Saturday, September 21, 2013

"I Am The One Who Knocks"

For the past several years, my attention has been riveted on a show called Breaking Bad, without doubt one of the greatest television series ever produced, ranking right up there with The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, and The Wire. The tale of a chemistry teacher (played by the incredibly talented Bryan Cranston) who becomes a high-level meth producer and distributor after being diagnosed with lung cancer, the show has become increasingly dark over its five-year run, which is about to end with just two episodes remaining.

In a famous scene, shown below, the protagonist, Walter White, talks to his wife about the knock on the door, something we very frequently associate with either bad news or something deeply unsettling. Well, as reported by Thomas Walkom in today's Star, that knock on the door has come to Kincardine residents opposed to the plan to dump nuclear waste nearby. Who was knocking? The OPP "Provincial Liaison Team":

When Beverley Fernandez came to her front door one day last week, she found two Ontario Provincial Police constables patiently waiting.

Fernandez, who opposes plans to bury nuclear waste on the Lake Huron shoreline near her Kincardine-area home, was scheduled to testify at an environmental assessment hearing into the scheme.

The officers had tracked her down. Now, they told her, they were there to help. In particular, they wanted to help by knowing if her advocacy group, Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump, was planning any demonstrations.

They told her that plenty of plainclothed officers would be present at the hearings. They said they weren’t trying to stifle anyone’s free speech. And then, very politely, they left.

This performance was repeated with several dump-site critics but, curiously, none of the advocates of the plan except for Kincardine Mayor Larry Kraemer received such 'courtesy calls.'

Former provincial deputy environment minister Rod McLeod, who lives in the area, said he knows of at least six dump critics who were approached by police for a quiet chat.

The subliminal message, he said, is patently obvious: Behave yourself; we’ll be watching.

Who instigated these obvious attempts at intimidation? According to OPP Sgt. David Rektor, the liaison team took it upon themselves, as the OPP likes to have a “proactive approach” in situations where there might be “two ideas opposed to each other.”

Unfortunately, this version of 'the truth' does not square with that of the spokesman for Ontario Power Generation, Neal Kelly's. In an email, he said that the OPP’s “engagement” came at the request of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and “local municipalities.”

Perhaps the question of who instigated the 'visits' is ultimately of secondary importance. What is of paramount significance is the fact that the Ontario Provincial Police are attempting to intimidate and stifle the expression of an opinion that some do not like, clearly evidenced by the fact that none of the groups advocating for the nuclear dump site were visited.

Obviously, that Saturday knock on the door by Jehovah's Witnesses is not the only thing citizens of Ontario have to worry about.


  1. Ahhh, the Ontario Provincial Geheimstaatspolizei. Stuffing their troglodytic faces with Tim Bits while they wait on their corporate master's beck and call. It isn't just open demonstration they see as anarchic but the very notion we might give a damn about the health of our world and dare disagree with the parasitic profiteers is enough to get you tagged a terrrrrrrist in their myopic brains. They showed their true, cudgel-armed, nametag-less colours back at the G20, and this is only going to become more overt as the corporatist agenda becomes more deeply entenched and democracy wanes.

    If Hudak takes power, a lot more innocent lives will be lost, folks wrongfully jailed, and teeth kicked in at the hands of our "Friendly Neighbourhood Praetorian Guard"


    1. I agree, Neil, that things have been taking a very disturbing turn in our-so-called open society over the past several years. A strong and armed police presence is perhaps only one of the more obvious outward signs of a much deeper malaise infecting our democracy.

  2. Another indication, Lorne, that the powers that be -- regardless of political stripe -- will brook no opposition.

    1. The lyrics of our national anthem are becoming increasingly ironic, aren't they, Owen?