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1998 Brickbats and bouquets

Our first annual reporting of the best and worst defenders of civil liberties in British Columbia

Brickbats

Andy Scott

Canada’s former Solicitor-General, for denying legal funding to complainants who appeared before the Public Complaints Commission hearings into events surrounding the APEC conference held in Vancouver.

The B.C. College of Teachers

For its continued refusal to certify the teacher-training program at Trinity Western University on the ground that the University’s code of conduct regards homosexual acts as sinful.

The B.C. Ministry of Health

For B.C.’s new Mental Health Act, which significantly expands the criteria for involuntary committal and treatment of non-violent mental patients.

The Commissioner of Canada Elections

For his decision to prosecute British Columbians who choose to exercise their displeasure with government by spoiling their election ballots.

The City of New Westminster

For over-stepping its authority and usurping court powers when it banned convicted drug-dealers from large areas of New Westminster, and for invoking other, inappropriate police tactics in its battle against street crime.

The Prime Minister’s Office

For filing formal complaints with the CBC over the public broadcaster’s unflattering reports of alleged political involvement of the PMO in RCMP security arrangements at APEC.

The Surrey School Board

For upholding its classroom ban of the books Asha’s Mums, Belinda’s Bouquet, and One Dad, Two Dads, Brown Dad, Blue Dads, despite a B.C. Supreme Court decision that found the ban to be unjustified.

The University of British Columbia

For its decision that only women candidates could apply for the new assistant professor position in the UBC Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Bouquets

 

Rafe Mair

For his strong CKNW editorials on free speech and freedom of assembly.

Terry Milewski

For his CBC coverage of the Public Complaints Commission hearings into the RCMP crackdown at APEC.

The Law Foundation of British Columbia

For its continued funding of important civil liberties causes in 1998.

The B.C. Transit Authority

For reversing its decision to regulate the content of newspapers and other publications that may be distributed free of charge at transit stops within greater Vancouver.

The Globe and Mail, The National Post, and The Vancouver Sun

For their strong editorials defending the free speech rights of British Columbians and all Canadians.

The University of British Columbia

For its 1998 apology to the UBC Department of Political Science for the unwarranted and damaging actions taken by the University administration in response to unfounded allegations of racial and sexual harassment in 1995.