THE SLOW MARCH TO AUTHORITARIANISM

By: Murray Dobbin, The Financial Post, 2 April/01

Where is everybody? That is, where are all those from the Canadian political elite who, in better times, might be expected to publicly condemn the draconian "security" preparations going on for the Summit of the Americas in Quebec City? Is it just the young people, unionists, and others from civil society groups who will be affected, who have the courage to express outrage at this casual denial of civil liberties?

So far, the only government leader who seems disturbed by the picture unfolding in Quebec City is the enlightened mayor of the city himself, Jean-Paul L'Allier, who has bucked the elite consensus and is encouraging people to "express themselves democratically".

The police operation in Quebec City is unprecedented and widely reported. A huge no-go zone will be established, featuring four kilometres of ten-foot-high chain-link fence, the largest and most expensive (at $35 million) police mobilization in Canadian history, special ID for residents of the security zone, the clearing out of 600 prisoners from a local jail to make way for the citizens the police intend to arrest, and the intimidating threat of plastic bullets and other police weapons.

This isn't security. It's decontamination. It's the political equivalent of ethnic cleansing, sweeping away anyone who dares to criticize the complicity by governments in corporate globalization. Thus we have escalating police operations to respond to escalating public demands for transparency in FTAA trade negotiations - negotiations which themselves threaten democracy.

Source: All Free with Freedom




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