Monday, July 05, 2010

G20 Martial Law - a few questions

We have always known in Canada that laws lying in wait to trash the Charter of Rights hover just beyond the sight lines of the courts. The Public Works Protection Act is just such a law, allowing, albeit for a limited time, otherwise illegal searches and seizures and arrests.

Here, constitutional lawyer Paul Cavalluzzo, lead commission council at the Walkerton and Maher Arar inquiries, goes through the act with Paul Jay of The Real News. Transcript here.

I have some further questions.

If I live within an arbitrarily designated "public works area", can Blackwater or a mall rent-a-cop or any other appointed "guard" legally enter my home and arrest me for attempting to deny them entry? Will they be armed?

If I don't consent to being ID'd and searched on my way to work, can I legally be prevented from going to work? I cannot prove this, as it is only anecdotal, but during the Vancouver Olympics, a contractor told me he lost an employee due to said employee being denied passage through Vancouver by the police for the duration of the Olympics for having written an anti-Olympics letter to the local paper that was never published.

If any of the protesters/shoppers/citizens arrested and detained in handcuffs for 24 hours and jammed in a 10 by 12 by 20 foot cage along with 40 other men are not formally charged and given their day in court, will there be no other opportunity to challenge these arbitrary Charter-free zones until the next time they are dusted off for a globalization bunfest?

And finally, why is Chief Bill Blair on the hot seat for having been given these extraordinary powers he didn't ask for when it was presumably the PMO that told the Ontario cabinet to ask for them?

Any responses from legal experts gratefully accepted.
In the meantime, the Toronto's Police Services Board, the public body which holds Toronto Police to account, predictably sees no need for a public inquiry.

Please support the Canadian Civil Liberties Association's petition to "repeal or amendment of the Public Works Protection Act to meet basic constitutional standards"


Boris said...

Not a lawyer as you know, but Bill Blair seemed to enthusiastically embrace and extend his new powers by about 5 metres.

Alison said...

Boris : And beyond

There doesn't seem to be a limit on how far "the approach" to the "expanded" 5 meter zone can be expanded.

Anonymous said...

I thought the 'special' provisions for ID'ing and search under the PWPA were time-limited from June 2 till June 28th, after which the unamended PWPA continues...

Anonymous said...

They are. You want to wait till next time they are secretly invoked?


Anonymous said...

Video of police obviously well aware of their powers:

Anonymous said...

As the police in the above video demonstrate the area is defined by the agents and thus is totally arbitrary.

Alison said...

Thanks, Anon. That vid is linked to at "And beyond" in my comment above.
It was up at Dawg's and got such heavy rotation on the blogs I didn't get around to doing a separate post on it here.

Anon, would you mind signing off with an initial or something next time. I'm getting all you Anons mixed up.

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