Stephen Harper, Canada’s Prime Minster, has been criticized for mistakes and arrogance in the way he governs his country but none are as clear and resounding as his decisions regarding the G20 meeting.
While Canadians watched as their historically violent free downtown core became something resembling a military zone this weekend, the world watched as windows were smashed, riot police fought off ambushes and police cruisers went up in smoke.
Canadians have been extremely critical of the $1.2 billion spent on what many feel is a photo-op meeting with world leaders. Harper, considered by many to be clone of Bush, has received scathing editorials around the country about his decision to move the meeting from an up north vacation spot to a second downtown location. His decisions have allowed outrageous spending for wasteful items including a fake lake. They have also forced businesses to shut to secure the financial district at a time when many businesses are only starting to recover from a deep recession.
Downtown Toronto was a barren landscape for much of last week as businesses sent workers home forcing them to either take time off or work offsite. Windows were boarded up, statues taken away, bus load of protesters arrived, riot police fought off mobs, and citizens were forced to either show identification or leave the city and highways completely.
No one is doubting the need for security but to host this event in 2 distance locations, with one of them being in the core of the city, only shows how out-of-touch Harper is.
Canadians are for most part peace loving individuals. We pride ourselves for not starting fights, being honest, and yes maybe a little naive. We do have national pride (exhibited recently while hosting the Winter Olympics) but generally we sit back and take the world stage with stride. It is with that same conservative and bashful ego that we watched in horror as the recent events unfolded.
The G20 pledged $5 billion over 5 years for world health when many women and children are dying around the world. Previous pledges have not been reached yet Canadians can spend this outrageous amount only to have the city ripped apart is a complete disgrace. Harper’s disregard to safety, economics and humanity were a complete disgrace for every Canadian. He should be ashamed to call himself a Canadian.
For countries around the world this type of scene may be common and business as usual but for Canada it is not. We can only be thankful that it makes us sick and spurs us to speak up in outrage.
Throw Harper out next election for this and other decisions. Make the leaders know that ignoring the will of the people, reacting with obnoxious arrogance and criminal spending will no longer be tolerated. Good riddance.