As per Guy’s suggestion, I have decided to revisit my thoughts about the G20 after the dust settled (and the rain cleared).
Monday may have marked the beginning of a new week, but Torontonians were not letting the events of the weekend go — another protest began at police headquarters, marched across College St. to University, down to Queen and over to city hall.
Apparently, the group was protesting the treatment of police Sunday night when a whole bunch of people (including those just in the neighbourhood and journalists) were held at Queen and Spadina Sts. and threatened with arrest. They were let go after nearly five hours of standing on the street surrounded by police.
And if Twitter is an indication, it was also a way for people to shame Toronto Mayor David Miller (who likely would totally have been at his City Hall office at 8 o’clock at night) for praising the work done by the police over the weekend and not asking questions.
Here’s what I wonder: All of these people joining groups on Facebook calling for inquiries to the way security was handled during the G20 or saying Miller should step up and all of those on Twitter making sure to use Miller’s account in their tweet in the hopes he sees the anger, how many of them actually voted in the last municipal election? The last federal election.
A giant protest outside of city hall and police headquarters in not necessarily the way to get your message across (I went to York University, where people protest about protests). Exercising your democratic right by voting is the sure way to enact change (that and there is the Toronto police services board for complaints — Miller made that abundantly clear to Torontonians in his press conference Monday morning).
In fact, if you look at all the peaceful protests on Saturday: The ones for women’s reproductive rights around the world, climate change, poverty, etc. etc., voting for someone who shares your viewpoint on all of these things is one of the easiest ways to try and get action on them.
What I fear from the vast majority of the current angry mob is that they haven’t voted, or don’t vote, for the old fear the guy they want will never get elected, anyway. I understand that adage — it’s one I subscribe to myself. But it shouldn’t be. After all, voting for who you think is going to win, or not voting because you feel your vote is worthless, is not democracy in action.
I would hedge my bets that even if Miller was running again, he would not condemn the police service. From what I’ve heard, it wasn’t Toronto Police that held all those people at Queen and Spadina. He can’t tell the cops how to do their job, that is not his job as mayor. A politician who tells the police what to do and how to act is not what we want to happen in Canada, because that could lead to a loss of democracy and freedom.
As for the cries on Sunday night demanding our dear old Mayor make an appearance, he was detained at other engagements — and then a city emergency when Union Station began to flood because of the rain. No doubt if he had ignored that to deal with Queen and Spadina, a whole different group of citizens would be yelling shame, shame at him when the station was closed Monday morning.
Should an independent inquiry be held about the police actions over the weekend? Yes. Should Miller be the one to demand it? No. This was not his meeting. It was not his decision to hold it in Toronto — or to close off downtown for days by building a fence. Miller is not the enemy in all of this (neither, really, is Stephen Harper).
Demand an inquiry by writing letters to politicians who can make that happen. File a complaint with the police services board if you were treated badly. Exercise your right this fall to vote for a city council you feel you can trust, you align with your beliefs.
If you really must blame Miller, then at least take it off social networking and into the real world by real action. A tweet can never replace action.