McGuinty says no to a G20 public inquiry

By CTV Globe Media. 2 July, 2010.

Ontario’s Premier Dalton McGuinty has said no to the idea of an independent public inquiry to review police conduct during the G20 Summit.

“I don’t believe the circumstances warrant an inquiry,” he said in an exclusive interview Friday afternoon with CTV Toronto’s Paul Bliss.

“If some people have concerns, they have various avenues that are available to them.”

And if any level of government should be calling an inquiry, it should be the federal government, McGuinty said.

Two marches have been held in Toronto since the two-day summit of world leaders ended Sunday.

The protesters have called for an independent inquiry and the resignation of Chief Bill Blair of the Toronto Police Service.

They accuse Blair of misleading people about police powers around the three-metre-high security fence that snaked around the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Police had indicated they had the power to demand people within five metres of the fence show then identification or consent to a search. If they did not, they could be arrested under the Public Works Protection Act.

The McGuinty government quietly amended the act before the summit.

As of the afternoon of Friday, June 25, Blair had been advised this was not true. However, no news release was ever issued.

Blair has said that would have been the responsibility of the G8/G20 Integrated Security Unit.

The chief has promised an internal review.

Toronto Police, the OPP, RCMP and officers from police services across Canada were involved in G20 security operations.

More than 1,000 people were arrested, but more than two-thirds were only charged with breach of peace, a very minor offence.

Some believe the police over-reacted with peaceful protest after a group of militants using so-called “black bloc” tactics engaged in vandalism, breaking windows and torching police cars.

Many have decried the conditions that existed in the Eastern Avenue temporary detention centre. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association predicts many lawsuits will be filed and says that the McGuinty government owes the Ontario public an apology.