Right now in Toronto, Ontario the G20 summit is going on. The G20 is, if you haven’t been paying attention:
A group of finance ministers and central bank governors from 20 economies: 19 countries plus the European Union, a forum for cooperation and consultation on matters pertaining to the international financial system. It studies, reviews, and promotes discussion (among key industrial and emerging market countries) of policy issues pertaining to the promotion of international financial stability, and seeks to address issues that go beyond the responsibilities of any one organization.In the week leading up to the event, much has been made of Toronto’s preparation for the out-of-town dignitaries and protesters expected. A massive fence with concrete barricades was placed. Trash cans were removed, as were some outdoor sculptures. Police and security were brought in by the thousands from outside the city and province. The pre-event price tag was around 1 billion dollars, an amount many found staggering and excessive. I admit, I was one of those people. 1 billion dollars is a huge sum by any account, and even more so when you take into consideration it’s for a 3-day event. I agree that heads of state and other important dignitaries should be protected, but I thought the security measures were extreme; that the dignitaries were so far removed and protected from the general public it felt almost insulting. God forbid they come close to the common man. I see know that line of thinking was wrong, and they should stay away from the common man. Today, on the first official day of the summit, there have been multiple protests and riots. Public and private property has been vandalized, and there has most likely been some looting. As of this writing, two police cars have been stolen and four have been set on fire. It’s unknown if the stolen cars were part of the arson. Tear gas and rubber bullets have been used to disperse crowds. 74 people have been arrested, a number that seems small. Toronto is a wonderful city. It’s clean and beautiful, and it’s people are friendly. I have many friends and family that live in and around the city, and they are just as shocked at the destruction as I am. My husband commented that it couldn’t possibly be Torontonians causing this damage and chaos. I’d like to agree with him, but I’m not as convinced. Comments I’ve seen today from other Canadians have expressed similar sentiments; freedom of expression and speaking your mind is a good thing. Protesting against injustices is a good thing. Random and wanton destruction only serves to hurt everyone involved. I can only witness these events from media reports, but I’m sickened and saddened all the same. This so-called police state is a result of cause and effect. As long as these vandals- they ceased being called the more respectable protester, keep destroying and wreaking havoc on Toronto, then I fully support any means Toronto Police Services use to protect and serve the people of Toronto not acting like they have lost all sense of reason and order. Update: 75 people have now been arrested. I also wanted to add that during the week, much was said from the Toronto and Ontario governments about how the G20 would be good for Toronto. Not only would there be the media attention from the event, but added revenue to the city from the extra spending over the weekend and long-term benefits from tourism. It seems the vandals are too busy breaking things to spend money and the visitors and citizens of Toronto are staying out of the core to avoid everything that’s been mentioned above. The above photos certainly aren’t painting the city in a positive light. At least they got the media attention right, but I’m sure by now they’re wishing the summit never came to Toronto.