Ms. Communicate: Why protest the G8/G20?

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Editor's Note: Ms. Communicate will be writing twice a month columns on various and sundry issues related to advice, guidance and suggestions for living as happily as possible as citizens of various identities in the 21st century.

Ms. Communicate's column will be appearing on the second and fourth Thursday of the month. Please send in any topics that you would like her to cover, as well as any letters seeking advice, which she'd love to answer. Her email is mscommunicate(at)

What can an advice columnist to the lefties possibly offer about the upcoming G8/G20 summit and the many protests taking place in resistance?

I was asked recently by an acquaintance: What's the point in protesting? Nothing changes anyways, and protesters will only be putting themselves at physical risk of violence.

My answer was: we must. Those of us privileged enough to choose when and how we enter into potential violent interactions with armed agents of the state, and let's be clear, there will be 10,000 of them in Toronto this weekend, those of us who can protest, simply must.
What the G8/G20 summit symbolizes for Canada is plentiful, and none of it is good.

Stephen Harper chose Toronto, a place he has been very clear about hating (even though he was born in Toronto and graduated from Richview Collegiate Institute, a high school I might have attended by the way. Eek.)

So why did Harper choose Toronto? The fancy folks could have stayed up in Huntsville the whole three days.

1. To prove a point. Harper is pretty widely known as a control freak, and has a long memory. Don't mess with him. And I'm not saying this just because I hate him. Harper is flexing his muscles to the world, and Toronto is one way to show, domestically, he can do whatever the heck he wants to. Toronto still is the financial center of Canada. This is big business of course. From the outside I can see him imagining that it would look bad if this farce was held anywhere other than the largest city in Canada. WhatEVER.

2. It will cost more. Seriously, what is it about Conservatives and lavish spending that sends all the conservatives I know (a gratefully small number) into back-bendy-yoga positions to justify? Conservatives communicate fiscal responsibility, even though their track record shows nothing of the sort. More than $1 billion dollars for a three-day party? Made even more complex by starting at one venue and moving to a second? Come on.

G8 countries are the world's worst polluters, violators of the Kyoto Accord and the current crop of colonizers. And they're being hosted, feted, dined and secured for three days. At the cost, as we all know, of over $1 billion.

When the Harper Conservatives show their business agenda, they sure make it obvious don't they? Not that the Liberals would have been much different.

I was traveling back to Toronto on Tuesday this week and found Union Station abuzz with coppers. As my friend and I left the station to hail a cab out on Bay Street, since Front Street is reduced to two lanes and there's no stopping allowed, we saw four police officers harassing one young man, who, wouldn't you know it, was a man of colour. We saw him reach into his pocket and produce his driver's license and train ticket.

And for those who will be out there protesting, risking confrontations with the armed agents of the state at the municipal, provincial, federal and military levels, as well as private security personnel, I'll see you out there.

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