Not my Canada

What the world saw this weekend was not my Canada.  Those people are not my fellow Canadians.  They may hold citizenships that claim otherwise, but they are in no way representative of what I consider to be Canada.  I don’t know who these people are or who they think they are or what they were trying to prove, but I wish they hadn’t done what they did.  It was embarrassing and shameful and they left a stain on something I hold most dear and am most proud of.  My Canadian-ness.

We’re a peaceful people.  We’re polite and kind and easy-going and laid back.  We don’t run the streets with weapons, breaking windows and lighting police cruisers on fire.  We don’t confront police in riot gear.  We don’t warrant police in riot gear. 

If we are passionate about an issue, we protest peacefully.  We lobby and picket and chant.  We make signs.  We hold sit ins.  We write letters to our leaders.  We write letters to our leaders’ opposition.  We make our cause known.  We act with purpose.

We don’t call ourself anarchists.  We respect authority and find a way to protest without antagonizing.  We don’t have tear gas fired at us.  We don’t get billy clubbed.  We don’t get shot with rubber bullets.

Those people this weekend who stole the medias attention are not my Canada.  They are not my fellow Canadians.

***

The police have been criticized for allowing the situation to get out of control.  To that I say simply that the police cannot act unless a crime has been committed.  Once that crime was committed and the police acted, they were criticized for acting too forcefully.  Catch yourself on.  Get a grip.  They acted in an appropriate manner.  The police are not the anarchists, hell-bent on disturbing the peace and the peaceful.  They were charged with protecting the leaders of the free world, Toronto’s public, and the businesses that the people of our province employ and are employed by.  They did their job as best as they knew how.

Remember – this was new to them.  This doesn’t happen in our country.  This was not Canada.  Not theirs, not yours, not mine.

I just hope it doesn’t happen again.

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3 thoughts on “Not my Canada

  1. I agree, this is not what we are known for. Not how people perceive us when we travel the world. It’s disgusting and a travesty!

  2. I don’t see how people could fault law enforcement in this situation. AT ALL. I’ve been to a number of protests, and I’ve seen errors on both sides. There have been situations where the police present are just primed and ready to bust some heads, you can feel it. Then there are situations where officers are being provoked and provoked and provoked by protesters. Neither situation is fair.

    From what I could see way down here, there were a lot of law enforcement personnel showing AMAZING and REMARKABLE restraint in the face of some incredible baiting and disrespect.

    One of the thoughts at the forefront of my mind while following the coverage on Saturday was “I bet Seattle feels somewhat vindicated today.” Still, it always makes me sad when a city –any city, anywhere in the world– loses some of its innocence in such a fashion.

  3. I agree with you to the nth degree. When was the last time you saw fences put up to keep people out of places in Toronto? And with their actions — didn’t they just prove those fences were completely necessary? I am totally 100% behind the police and their actions this weekend. And I hope that those “Canadians” fade away into nothingness again very quickly, or that the justice system appropriately deals with them and their “anarchy” (really, I don’t think that word means what they think it does).

    I hope we never, ever have to host the world leaders again. A lot was accomplished at the meetings — but we’ll never know about it here because all the media cared about was the protests. At least when these meetings are overseas, someone thinks to cover the meetings themselves and what the leaders are able to accomplish.

    I have never been more disappointed in Canadian media (as a whole, not individual networks) as I was this weekend. I had to read the NY Times to find out what really happened at the summit — and wasn’t that the whole purpose in the first place?

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