Children’s rights activists Marc and Craig Kielburger write a weekly online column for the Toronto Star. This week they write, “Last we checked Canada was a free speech zone. It just seems whenever an international gathering rolls into town, things change.”
Their column today extensively quotes Council of Canadians Ontario-Quebec organizer Mark Calzavara.
He says, “The police have been good in saying it’s a free country and you can protest anywhere. In the same breath, they are saying they will strongly encourage protesters to go to these areas. But they have tear gas, batons. It’s an intimidation tactic and coupled with $1 billion. You can’t use the excuse that maybe something will happen to delegitimize protest. It’s a political convenience much more than physical security for everyone. The Summit is really just an extended photo op.”
Calzavara adds, “There is a stage (at the designated protest zone) and a video link into the summits. But it’s the sort of thing that delegates can watch if they want to. But to do it by video is ridiculous. We don’t believe it comes close to fulfilling the legal need of being seen and heard.”
The Kielburgers conclude, “We’re already spending close to a billion dollars on crowd control strategies that keep protesters and politicians safe. Surely, we can allocate some of those dollars to ensuring our rights are protected as well.”