Tuesday, June 22, 2010

G20 Angst

I am officially getting  nervous about what's going to happen this week with the G20 coming to town. A month or so ago, I didn't think much about it.  But then people started talking about protests gone crazy at previous summits.  And the police bought sound cannons and borrowed water cannons. And they're finding hidden weapons in public parks.  The protest marches started yesterday. Blocking traffic, invading a gas station and claiming it as their own.  Just bizarre.  And of course there's been vandalism of bank machines and other spray painting going on for weeks now.

Do people really think these are effective ways to get their voices heard and win people over to their side?? Because, I gotta tell ya, disrupting the lives of ordinary folks trying to make a living and raise their families, and frightening them - it just doesn't make for positive relationship building. Protest is one thing - valid and important. Taking over buildings and shutting down traffic is one step beyond.

I work downtown, and our offices are closing as of 6pm Wednesday, with no access to the buildings until Monday morning.  I'm really glad I don't have to fight my way down and back home through traffic and protests and police check points. And I'm especially glad I don't have to bring my 4 year-old down there. We have received two memos from his daycare about planning for this Thursday and Friday.  They include such advice as this:

- Plan for extra time for daycare pick-up. Two hours extra should be safe for travel time
- Be sure the daycare has a landline number where you can be reached in case of emergency or relocation, since cell phones may be blocked
- Be prepared for possible lock-downs or evacuation of the daycare

Holy shit! When did I begin living in a war zone? These memos are based on information and advice being provided to the daycare by Toronto Police I think.  And it is better to be prepared for the worst. But all the memos did for me was to freak me out even more. Just picturing those kids in lock-down. Or being shuttled, terrified to some other location, that I may or may not be able to get to. (Heart palpitations just thinking about it.)

So, Little Boo and I will be home in Scarborough, avoiding the mess and the chaos and tension of downtown.  But hubs still has to go in.  Am I nervous about that? Hell, yeah.  We've talked about what he needs to bring with him in case he gets stuck and has to stay at the office overnight for safety reasons or because of massive road closures. He'll have a toothbrush and change of clothes and some food and drink. Drink will definitely include some scotch.

I'll definitely have some wine.

I truly hope that everyone - protesters, police, dignitaries, and bystanders - all behave themselves like sensible, respectful, respectable adults. I truly hope that all of the hype is over-reaction and over-preparedness. I truly hope I am worrying for nothing and we all come out safely at the end of this event. I truly hope I don't have to explain any horrible events to my little guy.

Rest of the world ... wish Toronto good luck?

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