Box 722, 410 Bank, Ottawa, ON K1Y 1Y8
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Overview Report from the Citizens Panel on Policing and the Community

May 9, 2002

Annex 1: Terms of reference of the Panel
Annex 2: List of submissions

The Panel

The Citizens Panel on Policing and the Community had its origins in concerns of citizens during and after events relating to the meeting of the G-20 in Ottawa [16 to 18 November 2001]. Concerns focused on perceptions of how marchers were treated by police, and these were communicated to the Police Service Board at its meetings in late November and early December. In answer to requests for an enquiry, the Board declined, noting its responsibility for dealing with formal complaints that could ensue.

As a result, community leaders approached former Ottawa Mayor Marion Dewar who volunteered for a panel that would hear concerns in greater detail. The four other members were subsequently recruited - Ken Binks, Jacqueline Pelletier, Peter Coffin and Anne Squire. [Short biographical notes are shown on the opposite page.]

The Panel adopted Terms of Reference [see Annex 1], and announced its work at a press conference held in mid-February 2002. The Citizens Panel aimed to help the community to:

- Understand the circumstances of November 16 to 18, 2001, particularly the treatment of citizens as well as the perceptions and objectives of the police;

- Examine systemic issues in relation to policing and the free expression of citizens' opinions; and

- Rebuild the trust between citizens and police that is essential in a free and democratic society.

Public Consultations

To carry out these objectives, the Panel issued invitations to the community to participate in public consultations. Both Non-Governmental Organizations and the police, as well as interested individuals, were invited directly and through media publicity. The Panel's terms of reference were published over the internet

The Panel suggested that it wished through the consultations to:

- Explore the roles and duties involved in the demonstrations and the policing, particularly the rights to free expression and security of the person on the one hand, and the needs to protect dignitaries and property on the other;

- Raise the level of public debate about both these roles of citizens and the duties inherent in policing, and the policies and standards which direct those duties; and

- Make recommendations which will serve both this and other communities in striking an appropriate and mutually respectful balance between rights and duties within the framework of a free and democratic society.

Meetings were held on four days - February 21, 26, 28 and March 2, 2002. Over fifty individual and group submissions were made during sessions at Christ Church Cathedral Hall and at the Festival Room in Ottawa City Hall. Additional written submissions were sent by mail and to the Panel by electronic mail. Most are now posted on the Panel's web site at

Of the over 60 people who appeared, the great majority were those who had participated in events on November 16 at the Human Rights Monument on Elgin Street, at the march on the following day, and events on Sunday, 18 November. These presenters included clergy, unionists, students, members of Non-Governmental Organizations, reporters, and those who described themselves as fathers, mothers, grandmothers, retirees, and simply participants.

Presentations were also made by City Counsellors from Ottawa, merchants, para-medics who had been called to give support at the marches, and those giving food and other support.

The Panel members are grateful for these appearances.

The Context

As the Panel's public meetings unfolded, it became clear that the G-20 meetings occasioned a series of preparations and events. These ranged from planning and coordination, communication with the authorities, prayer vigil and "snake march" [both on the 16th], to marches from various points in the City, including Lebreton Flats, the Gatineau end of the Portage Bridge and the University of Ottawa [Saturday the 17th]; demonstrations at the Conference Centre [also on the 17th], and a rally on November 18.

For clarity, we have set out a more detailed chronology on the page opposite.

We also learned that the downtown Ottawa area was carved up into zones, which marchers colour-coded to reflect an area's security sensitivity. The most sensitive area was that close to the Conference Centre by the Rideau Canal, coded red. Nearby areas were yellow, and all others were green. We include a map opposite our next page of text, to show streets, zones and spots where our presenters focused much of their comment.

Those spots were the locations of particular tension between police and participants in events and marches. They are found at:

The Human Rights Monument on Elgin Street near City Hall, where a prayer vigil sponsored by Muslim organizations was held in the afternoon of Friday November 16.

Lebreton Flats, where most marchers marshalled on November 17, and from which they were to walk through the downtown to the Supreme Court.

Several intersections where confrontations with police occurred, for example at Scott and Albert and Laurier and Bay.

The lawn of the Supreme Court of Canada, site of a rally on November 17.

The area around the Ottawa Court House on Elgin Street [November 18].

A Perspective on Presentations

   The Panel heard that overwhelmingly the events were seen by participants as peaceful, except for reported interactions with police. An event seen as non-peaceful was breaking the window of the Bank Street McDonald's restaurant on the 16th. Attempts to cross barriers to enter the Conference Centre were described as peaceful. Two quotes from presentations serve to illustrate how events on the 17 were perceived:

- It was understood from the very beginning that the march on November 17 would be "non-violent" so as to bring out the largest number of people to raise concerns over the policies of the IMF and World Bank . . . . [Presenter 7; see Annex 2 for the list of presenters.]

- Because of my religious beliefs, and because of my conviction that the political use of violence is counterproductive, I cannot even passively support with my presence the use of violence at a demonstration. Therefore, I wanted to create a peaceful space where all could participate using our democratic rights to free assembly and free speech to reject and denounce the tribute gathering of the IMF and World Bank. My concern was with the behaviour of the "Black Block". Events proved that I should have been more concerned about the violence of the police. [Presenter 8]

   The community may not have received the same perspective on the events. Panel members noted that television coverage largely repeated the window breakage.

Accounts and Issues from Public Meetings

Communication between authorities and organizers

A persistent theme of presentations was the breakdown in trust between policing authorities and participants in events and their organizers. A key organizer commented at the outset of our public meetings:

   1. What was relayed to the organizers was that the police had no objections to the proposed march routes and rally plans, that they understood protestors' desire to make their voices heard as their democratic right, and that they would try not to be restrictive or provocative. I can only add that as of 7:00 am [on November 17] I sat next to Sgt. Marc R[.] of the RCMP in a CBC Newsworld studio as he said the security forces understood the desire and need to keep the protests peaceful, that they would be trying not to be provocative, and that they might even use officers on bicycles during the march and rally. It wasn't until later that I found out how disingenuous, not to say dishonest, he was being, and that the previous night several people had been stopped, interrogated, threatened with arrest, and ticketed for jaywalking when they asked the officers' badge numbers. [First presenter.]

A number of presenters remarked on the difficulty or impossibility of communicating with police during events, as the following illustrate:

- The police were anonymous. They wore no badges or numbers that would identify individual officers. I believe that this point has been made by others, but I also believe that it needs underscoring. [Presenter 4]

- But at no point were there identifiable command officers who were in charge of the police to communicate with during the march. There was no one in charge on the street that march leaders could communicate with to attempt to defuse tense situations. Instead they arrested one of our MC s who did try to defuse a tense situation. [Presenter 8]

Respect for the expression of views, and balancing need for security

A number of presenters stressed that free expression is essential in a democratic society, but reported that they did not believe their ability to express themselves in public spaces had been secured or respected during confrontations with police:

- As we continued on our walk, sobered and scared by what we had seen, we chanted together as a crowd "This is what democracy looks like!" I believe that slogan is a very important message for both the police and our media to hear. Democracy involves demonstrations. Democracy always and everywhere has involved public marches and protests. Canadians who participate in demonstrations are doing a public good and exercising democratic rights. While a very few kids might use the opportunity and excitement of the crowd to do vandalism, the thousands who demonstrate are among the best educated and most politically aware Canadians. [Presenter 5]

- We had our rights to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, violated in Ottawa that November weekend. We were subjected to illegal searches, our vigil on Friday was surrounded and attacked, members of the media were assaulted for being reporters and the police presence was designed to intimidate and silence dissent not keep the peace. [The presenter continued.] . . . Protest is even more fundamental to a healthy democracy, for they are the means by which average citizens can make fellow citizens aware of shared concerns. Protest allows citizens to set the political agenda, to actually have a say in how we as citizens are governed, and how our government will shape our lives. [Presenter 8]

- I was very interested to see that, in contrast to many of the other locations, there was virtually no security presence at the Supreme Court Building where the rally and speeches were held. Notably there were no problems without the heavy intimidating police presence. [Presenter 28]

Accountability for policing

- The issue is one of accountability and how do we balance the need for security and the public interest. During the G-20 conference, the public interest was absent and unrepresented because those accountable for the police were not consulted and therefore approval for the security plan was not given. [Our notes; presenter 21]

- I would also recommend that governments take responsibility for independent monitoring of police policies and behaviours at demonstrations, until the basic human rights abuses by police that we have seen recently stop happening. [Presenter 5]

- The police demonstrated very clearly on those days that they are not capable of respecting their own standards and internal "laws". [Presenter 50]

Religious expression and cultural diversity

   A number of presenters noted the religious nature of one of the events, held at the Human Rights Monument on 16 November. Several faith groups and clergy also made presentations to the Panel. This is a quote from a young woman organizer of the vigil at the Monument, followed by a comment from another presenter:

Therefore, we (the Muslim minority, people with children and many seniors) left quickly after the police arrival. Ironically enough prior to the Vigil we contacted two officers to help ensure that WE the marchers were protected from any external forces during the course of the event.

November 16 made things exceptionally clear: our safety was not the central objective.  . .  Many of the protestors welcomed our prayers, our fast, and our viewpoints in this Vigil, founded on a peaceful premise. The intent was to make a forum where people of all ages and backgrounds could attend a candle lit event. However the police who have the responsibility to protect and serve, disunited the crowd with their unapproachable and threatening presence. [Presenter 6]

That day was a part of Ramadan where people of Muslim Faith pray and break their fast. It was our intention to have this happen at the monument to help educate people on the faith and promote tolerance. However, a police officer saw this as an appropriate time to launch a tear gas canister. [Presenter 40]

Educating others on marchers' messages

Presenters repeatedly indicated that they did not believe that the police understood either their intent or their message. If they had, some presenters said, perhaps there would have been greater understanding for the marchers and their dissenting messages:

In the future I suggest that police officers contact the organizers of future actions, attend meetings, try to understand what the issues are and be involved throughout the whole process leading up to the event. [Presenter 6]

The safety and security of persons

Most of the accounts presented to the Panel related to encounters with security personnel at various locations in the downtown area. Presenters were concerned about the safety of themselves and their children, about injury to others, about access to medical treatment, and about the emotional after-effects of the encounters. These concerns ranged in seriousness. To illustrate:

I was near the end of the march and when I was about 70 metres from Albert St. I noticed a commotion happening near the corner of Booth and Albert. I ran up and saw riot police armed with guns and with attack dogs arresting a couple of the protesters. At least 2 young protesters were on the ground face down with police over them putting on handcuffs. The police were pushing the crowd around and the dogs were noticeably agitated. I positioned myself in front of a riot officer who had a dog on a leash that was lunging at people. I informed the officer that this was a peaceful march and that he should move back. I felt it was a particularly dangerous situation as there were people with strollers and small children and grandparents in the march. The officer told me to move back, but I stood my ground as I felt the police were not acting with the people's safety in mind. As I was talking to the officer I held my hands in the air to show that I was not making any aggressive moves.

   Suddenly the dog, which was on a leash, jumped at me and bit me on the thigh. After a few seconds it let go. People who had been in the crowd were shocked at this and asked the officer what he was going to do. He just replied that we should all move away. The dog continued to lunge at people and within a minute the dog attacked a woman, grabbing her sweater. Fortunately she was able to get away. At this time I was facing away from the crowd, trying to position myself in between the protesters and the dog, but occasionally I got a glimpse of the actions of the other officers. They were acting very aggressively, pointing guns at people and pushing others with their shields. [Presenter 7]

As we crossed McKenzie Bridge, and approached the small green space that serves as a traffic median at Elgin St, I saw two young men being chased by police. They rounded the traffic median, went back to Elgin and were taken down. I approached the barricade at the edge of the median to get a better look at their arrest.  We were several feet above Elgin and clearly not able to intervene in any way. But the barricade was rushed by a line of police who pointed pepper spray cans and guns at us. Without warning, they began to fire. I quickly turned and ran out of the line of fire, and heard the "thunk" of the guns going off. They were shooting rubber bullets at us, and all we were doing was witnessing an arrest. [Presenter  27]

In spite of my total lack of resistance, I was brutally manhandled. One officer holding each hand against wall, one holding each foot against wall, one with his knee against my scrotum (presumably for quick retaliation lest I move) and one very aggressive and brutal officer (early twenties, close- cropped brown hair, approximately] 5'8", 170 pounds, clean-shaven, babyish face but unfriendly eyes) muzzling my nose and mouth with his black-gloved hand, telling me to "shut up". . . . During the arrest, the force used against me was, in no way commensurate with my conduct. I offered no resistance whatsoever. There was certainly no consideration given to my illness. [Presenter 32]

I was shaking for days after the event, not because of any nasty people who might be in the crowd, but because of what I saw men in black armoured riot gear do to the men and women walking in the Ottawa streets. [Presenter 43]


Accounts by presenters tell of mistakes - some serious - in policing the events surrounding the G-20 meeting. The Panel has reflected on the lessons which they offer for improving the police-citizen relationship, and for safeguarding citizens involved directly and indirectly in such events. In doing so, we have reviewed a variety of public policies and practices on policing such events. Our recommendations for learning from those lessons and from public policy and practice are as follows:

With a view to building the trust, between policing authorities and marchers, and to demonstrate accountability, we believe it is necessary for the authorities to:

1. Recognize that the confidence which organizers of marches had placed in police contacts prior to November 16 has been seriously impaired;

2. Take steps to acknowledge that the police made errors in communication and coordination with marchers, and to apologize for these mistakes;

3. Follow up on the acknowledgement with clear policy and operational guidelines to avoid repetition of the mistakes, and

4. Ensure that these policies and operational guidelines are carried out.

We also believe that it is necessary for march organizers of future events to:

Continue communicating clearly about their aims and goals with the authorities, provided that the police have rebuilt trust by putting in place a renewed policy and operations framework;

Familiarize authorities with issues and views relating to the event, and generally how views will likely be expressed;

Continue to encourage peaceful assembly and expression and to discourage those who would act otherwise.

As part of striking a balance between security needs and the democratic expression of views, we recommend action to:

1. Publicize sound policy and operational practice for policing marches, to ensure understanding of marchers, the media and the public generally on what can be expected;

2. Brief both operational police officers and march organizers on these policies and practices, as well as on the need to safeguard democratic rights to expression of views.

To ensure that such principles are given life in practice, we urge that the community (e.g., through elected representatives) decide to:

1. Establish a Council of Elders [in the First Nations sense of the term] responsible to remind parties of responsibilities and freedoms in relation to the planning and holding of events, and to speak with both parties about the state of their relationship within a common community;

2. Establish the role of Accompaniers who would act as observers and companions to marchers, be identifiable to all sides (including the media), and bear witness to responsibilities and expression of views in practice.

Such principles and actions will endure only with the full understanding, not only of those involved in events like those of November 16 to 18, 2001, but also of the community generally. We believe it is important to:

1. Educate police on what is at issue in these events, be it policies of international institutions or the needs of the developing world to foster respect and understanding for views which marchers express;

2. Assure the community that they can safely and openly express their views through marches in public spaces;

3. Build longer-term confidence within the community about the positive role of such events in promoting democratic expression, e.g., through interactive forums held periodically or annually if possible for all parties;

4. Recognize the accountability of civic leaders, as well as policing authorities, for safeguarding both security of persons and property as well as democratic rights to expression and assembly.

Public understanding must be fostered by action, especially by the media, to:

1. Recognize the value of public expression of views to an active democratic community;

2. Represent what actually happens as those views are expressed, and particularly to focus on peaceful expression, as well as the constructive role of authorities in enabling that expression - thereby representing the "feature" event rather than the "side show" if one exists;

3. Promote an awareness of the power of peaceful expression through free and unimpeded reporting.

Specific measures are also needed to safeguard persons, as well as their rights to expression and assembly. Action needs to be taken to:

- Use public security resources in appropriate ways, particularly by using canine units to safeguard perimeters for police, not to control crowds, and reserving public security units for true threats to the peace in the event of threats, and not for peaceful marches;

- Have regular police accompany peaceful marches, working with them to ensure effective communication and coordination with all parties;

- Provide for medical and appropriate personal needs of marchers;

- Respect the rights of any persons during arrest and detention, including providing access to counsel of choice.


Terms of Reference for the Citizens Panel on Policing and the Community

The Panel

A four-person panel has been formed of leaders in the Ottawa community to deal with concerns which have been raised by police operations during citizens' demonstrations and expression of views on the weekend of November 16 to 18, when the G-20 meeting was held in Ottawa.

Context: the concerns

Citizens who participated in these marches and expressions of views have reported that they believed their rights to peaceful demonstration and use of public spaces were abrogated by some police operations. Reports include the use of apparently arbitrary searches and arrest, employment of riot squad techniques, machine guns and dogs, and intimidation in the face of peaceful protest. Such reports raise serious questions for the community and for the relationship between police and the citizenry.

Because these questions are not being examined by duly constituted boards or other public bodies, the alternative of a citizens' review has been followed.

Overall aims of the Review

The review is intended to be a transparent process where the views of citizens and the police can be aired and discussed, as part of laying the foundation for understanding the circumstances of November 16 to 18, particularly the treatment of citizens as well as the perceptions and objectives of the police; examining systemic issues in relation to policing and the free expression of citizens' opinions; and rebuilding the trust between citizens and police that is essential in a free and democratic society.

Terms of Reference for the Review

The Review seeks to carry out the following tasks:

To provide an opportunity for all parties to describe events of November 16 to 18 and the demonstrations that occurred, through encouraging all views to be expressed;

   To explore the roles and duties involved in the demonstrations and the policing, particularly the rights to free expression and security of the person on the one hand, and the needs to protect dignitaries and property on the other;

To raise the level of public debate about both these roles of citizens and the duties inherent in policing, and the policies and standards which direct those duties; and

To make recommendations which will serve both this and other communities in striking an appropriate and mutually respectful balance between rights and duties within the framework of a free and democratic society.

The Approach to be Followed

The Review is intended to be a process that is transparent while respecting individual privacy where requested, and which will seek to uncover truth and aim at reconciliation. The Panel will invite written and oral submissions and will seek advice from all sides prior to writing its own observations and recommendations.

Submission Procedures

The Citizens Panel intends a process that is transparent while respecting individual privacy where requested, and which will seek to uncover truth and aim at reconciliation. The Panel invites written and oral submissions and will seek advice from all sides prior to writing its own observations and recommendations.

Written submissions should be a maximum of 5 pages double-spaced, may be in French or English, submitted by email or by mail. At the top of the first page of your submission, provide your name, unless you have indicated you wish full privacy (see below).

On a cover sheet indicate:

  Is this a PRIVATE or a PUBLIC submission? If public, may it   go on the web site? with your name attached?

  The date

  Your name and a contact street address and phone number

  If you wish to appear before the panel in person, indicate   your availability for the public session dates;

A brief summary highlighting the key items you wish to address.

Deadlines for written submissions are

February 21-  summaries

March 2 - full written submissions

Please send written materials to:

   Mail: Citizens Panel, Box 722, 410 Bank Street, Ottawa, ON K1Y 1Y8

   (If it is convenient to provide 6 copies, please do.)


Public sessions for oral presentations at Ottawa locations will be announced by February 14. Presentations will be scheduled by volunteers providing administrative support to the Citizen Panel, who will contact individuals with the date and approximate time of presentation. If it is the only way to hear a range of stories, requests to present will be screened to consolidate similar statements and representative presentations will be selected. Any submissions not presented in person will still be incorporated into the final report. If time permits, drop-in presenters may also be invited to speak.

If you wish to make a presentation, please provide a brief synopsis to the Panel, by February 21, with full contact information, to facilitate scheduling; if you are a member of a group, you might choose to consolidate your presentation, and to identify a single spokesperson; other members of the group should attend the session to help answer any questions posed by the Panel.

Records, Confidentiality, and Privacy

The Panel is a community process, not a judicial one. Records kept will include only the written submissions and a note of proceedings (who has presented and when).

   1. Names (with addresses) will be taken as provided by presenters.

   2. Personal information will be released only on permission of the individual.

   3. Personal information submitted to the panel will not be detailed in the Panel's observations or recommendations, which will address issues generically.

   4. For 'Full Privacy' please have a friend send an email and provide a contact number.

Media will not be excluded from the public sessions, but the panel will not provide media with any of the written materials submitted. To keep the hearings as informal as possible, recording with audio or video equipment will not be encouraged.

ANNEX 2: Presenters & Written Submissions
                                                                                            [Note: The full text of most presentations are available online.]
Presenters: Thursday, February 21, 2002

1  Jamie Kneen and Mary Hutcheon
2  Alma Norman, Ria Heynen and others (Raging Grannies)
3  Denise Veilleux
4  John Baglow
5  Ellie Barrington
6  Nancy Peckford and Muna Deria
7  Paul Smith
8  Peter Atack
9  Bill Moore-Kilgannon
10 John Hollingsworth
11 Sarah Dover

Presenters: Tuesday, February 26, 2002

12 Sharon Moon
13 Pegi Caesar and others (First United)
14 Evan Dyer
15 Tim Lash
16 Carl Hétu
17 Laurence Clément-Sirois
18 Bob Stevenson
19 Betty-Ann Davis
20 Caroline Parry
21 Sybil Grace
22 Patricia McGraw

Presenters: Thursday, February 28, 2002

23 Alex Cullen
24 Jane Keeler
25 Jared O'Neill
26 Howard Clark
27 Jantine Van Kreghen
28 David Robbins
29 Vicki Smallman
30 Geoff Bickerton
31 Alex Campbell
32 Evelyn Gigantes
33 John Sifton
34 Rick Reimer
35 Mary Hutcheon
36 Marie-Claude Huot
37 Christian Legeais
38 Stuart Ryan

Presenters: Saturday, March 2, 2002

39 Richard Renshaw
40 Neil Wallace
41 Clive Doucet
42 James Pratt
43 Normand Pellerin (author) and Paul Saubière (presenter)
44 Jan Heynan
45 Ian Allen
46 Angela Pinchero
47 Janet Parr
48 Ken Johnson
49 Audrey Brewster & Sean Darcy
50 Nancy Lauder
51 Soha Kneen
52 Bob Thomson
53 John Downey
54 Randall Marlin
55 Christine Shaikin

Written Submissions Received without Presentation

56 Laura Brawn
57 Stephen Brunette
58 Michael Dallaire
59 Erin Fowler
60 Alison Gorbould
61 Nathan Hauch
62 James MacIntosh
63 T. Howard Mains
64 Chris Nolan
65 Jim Nolan
66 Donald Parkinson
67 Hugh Pouliot