OTTAWA, July 2 /CNW Telbec/ - A wide range of civil society, students', faculty and labour unions have signed an open letter condemning the curtailment of civil liberties and excessive use of force leading up to and during the Toronto G20 Summit, and calling for a public inquiry into police actions.
"The rights of assembly, association, and freedom of expression are vital for a healthy democracy," said David Molenhuis, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. "The excessive use of force, pre-emptive detention, and unreasonable search and seizure carried out against peaceful protestors and innocent by-standers during the G20 undermined these fundamental rights."
The letter stated that, "The only way for Canadians to understand exactly what transpired during this Summit is through an independent public inquiry into security during the 2010 Canadian G8 and G20 Summits, held jointly by the Ontario and Federal governments. Such an inquiry must include opportunities for public input and participation, and produce findings that are released to the public. The inquiry should consider the impact of security measures on the Charter rights of citizens to freedom of assembly, association, expression, and due process."
"Although there have been wide-ranging reports of police abuses, Prime Minister Harper, Premier McGuinty, and Toronto Mayor David Miller have refused to hold the Toronto Police and other members of the Integrated Security Unit accountable for their actions," added Molenhuis. "Canadians are quickly losing faith in our governments. A public inquiry is the only way that we can get to the bottom of what happened at the G20 and restore public confidence in our government and police."
The statement was endorsed by Canada's national students' union, the Canadian Federation of Students as well as a number of labour organisations including the Canadian Association of University Teachers, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, CUPE-Ontario, and the Ontario Federation of Labour, and a wide range of civil society organisations and coalitions including Amnesty International Canada, Make Poverty History Canada, Greenpeace, the Ad Hoc Coalition for Women's Equality, the Indigenous Environmental Network, Alternatives, the Council of Canadians and many others.
The letter, along with a full list of signatories, is available for download at www.cfs-fcee.ca/g20police.
Founded in 1981, the Canadian Federation of Students is Canada's oldest and largest students' organisation, uniting over one-half million students from all ten provinces.
SOURCE Canadian Federation of Students
For further information: For further information: or to arrange an interview, please contact: Noah Stewart, Spokesperson, 613-232-7394; David Molenhuis, National Chairperson, 613-232-7394