Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Black Mark on Canada

Dr. Paul Williamson, the father of a Kent State student, once wrote in a letter to his son, "Avoid revolution or expect to get shot. Mother and I will grieve, but we will gladly buy a dinner for the National Guardsman who shot you." After witnessing the anarchy that erupted during the G8 summit yesterday, I can understand his point of view.

Toronto resembled a war zone yesterday as windows were smashed and police cars were burned by a group of anarchist thugs known as the "Black Bloc". Let's not make the mistake of giving these goons the respectability of labeling them "protesters". The legitimate protesters demonstrated quietly and peacefully, as one would expect from any self-respecting Canadian. The legitimate protest parade was already "fait accompli" by the time the black-garbed, masked hoodlums began their vandalist spree. The only thing that they were protesting was peace, order and the rule of law.

Sadly, it's precisely these types of hooligans that enable our government leaders to justify the expenditure of a mind-boggling one and a half billion dollars for security. Even the harshest critics of the G8 and G20 summits can't deny that a gathering of all of the world's major leaders in a single location makes a tempting target for any fanatical whacko with an agenda of destruction to which he believes to have been ordained by The Almighty Himself.

Ridiculous fake muskokas aside, I would argue that getting the world's leaders together to talk about the many global challenges that we face today including economic, political and natural, can only be a good thing. The jaded may argue that these summits are nothing more than pointless photo ops for a group of talking heads. There may even be some truth to that point of view. But would it be better if the nations of the world simply threw up their hands and didn't even try? Would it be preferable for every nation to focus solely on its own interests rather than trying to work together to find common solutions?

Regardless of what we may think of these summits, I think that most Canadians will agree that nothing justifies what happened in Toronto yesterday. Broken windows and burning police cars are images that we might expect from the streets of Tel Aviv, Belfast or even Paris, but not from Toronto. Canadians are better than that.

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