Archive for June, 2010

Weekend of weekends (part 2)

Posted on June 30th, 2010 1 Comment

…continued from previous part.

On a scale of 1 to 3, with 1 being granola-popping tie-dyed hippies, and 3 being black bloc anarchists, the OCAP (Ontario Coalition Against Poverty) protesters on Friday would probably rate at 2. Not outright violent instigation, but prepared to throw a few punches.

ocap, protest, g20, allan gardens, toronto, city, life

You may have already seen the video in which John Clarke bluntly states, “they have given us war, we’re looking to give them war back”, and “things are not gonna to be peaceful”. This speech was given prior to the march and these quotes weren’t taken out of context. Mr. Clarke further urged protesters not to be afraid of the police which, during this protest march, made their presence clear.

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Weekend of weekends (part 1)

Posted on June 28th, 2010 7 Comments

I had to see it for myself, dear reader. I knew that nothing like it would be in town for, potentially, the rest of my life. So I had to see it for myself.

I am, of course, referring to the G20 summit that shut down most of Toronto over the weekend. I’m sure most people are now well aware of the outrageous costs surrounding the event and I wanted to see what kind of security that kind of money could buy. Even more than that, I wanted to see how the situation would be handled.

At every one of these meetings there are accusations of police brutality, protest situations getting out of hand, riot police, riot police, and more riot police. I needed to see the instigators for myself and not have to rely on either the media, the police, or the protesters for the facts – they could be quite skewed in all directions. The only way I can say anything with authority is to be right there between the riot police and the balaclava’d opposition.

But I’m getting a little ahead of myself. Lots of stuff happened over the weekend but plenty happened before that. There were a number of protest marches and demonstrations throughout the city that, unfortunately, were lost in the subsequent shuffle. There were also a couple of related news items that I think are worth mentioning.

Despite some of the images you may have seen coming out of Toronto over the past few days, the vast majority of the protests and protesters were entirely peaceful.

g20, native rights groups, protests, protesters, allan gardens, toronto, city, life

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A little more G20

Posted on June 27th, 2010 2 Comments

Here’s a video from Miguel Barbosa of YEAH! Films who graciously contacted me through Twitter to see if I’d be interested in posting his footage here. Hells yeah I would!

Just a shame it couldn’t be of something happier…

Visit Miguel’s YouTube site to watch this in HD.

Filed under: B Sides, Contributed, Videos

Just a little G20

Posted on June 26th, 2010 Be the first to comment

Yes, the G20 protests are in full swing and there are photos and stories. However, I have another full day tomorrow and I somehow got myself involved with a Tweet20 meeting (you may be able to guess what’s that’s about).

So, until I get a chance to sit down and do it up properly, here’s the OCAP-led (Ontario Coalition Against Poverty), protest in hastily slapped-together videos.

My favourite was when the riot police came out in formation. :D

Everyone gathered at Allan Gardens…

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TCL Flickr pool

Posted on June 25th, 2010 Be the first to comment

university of toronto, archway, froz'n motion, flickr, pool, contributed, toronto, city, lifeThrough the Archway by Froz’n Motion / Cameron MacMaster

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Rock, blog, and a hard place (part 2)

Posted on June 23rd, 2010 Be the first to comment

…continued from part 1.

And then there are the protesters.

Obviously I believe that they have something to protest. Even the groups that I think are mostly out to lunch deserve to have their voices heard. And both the government and the security forces have repeatedly stated that people have the right to peaceably demonstrate. I mean, putting the “official” demonstration area twelve blocks north of where the summit is happening is laughable, but at the same time, the few recent protests that have taken place moved around the city pretty much unimpeded. Accompanied by Toronto police, of course, but with the cops actually “keeping the peace” — as advertised!

As I’ve been careful to point out, most of the police I’ve encountered so far have successfully walked that thin line between enforcement and accommodation. Good people, and I get the impression that they got into policing for all the right reasons. Basically the kind of cops you’d want policing your streets. And I’ve already spent enough time berating those officers that seem to be ready to cross over the aforementioned line in a non-accommodating way (though the opposite is just as bad).

At the same time, the extra security around town isn’t entirely unwarranted. The tactics being used or espoused by some of the protest groups run the gamut from just plain dumb right up to outright violent. That protest on Monday, for example, the one that I ended up missing while I was having my chat with the riot police, that one ended up at an Esso gas station not too far away. It was a mostly peaceful march and the gas station was occupied for only about 10 minutes — but what the hell was the point?

Presumably the protesters were intending to hurt the Esso Corporation, but none of them seemed to be able to pull their heads out of their asses long enough to realize that a single gas station isn’t the corporation. Most of these stations are operated as franchises by individuals. These people invest in the business, as with any other franchise, and then pay the head company for products, deliveries, etc. Admittedly some locations do better than others, but attacking them is basically the same as attacking individual business owners. And their families. And the customers. Taking over a single location really doesn’t do a whole heck of a lot of damage to the corporation, just to the very people that these protests are supposed to be supporting.

Here again the police exercised restraint and wisdom and let the protesters stick around for a little while before moving them off. Frankly, I believe in property laws (I don’t want random people barging into my place!), so I thought the cops were being quite generous. Plus, as someone who’s had to sit in traffic while placard-waving idiots walked by my car and banged on the hood, blocking off traffic is not something I necessarily approve of. Okay, yeah, a peaceful march and a few minutes of inconvenience is fine. But again, we’re all roughly in the same boat so who are these protests really affecting?

So obviously some of these protesters are missing the point. Wonder if they ever had it to begin with. But they had their fifteen minutes, wasted it, see ya next time.

When they mix violence into it, however, that takes stupidity to a whole new level. And if the Toronto Community Mobilization Network (responsible for putting up, feeding, and organizing most of the visiting protesters), bothered to give it any thought, they’d denounce violence in a heartbeat.

sayed hassan, legal counsel, toronto community mobilization network, protests, protestors, g20, g8, security, police headquarters, carlton street, toronto, city, life

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Rock, blog, and a hard place (part 1)

Posted on June 22nd, 2010 Be the first to comment

My ex-wife used to call me a critical [replace with colourful afjective]. I’m starting to think she may be right.

I mean, the G20 meeting is easy to criticize. The cost, the purpose (or lack thereof), the way the rights of the citizens of Toronto are seemingly being shoved aside without regard; yeah, that all needs to be questioned.

Now more than ever, it seems.

Folks who follow my tweets will no doubt have read about my concerns about the seeming lack of any legal basis for any of the security restrictions. And that’s not just me saying that. Plus, I’ve been asking police what laws I’d be breaking should I breach the security barriers or if I fail to comply with their demands. Not that I necessarily plan to do so, but I’m deeply troubled by the fact that the police themselves don’t know what, specifically, they’re enforcing. If there’s a law (or laws), so be it — if I don’t like it then there’s a system through which it can be changed. But if there is no law…

In other words, if I was put into handcuffs, what would I be charged with? Keeping the peace, protecting private property, these things I understand and respect, but I want to be assured that I can’t be detained for no other reason than “heightened security”. That’s not a law, that’s an excuse, and a very dangerous one at that.

And that’s no longer just my pontification on the subject.

In the middle of the afternoon yesterday I heard about an impromptu protest being staged by the Toronto Community Mobilization Network, a group playing host to many of the protesters coming to the city. They started their march in Allan Gardens, moved down adjacent Sherbourne Street, and were routed west along Dundas by police until they decided to “take over” an Esso gas station at Jarvis. This route wasn’t planned in any way and by the time I got to Sherbourne the group was gone. I though they might’ve moved farther south so I continued along Sherbourne to Queen Street East. There I spotted a number of unmarked vehicles carrying riot police – must be the spot the protesters are heading towards, I thought.

g20, g8, riot police, queen street east, toronto, city, life

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TCL Flickr pool

Posted on June 22nd, 2010 Be the first to comment

kiss, flickr, contributed, photography, -nikkon-, toronto, city, lifekiss by -nikkon-

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The Ford-Doneit-Henderson Affair

Posted on June 21st, 2010 3 Comments

It’s been a while since the Toronto mayoral race had a scandal, don’t you think, dear reader?

The last one toppled Adam Giambrone, reducing Jammers to a sobbing wreck as he was delivering his stepping-down speech. To be honest, we all kinda saw that one coming, didn’t we? Young guy, in politics since he was in diapers; he was overdue for a political misstep. According to the Toronto’s Sexiest Councillor poll (you haven’t voted yet?), he gives most of the councillors a run for their money, and even I’ll grudgingly concede that he’s a fairly good-looking guy, so the fact that it was a sex scandal that took him out (the standard had sex with another woman kind), really didn’t come as a surprise.

The latest one involving Rob Ford, however, was a bit of a surprise. To say it came out of left field would be a bit of an understatement.

Seems Rob got himself tangled up with a Dieter Doneit-Henderson (first name pronounced “Deeter”, second like “doughnut”), a gay guy with Fibromyalgia living somewhere on the west end of the city. From what I could glean; just outside of Rob’s electoral district anyway.

dieter doneit-henderson, mars building, college street, toronto, city, life

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The ambiguously moist Luminato

Posted on June 17th, 2010 3 Comments

Last year’s Luminato experience, at least for me, consisted of a giant red ball, a pricey half pint of beer, and a few moments with Disco Inferno. I didn’t quite know what to make of the festival then and, to be honest, I still don’t really have a handle on what it’s supposed to be.

On the one hand there are events such as live theatre, literature, and artsy staples such as painting and photography, but on the other hand many of the free family-friendly events would be difficult to classify as anything other than pure entertainment.

For a hardcore art experience, Nuit Blanche is a safer bet, and free outdoor entertainment can easily be found, well, just about anywhere during the summer. If you like meaty literature, it’s not tough to find, and getting your live action fix is easily doable too.

But for a festival that seems to be trying to be all things to all people, they do sometimes succeed in breaching the niche in a very satisfying way.

Last night, for example, Luminato had The Moist Towelettes throwing down on the main Yonge-Dundas stage as part of the J-Pop Divas thing.

the moist towelettes, luminato, 2010, performers, japanese pop, yonge-dundas square, yds, stage, toronto, city, life

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