Friday, August 6, 2010

Prime Minister's office response to G20 email

I recently sent an email to Prime Minister Stephen Harper regarding the police action at the G20 summit in Toronto. Below is the email and the response from his office. Thanks to Jared Ferrie for drafting the email.

Dear Mr. Walters:

On behalf of the Prime Minister, thank you for your recent correspondence regarding the conduct of the police forces providing security for the G8 and G20 Summits. Our office has noted your concerns. Our Government takes the allegations which have been raised seriously, and believes that they should be given all due consideration under existing mechanisms for handling complaints regarding police conduct.

Thank you for taking the time to write.


Susan I. Ross
Assistant to the Prime Minister

>>> From : Brenton Walters Received : 30 Jun 2010 02:26:17 PM >>>

>>> Subject : G20 debacle >>>>

Dear Sirs:

At this point I imagine that I am only one of perhaps millions of Canadians who are shocked and deeply disturbed by reports of possible abuses by police at the G20 summit in Toronto. I would like to add my voice to the growing number of people calling for a public inquiry into police actions during the summit. In particular I am disturbed by:

- The fact that Black Bloc members were allowed to run rampant through the streets of Toronto, smashing windows and even setting fire to police cruisers, despite the presence of police close by.

- The fact that police then apparently allowed Black Bloc members to enter crowds of peaceful protestors, remove their black clothing and blend into the crowds.

- The response by police after the Black Bloc violence to corral peaceful protesters into confined areas where there was no escape.

- The arrests of approximately 900 protestors under the supposed justification of seeking out Black Bloc members (whom police had previously allowed to rampage unhindered and subsequently escape).

- The many testimonies of peaceful protestors who accuse police of abuses, including: unwarranted use of force causing bodily harm; threats of sexual violence; denying medical care to detainees; holding detainees for as many as 13 hours in overcrowded paddy wagons and holding cells; refusing to give detainees access to toilet facilities resulting in some having to urinate where they were being held; turning air conditioning units on high in paddy wagons filled with rain-soaked detainees leading some to experience possible hypothermia; verbal abuse and threats.

- The fact that high ranking police officials and politicians created the impression that there was a law against protestors coming within five metres of the security fence when in fact no such law existed.

In particular, I would like a public inquiry to answer these questions:

- Why did police not prevent members of the Black Bloc from causing property damage? How is it possible that these people were able to cause such damage in downtown Toronto despite a massive police presence?

- Were there undercover police officers involved in Black Bloc activities and if so, how many, and what were they tasked with?

- Were peaceful protestors illigally detained?

- Are police officers guilty of abuse? If so, what penalties will they face?

- Most importantly I would like to know how the money for policing was spent, especially considering the $1 billion set aside for providing security is by far the largest budget of any G20 summit. I am sure I am not alone among Canadians in demanding to know exactly how that extremely high security budget was allocated. And I am sure that most Canadians would like to see their government act responsibly and account for every single dollar of public money that was put towards security at the G20 summit.


Brenton Walters
Vancouver, Canada

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