Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Police Serve Us Not Demonstrators

So demonstrators charged up the ramp and closed one of the busiest highways on the continent. Natives plan to block an international bridge, just the latest in harassment in favour of their latest dubious cause.
And the police sleepwalk their way to peaceful arrangements because they care more about the feelings of demonstrators than the screwed public. After all, that's easier. And then there are all those forms to fill out if they actually arrested a few dozen and didn't just let them go after a lecture.
What we need is a new clause in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms - the foundation of our legal system - that gives ordinary Joes and Janes the right to passage without even a second of interference from the latest yahoos who want to scream in our faces from their side of the barricades.
Everyone knows the basic rights and freedoms of the Charter. Included is the right to assembly and freedom of association. The mouthy jerks who brandish those rights in our face would like us to forget that the Charter says the right is to "peaceful assembly."
That doesn't include closing the main ceremonial avenue in downtown Toronto for days because Canadians of Tamil heritage don't like what's happening in the country that they left because they like Canada more. Is this really the way to thank us for our hospitality?
The police arranged on University Ave. a deal to let emergency vehicles through the screaming demonstrators because of all the hospitals north of where they were storming the U.S. Consulate. When I complained about all this to a senior Toronto cop at a reception, he was surprised at my angry comments because our police are now so used to going along with demonstrators and picketers and people just wanting to vent their spleen about something that they forget that most of the people that they are sworn to serve and protect just want to drive and walk on public property without being blocked.
A very senior OPP cop argued with me a year ago that Commisioner Julian Fantino had to moderate his tone in talking about native demonstrators because it didn't help in ending seige situations. Hell, I said, just throw them all in jail, and have the army as back-up if you want.
Ironically, the Charter does get into mobility rights, but that allows Canadians the right to move to other provinces or countries. When the politicians and bureaucrats were drafting its language, they obviously never thought it was necessary to include language saying we had the right to drive down a highway without being blocked by native bonfires.
Strikers have been getting away with malicious nonsense for years even though the Canadian courts have ruled that picketers have no right to stop anyone for even a second if they want to cross a picket line. Union thugs argue that they have the right "for the purpose of communication." Nope, a senior judge threw out that argument. Yet police routinely make deals at strikes that picketers can stop people for 15 minutes or even 30 minutes. And they defend that as the best way to keep the peace.
Even the so-called "civil" servants know what to do with those deals. At Queen's Park they kept even pregnant women standing for 45 minutes without the cops doing a damn thing.
A disgrace for the cops as well as the civil servants. If they can't get their way with arguments, they try to do it by intimidation.
The irony is that Ontario's shrinking union movement and ethnic protesters don't realize as they bask in the media attention that all this publicity is just hurting their alleged causes. The 24-hour news cycle likes to fill with pictures and stories of the latest demonstrations but it doesn't mean the media think it is that important or that there is general acceptance of the noise.
Sit-ins in corporate headquarters and university presidential offices used to be the way to go. Saul Alinsky, one veteran organizer in the U.S., mourned just before he died that he knew the days of sit-ins were over when one university president showed off his new official digs which included two lobbies, special washrooms complete with change tables, and escape staircases. Alinsky was famous for such stunts as having people line up at every teller's window with transactions of only $1, bringing banks to a standstill, and then there was his protest at O'Hare airport where he threatened to have blacks stand before every urinal and sit on every toilet for entire days. The airport administration settled, and it should have, because integration of that giant airport went to the core of the rights of workers of every colour.
If only the demonstrations here had such lofty goals. The U.S. Consulate in Toronto is the favourite site to let off steam, often on issues that have little to do with the States and nothing to do with Canada, and the building and its surroundings have been hardened so that protesters haven't a hope in making a dent. But then all they want is to make the news, for someone to pay attention, which often backfires.
It's time for all levels of government and policing to end this nonsense. Each year it gets worse, and the protesters and the cops may have got used to it but the public hasn't. Nor should we! When you block me, you make me mad. Because you have no right to do so. It's certainly not the best way to win friends and influence people.

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