Canada – Toronto should never again host G20: McGuinty

Ontario’s Premier Dalton McGuinty says he’d prefer not to see another G20-type summit in Toronto ever again, saying the experience scarred the city.

“There’s got to be a better way … I think it was very intrusive on life on Toronto,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

“Burning police cars is not something anybody will forget for a very long time.”

G20 Chaos

Photo Gallery - Toronto Chaos G20 - Canada

Photo Gallery - Toronto Chaos G20 - Canada

100 Pictures: Protesters torch cruisers, smash windows, clash with police.

If Prime Minister Stephen Harper ever asked him to host another summit of world leaders, McGuinty said his response would be, “‘We’ve been there, we’ve done that’.”

The federal Conservative government insisted on holding the June 26-27 summit at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

The city had objected, wanting it held at the Canadian National Exhibition grounds.

While huge expenditures were made to secure the summit perimeter, vandals using “Black Bloc” tactics damaged the windows of banks and coffee shops.

Police cars were torched. The rampage continued for some time.

The police would later say their priority was on securing the perimeter and protecting the leaders.

Police took the perimeter so seriously that they let the public believe they would have to identify themselves to officers, answer questions and submit to a search if they came within five metres of the outside of the three-metre-high fence.

It wasn’t until after the summit that Blair admitted his officers didn’t have that power under a section of the Public Works Protection Act.

“The fact is we informed Chief Blair immediately with regards to clarifying his comments, and we tried to clarify it with interviews,” Community Safety Minister Rick Bartolucci said.

“In hindsight, a statement would have been much better.”

CTV Toronto’s Paul Bliss said despite the many questions about how security at the summit was conducted, the province will not call a public inquiry.

The Toronto Police Services Board announced Tuesday it would allow for an independent civilian review of the policing controversies.

More than 1,100 people were detained over the G20 summit period. More than 700 were released without charged. Two-hundred-sixty-three people are facing charges.

In a news release Tuesday about the civilian review, the Law Union of Ontario said any review must examine the following issues

  • mass arrests
  • detention of law-abiding citizens in public areas (“kettling”)
  • the detention of the public — mostly without lawful grounds — at the Prisoner Processing Centre without access to counsel
  • the “horrific conditions of the PPC”
  • the delayed release of prisoners

“We note that to date, the PSB is the only official ‘government’ body that has taken steps to initiate a review of police conduct vis a vis civilians during the summit,” the group said.

It called for a wider public inquiry.

Meanwhile, the Toronto Police Service held a Tuesday news conference to all for the community’s help in arresting people allegedly involved in G20 mayhem by sending in photos and video.

On Tuesday, the police said they were beginning the process of taking down special G20 video security surveillance cameras.

With a report from CTV Toronto’s Paul Bliss

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