Twitter is all-a-twitter about the secret law passed by the Ontario legislature giving police extraordinary search and arrest powers, with many people comparing it to the War Measures Act. A few comments:
1. No one should be surprised that McGuinty went along with the request. Nothing, absolutely nothing, that McGuinty has said or done in his time as premier should lead anyone to suspect that he gives a fig about civil liberties. We’re talking here about a man who won the last election by promising to retain special education funding for Catholics, but only Catholics.
2. This is hardly the first time a Canadian government has done something like this. In 1997, the RCMP spent the better part of the APEC summit harassing, arresting, and pepper-spraying students who were annoyed at the presence of an Indonesian dictator on their campus. Terry Milewski — who should not have to buy himself drinks in this country — did outstanding work on the way the government and RCMP had turned UBC into a “Charter-Free Zone”. For his work, the CBC thanked him by hanging him out to dry.
3. UBC law prof Wesley Pue wrote a number of pieces, both journalistic and scholarly, on how deeply corrupt the whole thing was. He edited a book, Pepper in Our Eyes, that remains a must-read and will likely serve as a decent primer on what is going on in Toronto right now.
4. The Prime Minister of the day thought it was quite hilarious.