Stand back: according to an Angus Reid poll taken earlier this week, the majority of Canadians (and an overwhelming majority of Torontonians) are onside with the police response to the G20 demonstration —
— Surprise! Not really.
Even if the question had been framed as Kateland suggests in the comments here —
If AR had asked ‘were the police justified in violating most innocent citizens charter rights’ – it might have come out differently.
— I doubt it would have significantly changed the results. People generally have trouble with the concept that protecting the rights of the few ultimately protects the rights of all — for an example of this truly benighted state of mind, look no further than here. I suspect the general public has no problem with the violation of Charter rights of innocent citizens if they believe that’s the cost of keeping order.
My own *completely unscientific* poll of grocery store customers seems to support this hypothesis. The majority opinion was that the cops were “damned if they do, damned if they don’t”, a consensus that gives law enforcement a convenient loophole to slither out of for both heavy-handedness with peaceful protesters and failure to respond to the small minority who were shit-disturbing. Such a response would not have surprised me in Toronto or any other city, but in an area where personal liberty is the prevailing ideology, I was a little dismayed to see so much authoritarian bootlicking. Civil rights seem to lose their sheen when people are made to feel that order has been threatened.