Tuesday, February 12, 2002

Close Encounters in Bayfront Park

VIEW Magazine, February 21 - 27, 2002

Despite assurances from the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry that their Tuesday evening war-training incursions into Bayfront Park are open to the public, spectators can expect to be questioned by military commanders, and accused of suspected terrorist activity.

Fully armed soldiers marching double time through a residential street in Hamilton and then creeping through the darkness of Bayfront Park is strange enough.

But the following conversation, transcribed from videotape, reveals the state of military Macarthyism in Canada, post September 11.

As two VIEW magazine reporters stood in the public park video-taping the event on Tuesday (February 19), they were approached by a military commander.

RHLI Sergeant: "G'Day sir. Do you have any identification?"

Reporter 1: "Who are you?"

RHLI: "Sergeant of the 'RHLI.'"

R1: "Sorry?"

RHLI: "Is there any reason why you're taking photographs?"

R1: "It's a public park"

RHLI: "Is there a reason why you're taking photographs?"

R1: "Is there a law against taking pictures? We were invited down [through an RHLI media release] to the public is invited to come down and see the display, so we're here with a video camera."

RHLI: "Is that what you're doing sir?

R1:"Yes [pause as he stares at us], yes, sorry, I'm filming, I don't want to turn it off --"

RHLI: "What are you filming for?"

R1: "Because there are soldiers in the park, at night, which is rather interesting. I don't have to explain this to you, but I will because you're asking and I've nothing to hide, so --

RHLI: "We've got nothing to hide either, sir."

R1: "Right, so we're just filming...

RHLI: "Just wondering what you're doing, that's all."

R1: "We're filming soldiers..."

RHLI: "We wouldn't want you to have anything on you that you shouldn't have--

R1: "Like what?..."

RHLI: "...endangering the life of people."

R1: "Like a gun you mean? Like a weapon? Like a C9 or a C7? I don't think so."

RHLI: "No?"

R1: "I have a video camera."

RHLI: "No? I'm just wondering with all this terrorism going on, I just wanted to make sure that I--"

R1: "That I'm not a terrorist?!"

RHLI: "That, ah..."

R2: "Are you suggesting that we're terrorists?"

RHLI: "No, I'm just asking to make sure that there's not something you are carrying that would endanger other lives."

R1: "Are you trying to...do you want to search us, or..."

R2: "There are a number of men here with..."
RHLI: "They're training..."

R2: "...weapons, those weapons endanger lives."

R1: "And it is Bayfront Park."

R2: "and I'm holding an umbrella."

RHLI "Just wonderin', just wonderin."

R1: "So you were just making sure..."

RHLI [Turning to leave]:That's fine, thank you..."
R1: "...wondering if we're terrorists at all. OK, thanks for checking, I feel much safer now."

No comments:

Post a Comment