The Toronto Star reported today that there will be an independent review of amendments made to Ontario’s 1939 Public Works Protection Act (which was originally passed to deal with home front security risks during WW2).
The amendments to this Act were the basis of the “G20 Secret laws” – including the fictional “Five-metre rule” – that McGuinty’s Parliament passed on June 2, 2010. The changes were made by the government without public debate before the G20 Summit in June, 2010.
For example, the Act allowed the government to designate certain areas within the downtown G20 security zone as a “public work” and thus deserving of special police protection.
From here, Torontonians got the whole “Five-metre rule” – a lie (perpetuated by Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair) that police had special powers of arrest and detention which they could apply to anyone who was found within five metres from the G20 security zone between Saturday June 26, 2010, and Sunday June 27, 2010.
For example, if a person refused to identify himself or herself to the police within that five metre boundary, they could be arrested and could face a penalty of up to two months in jail or a $500 fine upon conviction.
That was the lie the Toronto police were operating under – and had led the public to believe. After the G20 Summit, the Ontario government publically denied that any such “Five-metre rule” ever existed.
Some of you may remember the curious case of activist Dave Vasey who was charged during the G20 Summit under the fictional “Five-metre rule” (which again, the police led the public to believe was an amendment to the Ontario’s Public Works Protection Act) because he refused to identify himself to the police even though he didn’t know he was required to by (the non-existent) law.
Well, when Dave Vasey – the only Canadian charged under the rule that never existed and one of two in total – appeared in court on Wednesday July 28, 2010, as his summons dictated, he found the charge had mysteriously disappeared. His name was nowhere to be found on the docket. The court also had no information about his case. There was no written or computer file. Nothing.
In fact, it was only after Vasey’s arrest did the new (false) police powers become public knowledge.
According to the Ontario government’s explanation, the amendments were published prior to the G20 Summit on a specialized provincial legislation website known as e-Laws on June 16, 2010 but this website is not well known.
Premier McGuinty later acknowledged, “There was no five-metre rule. It was constantly published in print and republished on TV and radio and there was no foundation in fact for that… And we should have acted on that sooner to make it clear.”
Is this what democracy looks like?
We’re so glad you stopped by!
Thanks for consuming rabble content this year.
rabble.ca is 100% reader and donor funded, so as an avid reader of our content, we hope you will consider gifting rabble with a donation today!
Whether it be a one-time donation or a small monthly contribution, your support is critical to keep rabble writers producing the work you’ve come to rely on as a part of a healthy media diet.