Being from Montreal, I never thought there would be days that I’d rather be in Toronto. This coming weekend, leaders of the top 20 industrialized nations in the world will descend upon Toronto for the G20 summit followed as closely as possible by thousands of protesters. I wish I could be one of them.
Activists of all shapes and sizes should be out en mass to show their discontent about everything, whether it’s global warming or poverty, the fake lake or Stephen Harper’s awful haircut. The point is I don’t think there has ever been less of a shortage of things to complain about.
Any given dissident could carry a dozen different protest signs if only they had enough hands. Think about itâ€¦ Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, global warming, unemployment, the economy, gay rights, immigration, global poverty, etc. the list goes on and on. Hopefully some of those voices will get to be heard.
Everyone by now knows of the cost of the twin summits in Huntsville & Toronto totaling a billion dollars plus, estimates are about nine hundred million for security alone. In fact there’s as much being spent on security for these two day summits that were spent on the entire 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. With that kind of price tag I have to wonder if it’s the governments aim to keep the protesters out of trouble or to keep them quiet.
One way or another I’m sure the malcontents will do everything in their power to make their opinions known and rightfully so, but I can’t help but think that things are going to get very ugly. Harper’s goal of showing off the beauty of Canada’s largest city just might backfire as the rest of the world will only see fortress Toronto and the turmoil around it.
With so many police being present and such a big demonstration expected it is hard to believe everything will go smoothly. A high level of police enforcement always puts fear into people and of course when people are afraid they tend to do stupid things. All it takes is one spark from the cops or the protesters to start the fire and let’s not forget the criminal element who might try and disrupt things for their own gain.
It almost feels as if the conservative government is challenging protesters by spending so much to fence or wall off blocks of downtown Toronto. The more money they spend the bigger the challenge and everyone knows a wall or meager fence can’t hold back an angry mob (who remembers Quebec City?).
All in all, I have no idea what’s going to happen this weekend, but I don’t think it’s going to be pretty. I just hope everyone has a chance to be heard and nobody’s freedom or civil rights get trampled on. More importantly though, I hope no one gets hurtâ€¦ or killed.
G20 countries and their leaders: