Saturday, June 12, 2010

G8 Security Show and Tell - Oopsy Daisy

I found this little gem while trying to find detailed expenditures for the G8/G20 summits on various Government of Canada websites (which are very well hidden except for this item about expenditures in Tony Clement's . In light of Wednesday's "fertilizer farce" that was propelled to front page news by INSET (the Integrated National Security Enforcement Team), this article sheds some pretty interesting light on the functioning of Canada's security for the leaders of the G8 and G20. The website where I found the story, Cottage Country Now, is an online newspaper for the Muskoka, Parry Sound and Huntsville communities.

Here are a few excerpts from the website article as they appeared online on June 9th, 2010. I wish I could give credit to the author of the article but unfortunately, no name appears as either author or editor.

"There were toys – tanks, helicopters and gadgets. The Integrated Security Unit put on a show on Sunday at the Canada Summit Centre (in Huntsville).

The national media was out in full force and everyone from young families to senior citizens were cruising the parking lot adjacent to the centre to check out the security hardware that will be on the streets of Huntsville, in the air and on guard in case of emergencies during the G8 Summit.

The Integrated Security Unit, comprised of the Ontario Provincial Police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Forces, put on the show for the people of Huntsville, and the people of Canada via the television cameras that caught the act...

This was meant to be a choreographed introduction to leaders from each arm of the Intergrated Security Unit and a “what to expect during the G8” session. And while it was informative for the crowd in the arena stands, it was less than smooth...

The crowd was then treated to a motorcade demonstration; motorcycles, their lights flashing led in a succession of vehicles.

“We know this has been an area of concern for local residents,” said Chamberland as he introduced the demonstration of how roadside checkpoints will work. OPP officers set up their checkpoints and waited.

And waited. Delays continued throughout the demonstration which in the end amounted to little more than officers poking their heads toward the driver of the car, asking a question and waving them on.

“If travelling with proper accreditation (you will) first be met by a member of the OPP or RCMP who will ask a few questions. A couple of minutes and you will be on your way,” said Chamberland (OPP Sgt. Pierre Chamberland).

If you are travelling without proper accreditation you will be asked more questions and if a valid reason is provided you will be able to proceed through, he said. But, you will be escorted.

The closer you get to more secure areas the more checkpoints there will be, there will be more dogs and you will be engaged by officers in a more robust search of your vehicle.

This was going to be demonstrated, but the plan seemed to fall apart and it just didn’t happen...

Next came guys in space suits. Or suits meant to be worn to protect the security personnel inside the suit from things like chemical, biological and radioactive fallout. Worst-case scenario stuff.

“And the rest of my speech is missing….” said Chamberland at this point.

The crowd chuckled along with the hapless act of the security team leader. Nothing was going as planned."

Believe me, your time will be well spent reading the article.

I found it most interesting to see that the Canadian Forces personnel are involved in security. I seem to recall that Public Safety Minister Vic Toews telling Craig Oliver on Question Period two weeks ago that soldiers would not be used because Canadians (and his Liberal counterparts in the House) are most uncomfortable seeing armed soldiers roaming the streets of Canadian cities and towns. It is the the use of RCMP and other police forces who will be paid overtime, rather than Canadian Forces personnel, that is being credited for the increased security tab for the event. Apparently though, we're ever so much more comfortable being surrounded by 3 metre high prison fences that cost $5.5 million to erect in Toronto and $3.9 million to erect in Huntsville than we are being surveilled by soldiers.

You know, sometimes the best stories are hidden in local newspapers and sometimes the best things happen in small town Canada.


Oh yeah, I still say the very idea of a security team called INSET has the ring of a new CBC weekly one hour docudrama. You heard it here first.

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