Diplomatic immunity doled out to thousands of Toronto visitors as G20 approaches
While Torontonians will be subject to rigorous security measures for the upcoming G20 summit, it’s a different story for foreign diplomats, for whom the city could become a hedonistic party ground, if they so choose. Hundreds of G20 representatives and their entourages—potentially thousands of people—have just been granted formal diplomatic immunity from now until July 4. That means they can enter the country without having their bags checked, and while here, they can’t be arrested or detained.
While it is standard procedure to grant diplomats such privileges, they have been known to abuse the right from time to time. In 2001, a Russian diplomat in Ottawa refused a breathalyzer test on grounds of diplomatic immunity after crashing his car into two pedestrians (he was later fired, and sentenced in Russia). Last June, an employee of the Saudi embassy escaped punishment despite becoming involved in a car chase with Ottawa police.
In general, though, it seems that public scrutiny is enough to keep the riotous actions of party-crazed diplomats in check (or maybe diplomats are just generally square). Still, we have to admit that the thought of parking wherever we want makes the blogging life seem a little less glamorous.