Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Making history with PM Harper

He's off on his international duties and jaunts. State visit with the PM of India. Greeting the Queen in Halifax. It's good to be PM and with such a busy schedule to conveniently keep filling the news cycle. A problem for him though as he attempts to get as much distance from this weekend as possible...there's a mess in his wake and it's going to be in his rear view mirror, perched over his shoulder for quite some time.

There's the historic number 900 for starters:
In the largest mass arrests in Canadian history, police arrested roughly 900 people in G20-related incidents during the weekend.
Harper's G20 brain cramp of holding the G20 in downtown Toronto has led him to an historic place indeed. He's outdone the 1970 October Crisis, 465 arrests there, roughly half. Historic times indeed for this PM and it's not all about the carefully crafted summit declaration.

Then there are the accounts from some of the 900 persons detained, held in cages and sexually harassed that are being catalogued and told. The stories of sexual harassment have leapt out of these reports. The calls for an investigation of the widespread arrests are likely going to persist. And if there isn't any kind of federal inquiry, formally, others will be pursuing it. Maybe a parliamentary committee will look into the ISU's oversight of the policing at the G20 and other aspects of this bungle. And then there will likely be lawsuits.

And really, if the largest mass arrests in Canadian history, under highly controversial circumstances, don't prompt some kind of investigation, then what does?

Compensation for Toronto businesses who suffered losses as a result of the damages is another issue the federal government needs to take responsibility for. Letting Toronto twist in the wind after this weekend by leaving it to a foreign affairs spokesthingy to say they'll "consider" compensation is another slap in the face.

Some are still remarkably calling the G20 a win for Harper, in spite of all this. That October crisis comparison keeps popping up though. Worth some serious reflection.