BCCLA Endorses Report, Says Olympic Police Can Do Better

The BCCLA announced its general support for a series of recommendations issued by the 2010 Olympic Civil Liberties Advisory Committee today, but added that the recommendations ought to go further to ensure free speech and free assembly rights are protected in and around the Winter Games venues and corridors between them.

“These recommendations are a valuable contribution to the ongoing dialogue about the impact on civil liberties leading up to, during and after the 2010 Winter Olympics are held in Vancouver. We want to express our sincere thanks to the committee for their hard work,” said
Robert Holmes, President of the BCCLA. “With that said, the BCCLA would go further, including recommending the abolition of the so-called “safe assembly areas‟ and recommending that undercover police be prohibited both from inciting wrongful acts and from infiltrating and leading in the planning of protests.”

The Civil Liberties Advisory Council (“CLAC”) was a “blue ribbon panel” of a retired provincial court judge, and academics with expertise in security and legal issues assembled by the BCCLA. Completely independent of the BCCLA, the CLAC met with the Integrated Security Unit, City of Vancouver, and VANOC, among others, to discuss civil liberties issues.

“The most important recommendation CLAC has made is that VANOC and security forces cannot hope to satisfy civil liberty concerns by purporting to stay within the black letter of Canadian law,” said Holmes. “They have a duty to live up to the spirit of the law and preserve the rights of Canadians to express themselves around the Olympics. Hopefully, this report will persuade them to recognize and respect that.”

Robert Holmes, President, 604-838-6856
David Eby, Executive Director, 778-865-7997