Justice in Canada is blind, but you get the impression that she’s winking behind the bandage, with her thumb on the scale.
The police who willfully violated the Charter rights of more than a thousand innocent Canadian citizens during the G20 in 2010 have escaped virtually unscathed from Canada’s “justice” system. Watchdogs have failed to bark; oversight bodies have not overseen, but overlooked. The media did much of the heavy lifting in order to get one or two of the cops involved identified, something that the Ontario Special Investigations Unit was somehow unable to do. The relatively new and ludicrously under-resourced civilian review agency, OIPRD, has forced the Toronto Police Service to charge all of five of the hundreds of goons involved in the violence. They were caught on tape. Not much choice there, really.
But the fellows who tore off a disabled man’s prosthesis and ordered him to hop to the paddy wagon, who threatened women prisoners with sexual assault, who confined hundreds of Canadian citizens under conditions that violate international law—well, they’re still out there, serving and protecting, and threatening people in their spare time.
The machinery of the state was brought into quick motion, however, against anti-G20 folks—and I’m not talking about the idiots wearing black who were permitted to run riot on the first day of the G20 protests, either. I’m talking about people like Mandy Hiscox.
Hiscox is a political prisoner presently doing time in an Ontario jail after being given an offer she couldn’t refuse. To cover the egregious police abuses against Canadian citizens during the G20 protests, the Crown needed to draw blood from the protesters themselves: skilful negotiations led to the least possible amount of it being spilled. Hiscox was arrested in classic Third World style before the demonstrations even began.
Let me say straight off that I don’t share Mandy’s politics, although we likely hold a lot of values in common, and I salute her courage: in fact, I’m in awe of it.
She is now a blogger over at Rabble.ca. Her takes on prison life, the stories she tells, are both eye-opening and depressing. Not that recounting those stories has been easy: the one linked to was dictated over the phone after her snail-mail copy (she’s not allowed internet access) mysteriously disappeared.
Read her prison dispatches and weep.
The fact that nearly two years after the fact the uniformed thugs who brutalized Canadians, and their commanders, and the political bosses who command the commanders, have not been brought to justice, have not faced a public inquiry, have managed to deep-six the whole thing, tells me that it’s possible to suspend our oh-so-precious Charter of Rights any time the state wills it. The travesty that was the G20 in Toronto lives on in infamy. Folks like Mandy Hiscox are bravely speaking out from behind prison bars. We should all heed the age-old lessons in all this, and join our voices with hers.