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Liberty Awards 2014 Recipients

The BCCLA is delighted to honour the 2014 Liberty Award recipients for their outstanding leadership to promote human rights and freedoms in Canada. Previous Liberty Award recipients can be viewed here.

Reg Robson Award

Named after a BCCLA past president and well known civil liberties advocate, the Reg Robson award is given annually to honour a community member who has demonstrated a substantial and long-lasting contribution to the cause of civil liberties in B.C. and Canada. This is the first, and longest standing, award given by the BCCLA. Meet our other Reg Robson winners.
Dr. Jennifer Wade has worked tirelessly for human rights locally and globally, contributing significantly to the cause of civil liberties and human rights in BC and Canada. Among her many activities, Jennifer is the co-founder of Amnesty International’s Vancouver chapter, and a long serving member of the Board of Directors for the Elizabeth Fry Society and SOS Children’s Villages.

Unsung Hero Award

This award is a special honour being given out only this year. The BCCLA is pleased to recognize Dr. Muriel Groves, a BCCLA Board member since 2011, with this special award. Muriel has quietly but powerfully guided the Association’s work on mental health issues, including stewarding our work on involuntary admission and treatment in non-criminal cases. We owe her a debt of gratitude for her leadership on this issue, and are pleased to honour her today. Muriel

Liberty Awards

Liberty Award recipients are devoted to the cause of protecting and expanding hard-won democratic rights and freedoms; their collective contributions are invaluable—and essential—to the work of the BC Civil Liberties Association. The BCCLA began issuing these awards in 2012 to mark our 50th anniversary as an organization. Click here to meet our previous Liberty Award winners.

Excellence in Legal Advocacy – Individual

John Conroy, Q.C. is the recipient of this year’s Excellence in Legal Advocacy – Individual award. John has been practicing law since 1972 in the Vancouver area and practices criminal defence, as well as constitutional, administrative, and civil law at all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada. John has spent his entire career fighting liberty issues for prisoners. It would be difficult to imagine what the state of prison law would be in BC and Canada without his contribution. Additionally, he has acted in numerous cases on the issue of marihuana medical access regulations, as well as serving as counsel to the Vancouver Area Network of Drug users (VANDU) in the historic effort to keep safe injection site Insite open. John is also the founding President of Norml Canada, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws in Canada. banner

Excellence in Legal Advocacy – Firm

JFK Law Corporation is being awarded this year’s Excellence in Legal Advocacy – Firm award. Known for their extensive expertise in Aboriginal Law, JFK is being honoured for their pro bono work on the BCCLA’s Worm v. Canada case.BobbyLee Worm was held in solitary confinement for more than three and a half years while in federal prison, under a program known as the ‘Management Protocol’. For two years, JFK Law Corporation worked tirelessly alongside the BCCLA to obtain justice for BobbyLee and to expose the unconstitutional practice of prolonged solitary confinement in the Canadian prison system.Two days after the suit was filed, prison officials released Ms. Worm from the program. Later that same month,  Correctional Services Canada announced that it would end its use of the program across Canada.  IMG_0175 (1)

Excellence in Journalism

Ewen MacAskill, Laura Poitras, Barton D. Gellman, and Glenn Greenwald, the journalists who first revealed the extent of the National Security Agency’s surveillance activities, are the recipients of this year’s award for Excellence in Journalism. Their work not only brought to public attention the information gathered by courageous whistleblower Edward Snowden, but it continues to inform and fuel the public discourse around surveillance and privacy issues. The consequences for their own mobility and safety have been huge, and these journalists have taken a great personal risk in order to blow open the most important public debate about government surveillance and its consequences that the global community has ever had. June 2014 marks the one year anniversary of the Snowden revelations. The BCCLA is pleased to honor the group of journalists who helped give this young man’s dissent a voice, a platform, and a context.  Binary Code Abstract

Excellence in the Arts

Franke James is the recipient of this year’s Excellence in the Arts award. Franke has spent years producing original artwork inspired by social and environmental justice. Franke’s artwork and books span print, TV, radio, and online mediums in Canada, the USA, and many other parts of the world. Outspoken on environmental issues, her works have come into conflict with the federal government – leading to the cancellation of her 20-city European art exhibition because of government interference from high-level bureaucrats. Her experiences as an artist facing muzzling and censorship by the federal government led to the publishing of her third book, Banned on the Hill, which chronicles her experience with free expression through eight “visual essays”. Her focus on environmental and social justice, and her fight for free expression, are a few of the reasons she is this year’s recipient.  Franke James, Do Not Talk campaign, Ottawa May 2013

Excellence in Youth Activism

The Fraser Valley Youth Society is being awarded this year’s Excellence in Youth Advocacy award for their brave efforts to organize Abbotsford’s first Pride Parade. The Fraser Valley Youth Society took initiative, demonstrated their bravery and leadership, and organized Abbotsford’s first LGBTQ+ Pride Parade. Their hard work and determination meant that the May 25th, 2013 event was a success, attracting hundreds of marchers, hundreds more spectators, and paving the way for LGBTQ+ expression, inclusion, and pride in the city.  




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