G20 fence rule got whole minutes of consideration: Star

G20 fence rule got whole minutes of consideration: Star

Don't fence me in: the CN Tower during the G20 (Image: Alfred Ng from the torontolife.com Flickr pool)

Everybody wants an efficient government, but this is a bit ridiculous: the Ontario cabinet meeting at which the expanded police powers during the G20 were approved dealt with over 116 different items—that we know of so far—before the legislature adjourned for the summer. The Toronto Star had to file five written requests for the cabinet orders in council and still hasn’t unearthed everything. The short list of what happened that day is impressive enough, though:

Six deputy ministers’ appointments were finalized on June 2, as was the proclamation of the Ontario Tax Plan for More Jobs and Growth Act, the legislation that blended the 8 per cent provincial sales tax with the 5 per cent federal goods and services into a 13 per cent harmonized sales tax as of July 1.

Perhaps the most notorious item of business was cabinet’s designation of areas within the G20 security zone around the Metro Toronto Convention Centre as a “public work” under the 1939 Public Works Protection Act.

We suspect that the McGuinty Gang got some sleep that day, so assuming they took no breaks and slept in the cabinet room, June 2 pretty much went down like this:

24 hours – 8 hours of sleep x 60 = 960 minutes
960 minutes / 116 items = 8.2 minutes

Somehow, a massive expansion of police powers seems the kind of thing that might have deserved at least as much time as it takes to order pizza. Funny enough, one of the other items on the agenda was reappointing André Marin, the Ontario ombudsman who is now running an inquiry into the broadening of police powers during the G20. Add on the HST, which was also discussed, and this is pretty much the Superman 3 of provincial cabinet meetings.

• Cabinet rushed secret G20 change, documents show [Toronto Star]