In a report released today Ontario Ombudsman André Marin strongly criticised the regulations implemented ahead of the G20 which gave the police extraordinary powers, and said that it "amounted to martial law" being implemented during the G20.
In his report, "Caught in the Act", Marin described the regulation to the Public Works Protection Act (PWPA), as being of " dubious legality". Regulation 233/10 under the 71-year-old law was sometimes referred to as the "5 meter law" but Marin said that the sweeping power is gave to suspend civil liberties were not limited to 5 meter and it would be better described as the "5 kilometer law".
The regulation forced citizen to identify themselves and allowed the police to search anyone they chose to, suspending the normal civil rights granted to citizens.
Passing the regulation "would trigger what amounted to martial law in the streets of Toronto." Marin said
"The Most significant effect of Reg. 223 was that it revived a piece of wartime legislation that was passed in 1939 to protect infrastructure in Ontario from the enemies of war." He said in response to a question from the media, "Was it really required to enact a piece of war times legislation that gave phenomenal powers to the police, and was of questionable legality?"
"There was a premeditated conscious planned decision not to announce the existence of the regulation or the reviving of this wartime act " Marin told a press conference. "The government essentially poked a hibernating bear, woke it up and it didn't want the public to know."
He also claimed that the "ground zero" for creating the regulation was in the office of Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, and that "It was sold to the province." He claimed the Toronto Police provided no support in his investigation.
To Read the Ombudsman's remarks on the content of his report or the report itself click on the links below: