rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

G8/G20 Communiqué: New powers of arrest for police

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca for as little as $5 per month!

Without the public's knowledge, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair requested and received new sweeping police powers for the duration of the Summit (June 24 - June 28, 2010). The new police powers were granted by the Ontario Legislature under the Ontario's Public Works Protection Act and were not debated in the Legislature.

This information came to light after the arrest of the amazing activist Dave Vasey and was featured in an exclusive by the Toronto Star.

Quote: "Vasey was held under the Public Works Protection Act and charged with refusing to comply with a request of a peace officer. His bail lawyer, Howard Morton, said that, as far as he knows, Vasey is the first to be arrested under the new regulation.

Vasey was held under the Public Works Protection Act and charged with refusing to comply with a request of a peace officer. His bail lawyer, Howard Morton, said that, as far as he knows, Vasey is the first to be arrested under the new regulation."


-- According to the new regulation, "guards" appointed under the act can arrest anyone who, in specific areas, comes within five metres of the security zone.

-- Within those areas, police can demand identification from anyone coming within five metres of the fence perimeter and search them. If they refuse, they face arrest. Anyone convicted under the regulation could also face up to two months in jail or a $500 maximum fine.

Personally, this sounds like a frakked up sneaking way to impose martial law over Toronto for the weekend. I mean, we know that this was passed in secret on June 2; so what other secret laws did the police ask the Ontario Government to pass that we don't know about?

Is this what democracy looks like?

For me, there is no guarantee that police will play by their own rules. Sure, it says five metres from the fence but how are you gonna prove that you were actually 7 or 20 metres from the fence if you get arrested and contest the charges. Also, during an aggressive protest situation, the police could easily claim you refused to show ID when maybe they didn't even ask.

The police could potentially move around downtown Toronto picking off anyone they like.

Toronto activist know that the police here often arrest first and sort it all out later.

So please: don't go anywhere alone; ALWAYS TRAVEL WITH A BUDDY

Please, try to not let this news panic -- empower yourself with as much information as you can.

And don't isolate yourselves -- talk to other activists about how you feel about these new draconian police powers and plan among your friends or affinity group how you guys want to move forward.

But please, keep moving forward. Steady Now. Don't let them steal away your rights.

Follow rabble.ca and I on Twitter: @krystalline_k and rabble.ca @rabbleca 

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.