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G20 paranoia

It feels apocalyptic in Toronto right now. There was a minor earthquake this afternoon – the ornaments on my piano jiggled – and many apparently were terrified because they thought it was a terrorist bomb. With the G8 and G20 coming in a few days, the level of official paranoia in this town is absolutely beyond belief. Surely the other summits haven’t been this over the top. More than one BILLION dollars spent on this event, mostly on security – it makes me sick.

Downtown is a war zone, like a bad movie that we can’t leave. We are flooded with thousands of police and private security forces from all over the country. There are giant security fences everywhere – and anyone who takes a picture of one is detained and forced to wipe the shot from the camera. Mailboxes and street sculpture have been removed. It’s now against the law, for the next few days, to fly a kite. The streets are barricaded. My son couldn’t get on the ferry to his restaurant workplace on the island, because he didn’t have two pieces of I.D. with him. A man carrying a bag of fertilizer was detained, because it could be used to make a bomb. My handyman was in his workshop the other day with the door open, sanding a chair, when three burly policemen entered, bulging with firearms, demanding to know what he was doing. I mean, we’re entering farce/George Orwell territory here.
I know, you’ve heard my anti-Harper tirades before, but this feels like his exquisite blend of paranoia and melodrama. The enemy is lurking everywhere! Let’s seem REALLY important with our billion dollars of security! It’s heartbreaking, this in a city where the streetcars are filthy and falling apart, and where on my way to Ryerson this evening, I passed four completely crazy, vulnerable people wandering the streets. And above, police helicopters, looking for people carrying fertilizer.
The World Cup is also happening, so every other car has a flag fluttering from its window, and this afternoon there was an earthquake, and tonight, not just a thunderstorm but a hurricane was predicted. Well, here we are, 10.15 p.m., and so far, it’s not even raining.
To think, this place used to be known, both affectionately and mockingly, as Toronto the Good. That seems like a lifetime ago.
There’s a list of upcoming G20 protest events in the “Star.” I just may join them. It seems a shame to waste a billion dollars worth of security.



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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