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Toronto G20: Kafka Style

June 30, 2010 2 comments

I am still in shell shock regarding the events of the weekend. I realize that in many parts of the world, widespread state violence is the norm, but I am of the privileged class and have never been subject to it before. Yes, when I was younger I was in some protests opposing the Iraq war, where things got pretty heated with the cops. I also accidentally got stuck in an anti-Bush protest in Rome where the crowd was tear gassed and shot with rubber bullets, but this pales in comparison to what Toronto turned into this weekend. I saw people indiscriminately arrested and beaten by the police, 500 (the detention at Queen and Spadina has now been estimated at 500 people) of my fellow citizens detained for three hours, citizens illegally searched and over 900 people arrested and put in cages.

Some of you may know that Canada was once subject to terrorist groups. One of the worst of these terrorist groups was the FLQ, which was a group consisting of French separatists. In the 70s the FLQ detonated 95 bombs in Quebec and even kidnapped and killed the Minister of Labour Pierre Laporte. The War Measures Act was enacted and 497 individuals were arrested, about half of the amount arrested in Toronto over the weekend. I don’t know about you, but I think the FLQ was a little worse than the 50 or so 16-year old vandals. It is crazy that police arrested more people during the G20 protests than the October Crisis. Also, the leaders of the FLQ ended up getting sent to Cuba to chill on the beach, and were never subject to the conditions of the Toronto detention centre.

More reports are coming out every hour regarding police abuses and how those arrested were treated. One of the most disturbing is Amy Miller, a journalist, who accuses police of threatening to rape her.

One of the most compelling accounts, I read, was a note on facebook by Tommy Taylor who got arrested. Like many Torontonians, Tommy wandered around the city during the G20 (our mayor, in fact, told people to go out). He happened upon the peaceful protest at the Novotel, where Steve Paiken valiantly tweeted from, on Saturday night. Tommy and his friends stayed to sing John Lennon’s Give Peace a Chance when the riot police boxed the crowed in. Tommy stated that numerous people, who were not part of the protest, were boxed in, including a couple leaving dinner at the keg and people walking home from work. Tommy was subject to dehydration, starvation and abuse at the detention centre. He gives a very even handed account, and even states that many police officers were upset with their orders (though “I was just following orders” is not an excuse in my book)

Tommy and his girlfriend Kate about to be arrested

Please read his account here

I was crying when I read this and I do not know how anyone could support the measures taken by the police after reading Tommy’s account.

Many people have a hard time questioning the police because they are supposed to be there to protect us. Before the G20 debacle, I had great respect for the police (I even very briefly dated a cop).

I have now lost a lot of confidence in the police force, and as Naomi Kline said “Don’t play public relations, do your goddamned job!” There was no reason the police could not have stopped the black bloc (they were getting paid 1.2 billion dollars). It disturbs me that, according to Kline, they were sending out press releases while the black bloc was destroyed Toronto, stating that the violence demonstrated why the 1.2 billion dollars was necessary.

I don’t doubt that most cops are good people, but I have a big problem with spending so many of my tax dollars (1.2 billion) on overtime and weapons of destruction, only to have my city turned into a war zone.

I urge everyone to contact the Mayor of Toronto, David Miller (mayor_miller@toronto.ca), Your MP
and MPP
and insist there be an independent inquiry.

I would also urge people email Bill Blair a message calling for his resignation, as it has now come to light that the police lied to the population and did not have the right to search people without a warrant outside of the security fence. Here is his email (officeofthechief@torontopolice.on.ca)

Police State

June 28, 2010 6 comments

I used to be fairly involved in political issues, but decided against doing much for the recent G20 in Toronto. I had some bad experiences this past year at school, and now would rather communicate with people rather than take part in divisive events. For the G20, I actually wanted to hear what the leaders had to say. Don’t get me wrong, I was upset about the 1.2 billion dollars it cost to hold the G20, and I was concerned about holding it in downtown Toronto, but I had a “wait and see” attitude going into the event.

On Saturday I decided to go shoe shopping instead of risking the rain at Queens Park (yes I realize I am a very frivolous person), but I had numerous friends at different points in the downtown core, either taking part or watching the mayhem.

My family was actually at Queen and Peter eating lunch at where the so-called “black bloc” ran amuck. Apparently there really wasn’t very many of them, and they were mostly kids. The most disturbing aspect of the mayhem was the police stood by and watched it happen.

My beautiful sister eating lunch while riot police watch mayhem on Queen St.

This occurred at almost every point the destruction occurred:

James Ruehle, a 49-year-old contractor from Pickering, a half hour’s drive from Toronto, saw the burning of the three police cruisers.
Ruehle was stopped in his truck at the lights at the corner of King and Bay streets in the city’s financial district as the protesters approached.
Three police vehicles zipped past the line of traffic into the intersection, where they stopped with lights flashing. A group of about 20 to 30 police then began to congregate but an officer Ruehle thought was a police captain ordered them back.
“The cop was yelling at them ‘Back up!’ ‘Put your batons down!'” said Ruehle.
The police in the cars, he said, then amazed him by backing off, leaving the cruisers running in the middle of the intersection with their lights flashing and doors open.
“It was like an invitation G (to the protesters),” said Ruehle.

I have no proof that anything nefarious occurred, but as I tax payer I want an explanation as to why these cars were left unattended.

I was reminded how Quebec police were caught being agents provocateurs at the North American Leaders summit in Montebello, and I also want assurances that did not happen here:

While some police officers abandoned police vehicles to the “black bloc”, other began to violently suppress a rally in the so-called “free speech zone”.

At Queens Park they also indiscriminately arrested a CTV News producer Farzad Fatholahzadeh who was visibly wearing media credentials.

Farzad was held in abhorrent conditions (he stated he was not given water for hours), where he witnessed injured people not receive medical attention.

Farzad was not the only journalist targeted by police, Steve Paikin from TVO, witnessed fellow journalist Jesse Rosenfeld get punched and arrested by police.

There is also this video of another journalist Jesse Freeston punched by police.

The last straw, for me, was watching what occurred Sunday night at Queen and Spandina. Police corralled 250 people (some who were just waiting for the streetcar) and detained everyone for 3 hours in the rain without cause or explanation. This was a travesty and made me disgraced to be Canadian.

The Police have a lot of explaining to do!

Categories: Politics, Rants Tags: , ,

Bra Manifesto

One thing both Oprah and I agree on is the importance of proper undergarments. This is especially true for those of us who have been blessed (or some would say cursed) by the breast fairy. Having a large bust can be problematic making it hard to shop and feel comfortable in clothes. Big-breasted women are also often either mocked or gawked at by people when we wear anything that isn’t a loose fitting sweatshirt. Why is it a problem when anyone larger than a B-cup wears a tank top? And don’t get me started on the topless double standard between men and women! This was not meant to be a rant on patriarchy, so I will get down to the topic at hand, bras.

Some may say bras are a tool of oppression (I am looking at you, Germaine Greer), but I say they are a godsend. Without proper support it honestly hurts me to move around, and it may be superficial but clothes fit better with a good bra. While doing my research on this article (ok I was reading Wikipedia) I did find a lot of information on studies that suggest that not wearing a bra for a prolonged period of time may help with decreased breast pain, but it is unclear if the women in these studies were wearing a properly fitting bra.

For me, a properly fitting bra has exponentially decreased my back paid. It seems that the standard sizes that are found in underwear stores, like La Senza do not actually fit a lot of women. Most women tend overestimate the width size of their bra and underestimate their cup size. For example, after a proper fitting, it was discovered that I am a 32 F, which is a size I have never seen in a regular underwear store.

The only setback to getting a good bra is often the price. Stores that properly fit you tend to carry top of the line bras that can cost over $100 each. This may seem like a lot but they last a very long time. The last time I purchased bras was 3 years ago and they are still wearable.

They also now have a new cleaning product called Soak. You just soak your bras every night and don’t have to rinse and this will preserve your bras.

Soak: a great and easy wash for your bras

Yesterday, I decided it was time to get a few new bras, so I went to Secrets From Your Sister located at Bathurst and Bloor for a fitting. This store is great, but most specialty bra stores that I have gone to either in Canada or in Europe have been great (people tend to me nice when there is the possibility of selling you $100 bras).

I decided on three new bras. They are not as lacy as I generally like, but the fit for each was amazing and  they are still very pretty.

Freya brand "Frankie" $113 CAD

Freya brand "Summer Demi" $123 CAD

Empereinte "Sofia" $145 CAD

All of these bras will be great with almost any outfit, and because they are so pretty I have no qualms showing them under a sleeveless top. My mindset is if my bra is so pretty it must be classy, and no one can contradict my confidence. People are going to stare no matter what when you have big breasts so my sisters walk tall and proud in your tanks with a pretty bra, and feel FABULOUS!