Barely off the plane after grilling CSIS boss Richard Fadden at a special meeting earlier this week, the members of the Commons public safety committee are about to return to Ottawa to explore the security issues stemming from last month's G20 summit in Toronto.
Don Davies, the NDP member of the committee, has obtained the signatures of his Liberal and Bloc Québécois counterparts on a motion that requires the committee to reconvene no later than Monday of next week.
The New Democrats say the aim of this special summer gathering is to address concerns about the conduct of summit security personnel, violations of civil liberties, violence and property destruction, and the political and operational decisions that led to these problems.
"This is the fastest way to get a form of public inquiry and we want to start getting answers now," Mr. Davies told The Globe.
As the summit was being conducted behind a security perimeter, stores in downtown Toronto were vandalized and police cars were set ablaze. More than 1,000 people were arrested, but only 263 charged with anything more serious than breach of peace. And there has been criticism of the methods police used to disperse and detain protesters.
"We spent a billion dollars. For a billion dollars, we were supposed to avoid violence; we got violence. We were supposed to protect civil liberties and they weren't [protected]" Mr. Davies said.
"We need to start rolling our sleeves up now to start getting answers while memories are fresh, while information is still available," he added. "We just think it's important that we start a public inquiry of some sort to get to the bottom of whet happened and to try to ensure that it doesn't happen again."
Although the event took place in Toronto and the municipal force was the public face of the police during the G20, it was a federal initiative, the NDP MP explained, adding that both the RCMP and CSIS were involved.
"This was a co-ordinated security response and I think those are good question to find out who was responsible for what," he said. "Who was responsible for making some of the questionable decisions about the suspension of civil liberties? Who did make the decision to hold it in downtown Toronto in the first place."
The motion will now go to Garry Breitkreuz, the Conservative MP who chairs the committee. Mr. Breitkreuz must give 48-hours notice of the meeting but it must be held within five days.
(Photo: Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail)