So far I’ve been able to hold off from saying anything on the subject, instead just watching the runup sort of as George Carlin (of happy memory) might’ve done—standing, as it were, alongside the Gardiner as the inevitable calamity occurs, because there isn’t a goddamn thing I can do about any of it.
1) Let’s just get the obvious points out of the way first, shall we? Right now, the important players are meeting in Huntsville. Not Toronto. They’re making the real decisions there, folks, surrounded by rustic luxury. Then they come here—for their photo-op. 1.2 billion dollars for said photo-op. Harper’s a piece of oil-soaked shit for spending that much for nothing, literally nothing because what are the conferees going to see during their brief (for them) time here? See 2) below.
2) They’ll see a ghost town. I know some people who live in the affected area, and without exception they’ve all fled, either to cottage country to to friends’/relatives’ homes for the duration.
And for very good reason.
They’re right to fear what could happen. We only have to recall what happened in Pittsburgh, or in other cities similarly blighted. (It all makes me wonder what Pittsburgh and Toronto did to deserve such punishment) The riots have caused enough damage in the past that residents and business owners are smart to close up and get out until it’s all over, because God knows what could happen. We’ve had incidents of weapons caches turning up including explosives, so at least some people could be intent on causing maximum harm. I don’t like saying any of this, but if you’re for peace, you’re for peace, and you simply can’t condone violence for any reason. I can’t, at least. Yet clearly some people are focused on chaos.
3) Downtown Toronto looks now like an armed encampment. The fence is an abomination. In terms of elementary cost-benefit analysis, this cannot possibly work out. How could it? Close down the majority of the downtown core, for all intents and purposes (bearing in mind that people will stay as far as possible from the area just to avoid what’s possible), essentially trap protesters with fencing and using the urban landscape, thereby provoking resistance, and of course pre-emptively showing such decisive force that it goads the violent players to act (perhaps taking Jon Stewart’s “Fuck me? Oh no, no, no, my friend, fuck you” completely out of context)—if Harper’s not outright asking for confrontation, it’s the best unwitting setup I’ve ever seen.
In fact, I wonder if Harper’s not somehow hoping, however perversely, that there would be violence as a pretext for a more heavy-handed social crackdown. Don’t put anything past such a weasel as Stephen Harper. Always trust a weasel to act in its own self-interest.
So, folks, here I sit at the western fringe of it all, and there’ll be more from this space—a full report on whatever happens. I’m going to hope, however, to report that I’m wrong and nothing much happened.
No, I don’t believe that, either.
Update: CP24 reports someone’s been stopped down in the Esplanade with weapons. Lovely. A chainsaw among other instruments. Just what we need.