(This column was published in the North Shore News on April 25, 2001)


Wreck in old Quebec City

By Leo Knight

AS the clouds of tear gas cleared in Quebec City, the recriminations of the police action have already started.  


In these situations it doesn't seem to matter what the police do, the hand-wringing socialists seem to always turn the debate around so it is the fault of the police, not the lunatic fringe spawned by their nonsense.  


After the first clash with police on Friday, I was asked by a television group to review the raw video and analyze the action. What was clear in the takedown of the first sections of fencing was that this group of headcases had planned their violent assault very carefully and very deliberately.  


Right behind the fence section that was torn down were people dressed in black, wearing balaclavas and carrying a variety of weapons; sawed-off hockey sticks, tire irons, sling shots and petrol bombs.  


They immediately advanced on the police officers maintaining a security perimeter who were wearing regular uniforms and were not outfitted in tactical protective clothing.  


One police officer was hit several times in the head with a tire iron. He suffered serious head injuries, only one of 43 injuries sustained by the police during the summit.  


One image was particularly poignant. A police officer in riot gear was standing with his back to a wall when a petrol bomb was thrown into the wall immediately above his head. He ducked down as the flames licked at the wall and his head and back.  


On Saturday, Vancouver Province columnist Jim McNulty had the audacity to refer to the lunatics who committed these crimes as "delinquents."  


Delinquents? As if they were engaged in a spot of shoplifting. The phrase "urban terrorist" comes much closer to the mark than the word delinquent.  


Then there was Saturday's Globe & Mail prominently featuring on the front page, a column by Naomi Klein, another incipient social engineer. She described how the police "kidnapped" her friend Jaggi Singh.  


Singh, you'll recall, was at the heart of the plans to "arrest" Indonesian strongman Suharto at the APEC conference at UBC in 1997. He is the leader of something called the Anti-Capitalism Action Group or some such nonsense. His group is against our whole political system, seemingly happy to give Marxism another shot. He's also quite happy to support those who would use violence as a method of protest.  


None of what you saw in the Wreck of Quebec has anything to do with the right to protest. It has everything to do with union and leftist rhetoric designed to do nothing more than achieve a uniform standard of mediocrity.  


And then there's Maude Barlow, the blustery and unabashed shill for her Council of Canadians. She stood in front of the cameras and blamed the whole thing on the security fence. She even did her best to rip off Ronald Reagan, ironically a staunch free-trader, when she babbled, "Take! Down! This! Wall!" with all the indignation she could manage.  


Such drama. Such theatrics. Such drivel.  


For Maude Barlow, Audrey McLachlan, Raj Pannu, Naomi Klein and anyone else who still believes socialism works, here are some realities. The security fence was much-needed, as was so aptly demonstrated by the individuals who perpetrated the violence.  


The police reacted with restraint under some very difficult circumstances and with the eyes of the world upon them. There were two Seattle police officers present as observers, trying to see what they could learn and apply after their experience in the so-called Battle in Seattle. Both said afterward they were very impressed with their Canadian counterparts.  


It is the responsibility of the police to protect Canadians and those who we invite here as our guests.  


It has been known for a long time what these urban terrorists were going to attempt. This wasn't speculation. The police security measures were based on hard intelligence and which, I might add, proved remarkably more accurate than Maude Barlow's "the sky is falling" claptrap about NAFTA.  


Protest and disagreement are hallmarks of this or any democracy. But protest and disagreement are a far cry from what we witnessed in Quebec on the weekend. That was lunacy. The sort of lunacy that Barlow and certain media types seem delighted to foster.  


What happened in Quebec was not the fault of the police. Nor was it because a security fence was erected around the perimeter. It happened because some people are happier to destroy a society rather than build and make it better.





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