Layman's Lens

Life is beautiful.

5 years after G20, democracy, and same-sex marriage

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I was thinking about how to mark the 5 year anniversary of the G20 summit and the police’s poor handling of peaceful protestors and innocent bystanders at the event. Peaceful protests were mired by members of the Black Bloc appearing and causing damage to buildings and even setting fire to a police cruiser. The police began sweeping arrests and failed to differentiate between Black Bloc members and peaceful protestors and other bystanders. Over 1100 people were detained with the majority being released without charges (all but 278) in what has been called the “largest mass arrest in Canada’s peacetime history”.

In the aftermath, the Ontario government and police admitted to misleading the public about their powers to stop and search members of the public. Ombudsman Andre Marin stated “[i]t was ‘illegal’ and ‘likely unconstitutional’ for Premier Dalton McGuinty’s government to pass a secret regulation that police used to detain people”. One video shows an officer telling a man “this isn’t Canada any more…you have no civil rights” when he refuses to have his bag searched. To his credit, the former police Chief, Bill Blair ordered an in-depth review of all police actions at the G20 and made the findings public.

Today’s announcement of same-sex marriage becoming legal in the US struck me as an example of positive change that is possible when citizens are given the freedom to stand up and be counted through peaceful demonstrations. In fact, one of the protests in advance of the G20 was to highlight the need for stronger LGBT rights among the G20 member countries (at the time only five members allowed same-sex marriage while three members had laws making same-sex relationships illegal). Each demonstration, protest or parade raises awareness and tips over a few more dominos in a slow but relentless progression to announcements like the one we heard today.

The Canadian government’s decision to hold the G20 in Toronto’s dense downtown core and the police’s treatment of peaceful protesters are a big deal because they could lead to people being less willing to participate in important future demonstrations. I think democracy exists on a continuum, with our society shifting back and forth depending on who is in charge, how transparent our government is etc. I believe our society became a little less democratic after the G20. Many innocent people and peaceful protesters that were detained and/or strip searched are much more likely to steer clear of similar protests in the future. And without people feeling comfortable participating in peaceful demonstrations, social progress is in danger of slowing or even stopping. President Obama today said, “We have made our union a little more perfect” but he also opposed gay marriage in 2008 to maintain the support of his base. Our elected leaders have no choice but to reflect the beliefs of their electorate – it is up to us to clearly show them what our beliefs are.

It is concerning that after admissions of guilt, public outrage and multiple reports, no one was ultimately held responsible for how the peaceful G20 protesters and bystanders were treated. A few officers who were caught on video for particularly egregious misconduct were charged in isolated cases. Only two senior police officials faced misconduct charges for the police actions during the G20. Superintendent Dave Fenton pleaded not guilty to five charges of unlawful arrest and discreditable conduct for two “kettling” incidents during the G20 weekend at his police tribunal hearing which heard closing arguments recently. Inspector Gary Meissner was also charged with misconduct, but he retired before his hearing could take place.

Even though it turned out to be dangerous to be a peaceful protester at the G20, I continue to believe that we need to encourage each other to stand up for issues we believe in. In order to do this, the police need to protect the rights of those who are willing to stand up and be counted through peaceful protest from anarchists like the Black Bloc. Today the US took an important step forward in social change, brought on by the Supreme Court. But let’s not forget the decades of peaceful protests and activism that underlie today’s decision. There is much social change still needed, and many miles still to march until we get there.

Written by Tilak Dutta

June 26, 2015 at 11:21 pm

Posted in G20

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All about the hats

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Grandma looks bad-ass.

The family photo from Tonya’s family Thanksgiving celebration.

Written by Tilak Dutta

October 8, 2012 at 2:13 pm

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AGFC

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This was done on an extremely dark night and both Tonya and I were are considerable risk of falling in the lake...

 

Tonya showing off her light painting skillz at the cottage.

Written by Tilak Dutta

August 27, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Collingwood Sunset

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It's an aptly named park...that's for sure.

We caught this great sunset at Sunset Point Park in Collingwood on Saturday.

Written by Tilak Dutta

August 26, 2012 at 9:57 pm

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Kitemara 2.0

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The camera took a bit of a crash landing and now the lense makes a funny noise from the sand that's stuck in it...

I jigged the camera cradle to make it point at us more directly and got photos of us from much higher up today. By the way…Tonya is fine. She was simply trying to do something interesting for the camera to photograph.

Written by Tilak Dutta

August 11, 2012 at 1:56 pm

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Lake Scribble

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While I was fiddling with the camera preparting to take this photo Tonya said "Just keep in mind that I'm cold and wet..."

Tonya helped me create some more light writing over Lake Huron. This one was done with the help of an Ikea LED string.

Written by Tilak Dutta

August 10, 2012 at 4:06 pm

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Kitemara

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Again...no mars rover landing...but I was plenty worried with a camera dangling high overhead...

 

A photo of Tonya taken from a camera tied to a kite as shown below.

 

We have a number of ideas for an improved Kitemara 2.0...

 

 

Written by Tilak Dutta

August 9, 2012 at 5:50 pm

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Blue Water Starry Sky

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...LED flashlights are a close second...

Blue electro-luminescent wire is my new favorite photography accessory.

Written by Tilak Dutta

August 8, 2012 at 4:11 pm

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Kite at Sunset

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...not quite as exciting as the seven minutes of terror...but almost...

Tonya flying a kit at sunset…

Written by Tilak Dutta

August 6, 2012 at 8:46 pm

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At the cottage

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...in Tobermory.

Yesterday around sunset…

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August 6, 2012 at 7:31 am

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Four Seasons

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I was worried I wouldn't understand what was happening, but they have a screen above the stage that translates what the performers are singing to make it easier to follow along.

Tonya and I went to the Four Season’s Centre to see a production of Mozart’s, The Magic Flute (an opera). It was my first visit to the building. It’s even more beautiful inside than from the outside.

Written by Tilak Dutta

February 26, 2012 at 12:37 pm

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Big Screen

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Don't worry...there are a number of us that are working on getting Kinect-based gesture control working.

Yue and Adam in front of the new screen that was just installed at the lab. The idea is we’ll be able to view and work on solid works drawings at life-size. What’s crazy is that each of the 80 tiles has 1080P resolution. But computers don’t have the horspower to be able to drive the full screen at full-res. Right now, the best we can do is half-res.

Written by Tilak Dutta

February 23, 2012 at 9:13 pm

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Grandma

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She may be the most photogenic person we know...

A photo of Tonya’s Grandma from the holidays.

Written by Tilak Dutta

February 2, 2012 at 8:55 pm

Posted in Portrait

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CEAL Simulator Pod Change

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This is a timelapse of Susan and Larry taking StairLab off the simulator platform and placing StreetLab in its place. Right now it takes about a day to complete a pod swap. Most of that time is spent undoing and redoing ~100 bolts by hand. The goal is to get the swap time down to half a day by replacing existing bolts with fewer larger easier to access fasteners.

Music by Moby –  Isolate (Mixhell Remix)

If you don’t already know what CEAL or these pods are for, see here for an explanation.

Written by Tilak Dutta

January 30, 2012 at 11:30 pm

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Spikes

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These spikes are much better than the yak-trax if your considering getting some...

This photo and the one yesterday were entered in a photo contest. My mom finds these cleat things really work to cut chances of slipping on ice.

Written by Tilak Dutta

January 30, 2012 at 8:05 pm

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Reach-n-grab

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Really, I was testing out a new reflector I got for Christmas...fills in the shadows nicely...

Ma demonstrating the use of a reacher-grabber.

Written by Tilak Dutta

January 27, 2012 at 8:45 pm

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Thesis in 100 words

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Only 264 pages!

Tonya helped me print off and bind five copies of my thesis yesterday. This is the 100 word cloud my 52075 word thesis generated. Here’s what it’s about if your interested.

Two printers ran out of toner printing these.

Don’t get too excited. There’s still a ways to go. This is in preparation for my departmental exam. After that, we have the final defence … some time in April.

Written by Tilak Dutta

January 26, 2012 at 12:31 pm

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NY During the Day

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imho the city that never sleeps looks better at night...

Here’s the view from our hotel during the day.

Written by Tilak Dutta

January 7, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Posted in HDR, NY

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New York

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Don't worry...I took plenty of timelapses too...

We had a spectacular view of the city from our hotel room balcony.

Written by Tilak Dutta

January 4, 2012 at 11:44 am

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Snow Bridge

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Winter photo walks tend to be short because my fingers stop working after a while and it becomes difficult to operate the camera...

One more snowy image from our walk on the Mill Race in St. Jacobs.

Written by Tilak Dutta

January 1, 2012 at 8:54 pm

Posted in snow

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