One of the gravest assaults on civil liberties by George Bush II was the idea of "free speech zones" in which protest would be allowed - in blatant violation of the right to free speech contained in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. And now these abominations on freedom have come to Canada.
For the G20 summit taking place in Toronto in late June, the Integrated Security Unit (a concretion of the Toronto Police Service, the Ontario Provincial Police and the RCMP have declared a "designated speech zone" for protests. This is obscene. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms declares that all of Canada is, subject to reasonable limits, a designated speech zone. The notion that only in certain areas are the people to be free to exercise their constitutional rights is antithetical to free expression. Protesters are supposed to be mollified by the fact that there will be a "live feed" to the convention centre where the high priests of capital will be meeting so that the protests will be "visible." A few monitors showing protesters does not recompense us for our lost liberty.
I was prepared to accept the idea that there might be an area in which protests would be prohibited. I wasn't happy about the idea, but I was prepared to go along with it. But the notion that the entire city, with the exception of Queen's Park, is going to be an area in which free expression is to be suppressed is intolerable. The G20 has the right to meet, but they don't have the right to meet out of sight and out of mind of the people objecting to them. Shame on the police for going out of their way to curb our liberty. What a great commitment to constitutional governance they have.
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