MP pens letter regarding local woman's incarceration

Alex Atamanenko
By Alex Atamanenko
November 10th, 2010

 Dear Minister Toews (Minister of Public Safety),

I have just received a disturbing account by a young woman from my riding regarding her experience at the G20 Summit in Toronto.

Enclosed please find her detailed explanation of her arrest.

It is important to state that I am not writing to discuss the Summit itself, but rather feel it is imperative that you see firsthand how a young Canadian woman was treated by the authorities in Toronto. Whether we agree or not with her reason for being there is immaterial, what it is important however is the flagrant abuse of her democratic rights as a Canadian citizen.

As you read her account I am certain that you will be sickened and appalled at the treatment she received. This is not something that we expect from authorities of a democratic country such as Canada.

This is what happened: As she was reaching to put on her gas mask (having heard that tear gas was being unleashed), she was violently grabbed and her face was smashed into a brick building. Her lip was split open and she started bleeding. Painful zip ties were put on with police swearing and making other derogatory comments. Being charged with “a breach of peace”, she was taken to the temporary detention centre at the Toronto Film Studio. Her pleas to use the toilet were ignored and she was taken to an empty cage and belt removed. When permitted to use the toilet, she had to do so in front of police who mocked her and made sexual insinuations. She was stripped searched and told that her nose ring would be ripped out, and then spent 12 – 13 hours alone in a cage. She was cold, hungry and thirsty and told that if she wanted a drink, she could use the toilet; no blanket was permitted. Further mocking and insulting comments were made by the police officers.

When you read her story you will see other details of this humiliating inhumane treatment. In my wildest dreams I never thought that I would see this abuse of human rights take place in Canada.

Minister, those responsible must be punished and this type of sadistic treatment must never be allowed to happen again. Many have fought and died so that we can enjoy freedom in a democratic and secure society.

It is our collective responsibility as members of the Parliament of Canada to ensure that it respected by our law enforcement officers and all Canadians.

Thank you for your consideration of this very important matter.


Alex Atamanenko, MP
BC Southern Interior


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