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Day 294 - An interesting weekend in Toronto . . .

>> Tuesday, June 29, 2010

So I'm sure I don't need to recap what went on in Toronto this past weekend. With it being all over the news and online, I'm sure it's safe to say most people reading this blog would know about the G20 Summit and what it's impact was on our city.

I knew things would get heated, and I knew things would probably get a little ugly, but I really didn't think they would get as heated and as ugly as they did. I was really, really glad to be far away from downtown this weekend, although it did affect a few people I work with who live downtown and weren't sure what to do when the subways and buses running through the core were shut down.

I don't want to say too much about the actual act of protests, as I'm a little conflicted as to whether or not they actually work - even the peaceful ones. While I do of course value our right to free speech, I think it's pretty clear that the kind of protests we saw this weekend did way more harm than good. The destruction of store-fronts, cars, and the violence overall were completely unnecessary. From what I've seen and heard, all it did was anger Torontonians and those of us watching it unfold on the news. It seemed a lot of the protestors using these "Black Bloc Tactics" (the ones doing the vandalising) were either from elsewhere in Canada or from the States. If they want to come here to protest the G20, fine. But to come here and cause property damage, assault our police officers and cause us to pay for, (with our tax dollars) all the clean-up needed to restore Toronto to it's pre-G20 state . . . not fine.

I personally found the spending on this "summit" outrageous and excessive. But it's now clear that the security budget was going to be high anyway due to all the protesting going on. Did it need to be approx. one billion dollars? Certainly not. Are they going to be able to justify it now with all the images and media of protestors clashing with police? Probably. Should the whole concept of the G8/G20 Summit be looked at for its true value, and what we as the public can do to hold them accountable to any and all decisions (and timelines) these leaders are making on our behalf? Definitely. But I was ashamed of what I saw on the news this weekend. And to anyone out there who vandalised and put other people's safety in danger? You should be ashamed. You did not make your voice heard, and you pushed aside the voices of those who did come together to hold a peaceful protest. If you came to make a mockery of yourself and the issues that really did need some media attention, well on that you most definitely succeeded. Congratulations.


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