During the scrums after question period, Liberal justice critic Marlene Jennings was asked about the Ontario ombudsman’s examination of the G20 in Toronto. (My story on yesterday’s G20 hearings at the Commons Public Safety committee is here.)
A: The province of Ontario is taking what happened in Toronto during the G20 very seriously. The current concerns raised about the regulations which were adopted were legitimate, and I have faith that the Ontario government will deal with it. However, we must not lose sight of the fact that if the G20 took place in Toronto and caused all of these problems, it’s thanks to Mr Harper and his incompetent government. They decided to host the G20 in Toronto, they decided to do so against the advice of the City of Toronto, and they put the government of Toronto and the city in an untenable situation. Meanwhile, they’re still not answering for the excesses of federal law enforcement, they’re not answering for the reason why the G20 was held there, they’re not answering for the overruns and the bloated expenses that they paid out – they’re not answering for any of that. It’s unacceptable.
Reporter: But the watchdog is saying that there were laws passed under the carpet, that the laws went too far and people didn’t know about that. What’s your response to that?
A: And I’m saying that those concerns that the Ontario ombudsman raised are legitimate concerns, and I have confidence that those laws, which were adopted under provincial law, will be looked at and dealt with in a proper and appropriate fashion. I don’t have the same confidence in Mr Harper’s government with regards to all of the questions that go to the heart of the federal government, that came under federal government jurisdiction. They’re not acting. Ontario has tried to act. Mr Harper is refusing to act – unacceptable.
Reporter: So you think that shining a light on the issue is important?
A: I say shine a light on the issue, and make sure that that light captures Mr Harper, Mr Vic Toews, Mr Rob Nicholson, Mr Flaherty, the minister of treasury board, the minister of transport – shine a light on Mr Harper and every single member of his cabinet who are responsible for deciding that the G20 would go into Toronto, against the advice of the city. They improvised, and it’s Canadians who are playing the price for it.
Xtra: Does that mean inquiry, judicial, public or otherwise?
A: I think that when it comes to the RCMP, definitely the RCMP Public Complaints Commission should be investigating that, and we’ll made a decision whether or not an inquiry is required, but I definitely think that Mr Harper should open up his books, and should answer every single question that’s being asked of him and his government in the appropriate parliamentary committees. They are accountable to Canadians, they are accountable to this parliament, and they are refusing to be accountable. It’s unacceptable.