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BCCLA’s brickbats and bouquets for 2001

The BCCLA is pleased to announce the winners of its 2001 Brickbats and Bouquets awards, given annually to the best defenders and worst offenders of civil liberties in British Columbia.

BOUQUETS

  1. A single red rose to Andrew Telegdi, the lone Liberal MP to vote against Bill C-36, the federal anti-terrorism law, in the House of Commons.
  2. A bouquet to Inspector Kash Heed of the Vancouver Police Department for his testimony before both the Special Senate Committee on Illegal Drugs and the Special House Committee on the Non-Medical Use of Drugs, in which he indicated that the VPD has initiated a policy of not charging persons for the possession of drugs and called upon legislators to consider decriminalizing marijuana.
  3. Kudos to the former provincial New Democratic government for enacting anti-SLAPP legislation, the Protection of Public Participation Act. This Act had been supported by the BCCLA on the basis that it struck an appropriate balance between protecting public participation in the public forum and ensuring that legitimate lawsuits could proceed without burden.
  4. A very large bouquet to Ron Churchill, for single-handedly and successfully taking TransLink to court for its unconstitutional refusal to permit him to distribute election materials in the last federal election.
  5. A bouquet to TransLink, for voluntarily responding to our request to amend its policies to permit the distribution of printed material for non-commercial purposes on TransLink property, including political campaign literature.
  6. An award for Don MacPherson of the City of Vancouver for his tireless work in humanizing and rationalizing the City’s drug policy through his crafting of the Four Pillars Strategy and other courageous and innovative means to address the issues raised by drug use in the city.
  7. A bouquet to the provincial Liberal government for its decision to repeal the NDP’s Secure Care Act. The BCCLA opposed the NDP legislation on the basis that the power provided in the Act to detain youth for up to 90 days could result in preventative detention and forced long term treatment.
  8. Further, we objected on the basis that there are insufficient services currently available to youth who seek treatment on a voluntary basis.
  9. Recognition to Federal Privacy Commissioner George Radwanski, for his continuing efforts to draw public attention to the invasion of privacy created by the Kelowna RCMP’s ongoing use of video surveillance in Kelowna’s downtown core.
  10. An electronic bouquet to Paul Bryan, for displaying federal election results on his web site prior to the close of the polls and challenging the federal election law prohibiting such activity.
  11. Congratulations to the federal Liberal government for enacting Bill C-6, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, thereby protecting the privacy rights of Canadians in their dealings with private sector organizations.
  12. A bouquet to federal Minister of Health, Allan Rock, for his support for safe injection sites in the Downtown Eastside.
  13. An award to Sa Tan, aka Brian Godzilla Salmi, for his challenge to the B.C. Election Act requirement that nominations for candidates be accompanied by a $100 deposit, thereby setting up a discriminatory barrier to low income persons participating in the electoral process.
  14. A final flower for Mayor Philip Owen for his efforts to treat drug addiction as a health issue rather than a criminal justice issue. The mayor has come a long way from his days when his major position on the drug issue was to criticize the courts for sentences handed out to drug offenders. We will need his continued leadership to realize the goal of drug reform.

BRICKBATS

  1. Shame on Prime Minister Jean Chretien for the contempt he showed to the decision of the Hughes APEC Inquiry and his continuing refusal to apologize for his office’s responsibility for the improper treatment of student protestors at UBC.
  2. Double shame on Jean Chretien and the federal Liberal government for forcing through Bill C-36, refusing to make the amendments to that legislation which we and others called for and invoking closure on debate on the bill in both the House and the Senate.
  3. A volley of brickbats to the provincial NDP, the provincial Liberals and federal Justice Minister Anne McLellan for their combined support for the Vancouver Drug Court. The BCCLA opposes the Drug Court initiative on the basis that the continuing use of the criminal law as a means of dissuading drug use is wrong as a matter of principle, and further on the basis that drug addicts ought not to have to admit to a crime in order to obtain timely access to treatment.
  4. A brickbat to the provincial Liberal government for their continued insistence on holding a $9 million dollar provincial referendum on treaty negotiations, which, in the BCCLA’s view, can be of no assistance in the important task of negotiating and finalizing treaties with B.C.’s First Nations.
  5. A lump of coal in their stocking to the Kelowna RCMP for choosing to ignore the grave privacy concerns raised by the Privacy Commissioner over their use of video surveillance.
  6. A brickbat to the RCMP for failing to apologize to Sunera Thobani and all Canadians for the remarks by an RCMP officer who suggested that Ms. Thobani’s controversial comments regarding American foreign policy might be hate propaganda. The BCCLA is concerned that the RCMP’s failure to clear the air has left a chilling effect on controversial speech.
  7. A large brickbat to Elections Canada, which has formally charged Jonathan Oppenheimer and others for eating their ballots during the last federal election. Mr. Oppenheimer’s case goes to court January 11, 2002.
  8. A brickbat to the provincial Liberal government for its decision to repeal the NDP’s anti-SLAPP legislation.
  9. To the Indian Taxation Advisory Board, a brickbat for failing to recognize important democratic principles by not advising the federal Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development to reform voting rules in the Indian Act to ensure that non-aboriginal residents on Indian reserves can vote on matters for which they are taxed. And, a brickbat to Robert Nault, the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, for not taking the initiative on his own to permit meaningful participation for non-aboriginal residents in decision-making that affects them on aboriginal reserves.
  10. A final brickbat to the Special House Committee on Assisted Reproduction for their recent report in which they supported the criminalization of a wide variety of assisted reproductive practices and sought to discourage surrogacy by outlawing all payments, even for medical, legal and other expenses, for surrogate mothers.