While I can't say that I'm impressed by the behaviour of protesters demonstrating against the G20 and G8 conferences being held in Toronto this week, I can't exactly say it surprises me either.
When an over-the-top set of security "measures" turns a large chunk of Toronto into a fortified bunker zone, disrupting the lives of thousands of Torontonians, it created a powderkeg situation.
Quite frankly, the security preparations around the G20 and G8 conferences - an expenditure of some $1 billion of taxpayer's money - serve only to isolate these so-called leaders from the very people they allegedly represent. It seems to me that there is something very, very wrong with a situation where our political leadership goes to such great lengths to avoid the public that they are allegedly accountable to.
I won't excuse those protesters who engaged in violence and destruction - they deserve to face our criminal justice system. However, the government(s) that demand such dramatic measures to "protect" their leaders also hold a degree of responsibility here. The "need" to isolate themselves entirely from the public that they are responsible to gives the extremists the excuse to become violent. The disruption of life in downtown Toronto this week is an excellent example of how an overweaning desire to create absolute security in fact creates the volatile situation that we see unfolding.
I've said it before about these types of situations - the most effective security is the security that nobody sees or experiences directly (except the violators). When you create what is so obviously a police state, that does not promote the peace and security that is sought, it provokes the very violence that we are seeing.
Sadly, I doubt that our government - either Mr. Harper or Mr. Toews - will understand or admit to their role in creating this powderkeg. Even more depressing is the lack of accessibility to our political leadership means that the politicians will go even further to isolate themselves from the public - and become even more disconnected from the people they purport to govern.