"To movement, then, everything will be restored, and into movement everything will be resolved."
- Henri Bergson
June 9, 2012
I sometimes think of Canada as one of those science-fiction parallel universes — a world strikingly similar to but slightly different from our own. The differences can be illuminating.
In Ontario a controversy has been raging, as they say, involving legislation that would require schools to sponsor Gay-Straight Alliances, the anti-bullying clubs that some social conservatives see as Trojan horses for the “gay agenda.” (They’re right, if by gay agenda they mean recognition that gay and lesbian students exist and should feel good about themselves and their sexuality.)
The twist is that Roman Catholic schools in Ontario receive government funding.
On July 6, 2010, 10 days after the disastrous G20 summit, Toronto’s City Council voted to “commend the outstanding work of [police] chief Bill Blair, the Toronto Police Service and the police officers working during the G20 Summit in Toronto,” and thank them for a “job well done.” The vote was 36-0. The yeas included then-Mayor David Miller and many other left-wing luminaries. At this point in the G20 post-mortem, this seems a bit hard to believe.
We know much more now about how poorly the security operation was planned and executed: This week’s report from Gerry McNeilly, director of Ontario’s Office of the Independent Police Review, lays it out in painstaking detail. But what we knew 10 days later was bad enough: Thugs had wreaked havoc at will; 400 borderline-hypothermic people were held for hours in the pouring rain for no good reason; police cars were burned; journalists were roughed up and arrested; untold numbers of people were randomly and improperly searched and arrested.
Not much is hugely shocking about Mr. McNeilly’s findings. Mostly it is a much more detailed portrait of the events we already knew. But incident commander Mike Fenton’s justification for the infamous Sunday-evening “kettling” incident in the cold, pouring rain does stand out. He begins by describing the difficult job that police had in tracking and differentiating between peaceful “protesters” and so-called “terrorists.” But then, suddenly, they coalesce:
“On [Saturday, the day before,] the disorder activity was mobile through the downtown core; however, this mobility could not be matched by [police]. Mobility issues resulted in relative free reign for the terrorists to attack without opposition. Therefore the tactic of isolating, containing the movement of the terrorists/protesters was required to stop the ongoing attacks and prevent new attacks from occurring.” (My italics.) He goes on using that terminology for the rest of his statement. Anyone who wasn’t police was now the enemy.
This is an ongoing thing in Ontario as well, where farmer Michael Schmidt is currently appealing a conviction of selling and distributing unpasteurized milk. It’s interesting to note critics of this practice cite health concerns; as noted in the above quote however, there’s little corollary discussion by these same critics of the health impacts of junk food.