Federal G20 inquiry not needed yet: Tory MP
'Kangaroo court' could prejudice ongoing reviews, says Del Mastro
A federal inquiry looking into the security tactics around the G20 summit is not needed until one of the current investigations into the policing of protests have concluded, says a Conservative MP.
There are two reviews looking into the conduct of police during the summit: an internal police probe and an external review ordered by the Toronto Police Services Board, a civilian agency overseeing the police. Meanwhile, the Ontario ombudsman has said he will investigate a provincial order that broadened police powers ahead of the June 26-27 summit.
But none of those reviews is equivalent to a full public inquiry, which is legally binding. Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has ruled out a provincial inquiry, saying it was up to the federal government to call one.
But Dean Del Mastro, parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, said policing in Ontario falls under provincial jurisdiction.
"So I think it's very important that we allow those individuals that have been trusted and empowered to do their work to do so without a federal parliamentary kangaroo court in operation that could prejudice their work," he told CBC's Metro Morning on Thursday.
However, he did not rule out the possibility of an inquiry.
"I think it's very important that reasonable people in Ottawa, reasonable politicians of all parties allow those groups to do their work, and if they still have questions, that would be the appropriate time to conduct an inquiry at committee. "
Vote on inquiry blocked
Opposition MPs on Monday tried to call a vote on a federal inquiry at an emergency meeting of the public safety committee to order the probe.
But Conservatives blocked the vote on the issue.
Liberal MP Mark Holland, who was at the committee meeting, said the inquiry would answer a number of important questions about the federal government's decision to choose Toronto's financial district as the venue for the summit.
"I think we need to know what exactly the Harper government was advised on prior to putting the summit on downtown Toronto," he said.
"We know they didn't talk to city officials. In fact, the mayor said he only got called basically 15 minutes before it was announced that it was being shifted there. Most of the time when you have something of this size and magnitude, you have a couple of years lead time. And so frontline officers were put in an incredibly impossible situation."
The police handling of protests during the G20 summit has come under withering criticism from civil liberties groups, protesters and journalists. In the protests that occurred in downtown Toronto during the meeting of world leaders, around 1,000 people were detained by police.
Some of the protests turned violent, and several downtown storefronts were vandalized and two police cruisers set alight .