municipalities, churches, schools, co-operatives, First Nations communities and private producers. We plan to expand the ability of community-based organizations to become significant power producers.

As well, we will mandate Ontario’s publicly-owned power generator (Ontario Power Generation) to engage in an ambitious program of large-scale renewable energy projects in Ontario, creating a sustained demand for products and services from Ontario-based renewable energy companies.

The NDP will honour existing green energy contracts and will ensure fair treatment of large and small renewable energy project proposals in the pipeline. We know Ontario has to maintain and build momentum for green energy investment.

To repeat, the NDP will continue to expand conservation, efficiency and renewable energy use in Ontario in order to protect the environment, stimulate good jobs and keep electricity affordable.

In fact, the NDP’s plan creates a more certain future for renewable energy in Ontario than the Liberal plan, which places a moratorium on all renewable power projects starting in 2018 when expensive new nuclear plants are projected to come on line.

Finally, please note that the NDP has yet to release its full environmental platform and we will announce details on a range of issues such as climate change and the protection of land and water in Ontario in the coming weeks and months.”

Ontario Liberals in Free Fall: Predictably Resort to Useless Smearing and a Failed Strategy

So the Ontario Liberals want the coming provincial election to be about ethical issues such as women’s reproductive rights. Now I get the strategy. Distraught with their free falling in the polls, the Liberals are desperate to pander to their supposed base (i.e. progressives, women, progressive women) and thus have taken to publicly demonizing the Tim Hudak and the Conservatives. Now I also get that Hudak is pandering to his base and to women with his whole tough on crime shtick.

So in the past few days, the Ontario Liberals have attempted to undermine Hudak’s integrity with charges of waffling on issues, calling him a weasel, circulating pictures of of him next to a weasel, and dredging up his previous statements on abortion in an attempt to move the electorate to a deep foreboding over this horrible monster that is Tim Hudak. Isn’t it interesting to have two men, both of whom have questionable records on feminist issues fighting to see who is more feminist? Of  course, the obvious feminist choice in the coming election is Andrea Horwath and the NDP. Some thoughts on this whole fiasco.

It’s smearing and and has no place in civilized politics. Intelligent voters want democracy based on issues and debate not character assassinations. Just because it’s effective, especially when done by an unscrupulous, well oiled and primed machine like the Harper regime, doesn’t mean it’s right. Btw, the OLP is not the CPC. The OLP’s smears will not be as effective and Liberals are underestimating the intelligence of the voter base they’re trying to solidify.

While I understand that it would be suicide for the OLP to laud its economic platform and achievements, trying to run a campaign right now on ethics/morality will just as likely lead to the decimation faced by the federal Liberals in May. And that pleases me.  Actually secretly I’m quite pleased the OLP is deploying this strategy.

Canadians discovered many things in the May election. Foremost, the electorate discovered it has the freedom and license not to stick with the same old/ same old “two party system” (in truth we’ve endured a system that masquerades for the one party wantonly pro capitalism and pro big business system that it really is). So change is possible but not with either the Liberals or Conservatives. Related to this was the realization that for women, progressives, youth, the marginalized, workers, and the middle class, the far more authentic voice is the NDP and thus, the Liberals have essentially become redundant and irrelevant in the current political landscape.

This, of course, is why the Liberals are desperate to shore up want they traditionally have considered their base. At this point, I believe, the OLP has given up (and the polls certainly bear this out, indeed I wonder what the Liberals; own polls are showing) forming the next government, but they are desperate to hold on to what they can. But what they fail to see is that running on the moral high ground is disastrous for them right now, just as it was for Ignatieff to run as defender of democracy. Why?

First, the Liberals have squandered any and all moral capital they may ever have had. Liberals just don’t have any credibility on that front. McGuinty has been caught repeatedly  in public treasury mismanagement from slush funds to ehealth to exorbitant salaries for senior public servants. McGuinty was part of what provinical ombudsman described  as among the most flagrant civil rights abuses in Canadian history in the handling of the G20 protests. The use of diesel trains and the party of big Nuclear. McGuinty has continued the assault on organized labour launched by Mike Harris etc etc.

Second, the NDP has surfaced as the legitimate and powerful voice for progressives. While the NDP has always been considered as the party of conscience and defender of human rights and the environment, until recently the NDP was not always considered a credible alternative.  May 02 changed that and the tarnished image left by Bob Rae is no longer in play as it once was. I look to the NDP to come up big in the coming election. So OLP keep pushing your base out your right and left door into the waiting arms o the Conserevatives and NDP respectively.