Police get new powers for G20: Fence, unquestioned obedience, IDs, testimony & unfettered force

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BlueBerry Pick'n BlueBerry Pick'n's picture
Police get new powers for G20: Fence, unquestioned obedience, IDs, testimony & unfettered force

 

Police get new powers for G20
New regulations give police right to search anyone near security fence
Last Updated: Friday, June 25, 2010 | 11:07 AM ET Comments699Recommend198
CBC News

Police have new powers to patrol the G20 security zone in downtown Toronto.Police have new powers to patrol the G20 security zone in downtown Toronto. (Canadian Press)

Police forces in charge of security for the G20 in Toronto have been granted special powers for the duration of the summit.

The new powers took effect Monday and apply only along the border of the G20 security fence that encircles a portion of the downtown core. This so-called red zone includes the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, where delegates will meet.

The new powers are designed specifically for the G20, CBC's Colin Butler reported Friday.

Ontario's cabinet quietly passed the new rules on June 2 without legislature debate.

'The public has nothing to fear with this legislation and the way the police will use this legislation. It really comes down to a case of common sense and officer discretion.'— Sgt. Tim Burrows of the G8/G20 Integrated Security Unit

Sgt. Tim Burrows of the G8/G20 Integrated Security Unit said the new regulations make parts of the existing Public Works Protection Act apply to the G20 security zone in downtown Toronto.

"The public has nothing to fear with this legislation and the way the police will use this legislation," said Burrows. "It really comes down to a case of common sense and officer discretion. If you're approaching that fence line, we want to know why."

The new powers are in effect on the streets and sidewalks in and around the security fence.

Under the new regulations:

  • anyone who comes within five metres of the security area is obliged to give police their name and state the purpose of their visit.
  • Police, at their discretion, can deny access to the area and "use whatever force is necessary" to keep people out.
  • Anyone who refuses to identify themselves or refuses to provide a reason for their visit can be fined up to $500.
  • The new rules also give police the power to search anyone who approaches the fence.
  • The regulation also says that if someone has a dispute with an officer and it goes to court "the police officer's statement under oath is considered conclusive evidence under the Act."

The new regulations continue through Monday, when the G20 delegates leave town

Burrows said police have already made "two or three" arrests under the new rules as of Friday morning.

"We're bound by duty to protect the people that are going be within that fence line," said Burrows. "If you refuse to tell us [why you're there], then we have to assume that your purposes are not of a peaceful nature."


 

Toronto Star Live Blog:  whose rights?

An exasperated Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair is defending the police's sweeping powers to arrest anyone near the G20 security zone who refuse to identify themselves.

Blair has said repeatedly at a morning news conference that the law wasn't a secret, that is was published two weeks ago and that there is nothing sweeping about it.

"They have a right not to identify themselves. They may leave. If they try to force their way in, they will be arrested," Blair said.  "The five metre zone around the fence is to protect the barrier. We've all seen film of people trying to pull the fence down. we want to make sure people aren't pulling down the fence."

"It's not a new law, it's not a secret law,  if you Google Public Works Protection Act, Ontario" it's there, he said.

The Star reported this morning that a 32-year-old man was arrested under the new regulations. 


 

Globe & Mail:

 

 

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture
NDPP

Yes, I agree. The police are politically very powerful in Toronto. Watch closely to see how many of these enhanced powers remain long after the G - monsters have left.

Scott Piatkowski Scott Piatkowski's picture

[url=http://www.opposethepwpa.ca/]Petition[/url]

 

After you add your name, you can click on Facebook to join the FB group and on Twitter to tweet a link to the petition.

Green Grouch

Who's the petition going to be sent to and who's organising it, Scott?

I'd suggest you contact your MPP directly if you are an Ontario resident and wish to protest/ get this law junked. At least the abuse of it has brought it back into the light, so let's try to get rid of it.

And come out tomorrow. Let's turn this into a big ass, street -blocking party for the next 48 hours. We're paying for it anyway.

Unionist

Um, folks, this is much ado about nothing. As the cops said, this law already existed - in fact, cops have had these powers for 20 years, at least, for anyone "entering or attempting to enter" "any provincial and any municipal public building"! All they did now was expand these powers to the G20 security fence.

There are no new powers - only the addition of that area.

The law is extremely draconian - reverse onus, the whole nine yards - but it's already there. Come to think of it, who was in power in Ontario in 1990?

So, who "leaked" this big story and created a big ruckus? IMHO, it's the security forces themselves. On one hand, they can help stoke their crisis atmosphere. On the other hand, they can plead that they have done nothing which isn't already in the legislation.

And most importantly, they must be counting on the mere announcement (and the predictable reaction of some) to keep fence-sitters (sorry) away from the fence.

[url=http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_90p55_e...'s the 1990 Act[/url], for your reference.

 

Life, the unive...

Unionist wrote:

Um, folks, this is much ado about nothing. As the cops said, this law already existed - in fact, cops have had these powers for 20 years, at least, for anyone "entering or attempting to enter" "any provincial and any municipal public building"! All they did now was expand these powers to the G20 security fence.

There are no new powers - only the addition of that area.

The law is extremely draconian - reverse onus, the whole nine yards - but it's already there. Come to think of it, who was in power in Ontario in 1990?

So, who "leaked" this big story and created a big ruckus? IMHO, it's the security forces themselves. On one hand, they can help stoke their crisis atmosphere. On the other hand, they can plead that they have done nothing which isn't already in the legislation.

And most importantly, they must be counting on the mere announcement (and the predictable reaction of some) to keep fence-sitters (sorry) away from the fence.

[url=http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_90p55_e...'s the 1990 Act[/url], for your reference.

 

 

Of course, it's the NDP's fault.  You are so entirely predictible.  This was never intended to be used in this way, and you know it, but you need it to be different so you can lay it at the feet of the NDP.  What a poser.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Unionist, your reference to the NDP was a bit gratuitous and dangerously close to baiting.

Life, your histrionics are as predictable as they are unacceptable. The next time you respond to something Unionist says about the NDP with a personal attack, you'll be taking a break. This is your last warning.

Life, the unive...

Guess you've never heard of the instigator penalty eh?

Scott Piatkowski Scott Piatkowski's picture

Green Grouch wrote:
Who's the petition going to be sent to and who's organising it, Scott?

I presume that the intent is to collect the names and announce that ____ people signed the petition.`It doesn`t have any of the official wording need to subject a petition to either the provincial or the federal government.

It was set up by Ravi Joshi, who used to frequent babble.

Bacchus
Wilf Day

Unionist wrote:
who was in power in Ontario in 1990?

Red herring. The Act was passed on September 22, 1939 - a few weeks after the British Empire declared war on Germany. The 1990 edition of the Revised Statutes of Ontario was just the usual compilation every ten years -  at least, it used to be usual back in the days of printed law books.  Frown

Unionist

Of course it was a red herring, Wilf. It was a throwaway comment in the middle of a post whose main purpose was to question why no one was outraged at a law that had been in place for decades.

Some parties who come to power have no hesitation in repealing legislation they find offensive. [Example: the Harris regime arrogantly repealing Ontario's anti-scab law.] Others unaccountably do not. [Example: railing against privatization of a public utility, but taking no steps to reverse that once in power.]

I also speculated out loud that it was the authorities themselves who had leaked this "secret" regulation. I'm sure they would far prefer to use it as a weapon of intimidation and inhibition than to actually arrest hordes of people. I'm still interested in knowing how this was publicized.

 

remind remind's picture

:rolleyes:

skdadl

Didn't the story come out because Mr Vasey got arrested and charged on Thursday on grounds he wasn't aware of; his lawyer flagged the shift; and then Chief Blair found himself having to explain when the media actually questioned him closely? I wasn't there, but what I've read of Blair's reaction reads like surprise to me -- I don't think he expected the media to cover this the way they did.

The obvious problem is that a lot of demonstrators have become used to following advice they've been given by lawyers about how they can or shouldn't respond to police, but then McGuinty and Blair changed the rules without telling anyone. My first reaction was to think that Blair kept the shift secret because he is under political pressure to get some arrests to justify the security overkill, given how bad the optics for Harper & Co are so far. But it's more likely, as pogge says, that they just wanted to delay any court challenge long enough to get through the weekend -- memories of Quebec City. They don't care whether the charges stick after Monday.

I think it's always important to be noting how much our governments are doing by "regulatory" rather than legislative change. It's a tactic they've learned from the neocons and neolibs in the U.S., and it is undermining democracy by stealth on every front. Nail 'em for it every time it's discovered.

Unionist

It's like the War Measures Act, skdadl. It was dormant and largely forgotten until Bourassa and Drapeau begged Trudeau to dust it off in 1970. In the current case, there was no need for legislative change, because the original legislation explicitly allowed for adding locations by regulation. One wonders just how many "sleeper" bills exist which could justify martial law and curtailment of Charter liberties without any fuss.

skdadl

Well, sure, ok, as far as that goes. But the shift itself is on two counts nefarious imho, and once discovered, better to speak up late than never.

skdadl

[URL=http://www.pogge.ca/archives/002799.shtml]Miller got sideswiped too -- pogge.[/URL]

remind remind's picture

skdadl wrote:
Nail 'em for it every time it's discovered.

 

Great words, and an application we all need to use, all the time, in respect to many things occuring that are attempts to erode democracy and equality progressions within our society on both a micro and macro level..

remind remind's picture

Just want to note yet again we see 'Liberals" and Conservatives working in tandem, seamlessly, to erode our rights.