27 Jun Self-indulgent lefties let Harper off the hook – updated & corrected
Pinto Pony Productions, a small Toronto video production house specializing in non-invasive filming techniques, took to the streets of Toronto this weekend and shot the best roundup of demonstrator-vs.-police violence I could find on YouTube. The protesters did not impress the filmmakers.
The Harper Government made a serious miscalculation with its absurd expenditure on security for the G8/G20. Halifax did a G8 nine years ago for $27 million, and Pittsburg did a G20 last year for $95 million [see correction below]. Harper spent ten times that amount: $12 million an hour over the three days; three times what security for any international leaders’ gathering has ever cost before.
This plays to the nagging doubts middle-of-the-road Canadians have about Harper. It hints at the proto-fascism we suspect lurks in the old Reform core of the so-called Conservative Party. It shows contempt for civil liberties. It bespeaks a brand of hypocrisy that pitches fiscal conservatism out the window whenever the police or the military want more goodies. A week ago, I thought Harper had fatally damaged his chances of getting a majority with this jingoism.
Not now. By making common cause with masked blackshirts bent on smashing windows, burning police cars, and throwing rocks, peaceful protesters have stupidly squandered that advantage. Public opinion, firmly on our side week ago, is now firmly on Harper’s. Spare us any whining about police over-reaction. I just watched all the YouTube videos I could find of the Toronto events, most of them taken by protest sympathizers, and saw little that could be termed seriously out of line in the police response (and I write as someone who witnessed truly vicious police actions in Chicago, Ill., in 1968 and 1970, and in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963). This time, the left was both self-indulgent and self-defeating. (See Update below.)
There was one protest moment that Pinto Pony videographer Bill Stoppard did like, however:
[Update] After I posted this, a video by Meghann Millard surfaced, showing a police attack on apparently peaceful demonstrators who were singing, O Canada! Not exactly Birmingham or Chicago scale police violence, but utterly stupid nonetheless.
Imagine how Harper would look today if this is the only kind of protest police faced in Toronto. Instead, the moronic blackshirts gave him all the excuses he needed.
[Correction] The Halifax G7 was in 1995, not 2001, so 15 years ago, not nine. The federal budget for that summit was $28 million; the provincial budget, $5 million. Lots more info here. Thanks to David Rodenhiser, one of Contrarian’s crack researchers, er, readers, for the correct info.