The following is a statement issued by Sudbury MPP and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Rick Bartolucci about Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin's report about special powers given to police during the G20 Summit in Toronto last summer:
I have read the Ombudsman’s report and take Mr. Marin’s findings very seriously.
I said as early as July 2, 2010 that with the benefit of hindsight, the government should have broadly communicated the intention to invoke Regulation 233/10 so that it could have been subject to public discussion.The Regulation was in response to a request from the Toronto Police Service which was concerned with serious and heightened security issues related to the Summit.
I will not be resigning, but I would like to point out a number of comments made by Mr. Marin:
-The Regulation had the “laudable purpose of protecting participants from harm either from terrorist enemies or from protesters.”
-When the Regulation was passed, the ministry simply intended to restrict the Act’s application to the area within the exterior security fence around the restricted zone housing foreign dignitaries
-There is no fair basis for suggesting the Ministry’s purpose was to infringe or deny freedom of expression.
Further, the Ombudsman painted a very clear picture of the violent and often deadly history of previous Summits, including the deaths of 50 people in London, England at the hands of a suicide bomber in 2005.
In the days leading up to the G20 in Toronto, where 20 of the world’s top terrorist targets would be gathering, anarchist websites began to threaten “militant and confrontational” action at the Summit.
There was a bombing in Ottawa with those claiming responsibility promising more of the same at the Summit. And on the eve of the Summit, a Toronto man was arrested and charged with explosives and weapons offences in relation to the G20.
It is worth noting, there were no serious injuries or death resulting from the Summit.
That being said, again, our government should have broadly communicated the intention to invoke the Regulation in advance, in order to subject it to public discussion.
The Ombudsman has indicated he is pleased that our government has promptly committed to act on each of the Ombudsman’s four recommendations in a timely manner.