Justice Paul Rouleau of the Ontario Court of Appeal is listening to a concert of cabinet members this week at his Emergencies Act inquiry. First minister up was super cop, emergency preparedness minister Bill Blair, the former Toronto police chief. Blair is something of an expert in how police can mistreat citizens.
While I might have missed some of the process of Blair’s testimony, it seemed to me that he was getting the softball questions. It was Blair who brought up his handling of the G20 summit in Toronto in 2010. He used it as an example of a planned event where-in the police had control everything from day one of the event.
Exactly why he, as the responsible police chief, let anarchists rampage in Toronto’s downtown one day and then had his force kettle innocent residents, out for an evening stroll the next, has never been explained.
But, strangely enough, Blair was less concerned about the visitors to Ottawa who were in no hurry to go home last February, than the Ambassador Bridge blockade in Windsor, Ontario. He saw the Ottawa visitors as more of the anchor for the groups causing border problems across the country. He was more concerned about these blockades causing problems for Canada’s manufacturing industries. He claimed it was a serious threat to our national security and became a national emergency.
Blair said more than a few times in his testimony that the Ottawa police made a mistake in allowing the ‘Freedom Convoy’ trucks into downtown Ottawa. He must have watched with pride as Ottawa and police from across Ontario as well as Ontario Provincial Police and RCMP used mob kettling techniques to move the truck owners out of the way as commandeered towing vehicles started moving their trucks.
I remember the wife and I watching the process of clearing Ottawa streets on that February weekend. The only time we were concerned was when the Toronto Police horses were brought in to break up the crowds in front of the Chateau Laurier. That mob was so dense that we were concerned that some of the horses could be hurt. It is the first time I have seen horses withdrawn from participating in a crowd situation because of concern for the horses’ safety.
Copyright 2022 © Peter Lowry
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