National leaders could have saved a billion dollars with a simple phone call
I remember writing last week that it would have been nice to make it to Toronto for the weekend to be apart of the G20 Summit protests. After that article was posted I remember thinking “What am I stupid? Nothing good ever happens in Toronto!” boy was I right.
I’ve never seen such a spectacular failure on everyone’s account for a political gathering in my life. The activists, the police, the politicians, even the anarchists all had their reasons for being there, but it would have been just as productive and a hell of a lot cheaper if no one had bothered to show up.
Let us start with the politicians and the twenty leaders from twenty nations representing eighty-five percent of the world’s wealth. They had a working dinner, watched a little soccer, had dozens of photo ops and the biggest consensus they could come up with by the end of the weekend was that they should all reduce government spending. Reduce government spending at each nation’s own pace on top of it. For an issue that weak and palpable you’d think a simple conference call between them would have sufficed.
Law enforcement didn’t impress me all that much either. For the two day weekend they had over twenty thousand officers, most of which were dressed head to toe in full riot gear in order to protect (in the words of police chief Bill Blair) the safety and well being of regular citizens. They had two officers for every one protester and didn’t seem to protect anyone but themselves when the violence erupted. Furthermore, with a fraction of the number of activists we saw in Quebec City and Seattle they managed to arrest more people than in both of those places and they included regular citizens and journalists.
That leads me to the “anarchists” and their black bloc tactics. There was only about fifty of them and they would have been better described as thrill seekers or shit disturbers. Real anarchists usually don’t destroy property with the sole purpose of getting on Youtube or getting a nice picture of a bat going through a window for their laptop. I don’t mind when activists destroy property as a tool or political statement so long as they have a good cause and don’t hide behind a mask. Either way, I have to say that even the near riot was a failure. The streets of Toronto didn’t look any worse than the streets of Montreal do after a Canadiens playoff game.
That leaves us with the regular protesters, everyday people like you and me trying to make this a better place for everyone and everything. Too bad those voices of yours didn’t really get heard after Friday, another downer on a weekend full of disappointment I suppose, although this one was not of your own making, but a failure none the less. Oddly enough it wasn’t even the politicians who had to silence you, but the cops, thrill seekers and media; at least there is always a next time. I just hope it doesn’t cost a billion more dollars.