Labour leader Sid Ryan defended a statement he made this week regarding the possible use of police agents provocateurs that prompted a call for his resignation.
Ryan, the president of the Ontario Federation of Labour, told the Canadian Press Thursday he hoped the Integrated Security Unit, in charge of securing the G8 and G20 summits, wouldn’t plant cops disguised as protesters to incite violence.
That comment prompted a strong reaction from Toronto Police Association president Mike McCormack, who’s called for Ryan’s resignation. He described Ryan’s statement as “idiotic, irresponsible and inflammatory.”
“It’s obviously a cheap attempt at publicity,” McCormack said. “He should be writing fiction because obviously he isn’t dealing with reality. At the very least he should apologize to Toronto’s finest for his groundless attack.”
Ryan reiterated his concern about agents provocateurs Thursday evening.
“These concerns are far from ‘groundless,’ as suggested by Toronto Police Association President Mike McCormack,” Ryan said in a statement. “The fact is there have been numerous documented cases of police infiltration of demonstrations at protests around the world, including Canada.”
Quebec provincial police admitted they placed three undercover officers among protesters at the North American leaders summit in Montebello, Que. in Aug. 2007 (pictured above), but denied they were there to incite violence.
An online video, which Ryan cited in his release, shows one of the officers holding a rock. Protesters are seen on the video calling them out and demanding they remove their masks.
“I am very concerned that there could be political pressure from the federal Conservative government to use police to provoke a situation that will lead to arrests-purely to justify the enormous security costs of the G20 Summit,” Ryan said. “And frankly, that should be a concern for the police union as well.”
The Canadian Labour Congress and the Ontario Federation of Labour will be marching on June 26. The groups claim the demonstration will be the largest of the G20.