Aug 11 2009

2010 or 1984? What is the Vancouver Olympic Paradigm?

Published by at 7:37 am under Uncategorized

There’s no doubt the Olympics in Vancouver will impose fewer curtailments on freedom than the last one in Beijing, but that may not be saying much.

A great zinger from BC Civil Liberties Association executive director David Eby on free speech concerns in the run up to the 2010 Olympics (Vancouver Sun):

Rule 51 of the IOC Olympic Charter prohibits any “demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.” Not exactly the stuff of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but then again, nobody elected the IOC to protect democracy.

Vancouver has to abide by Olympic rules, so Vancouver Sun’s Daphne Bramham reports “Vancouver’s council recently passed an omnibus bylaw amending dozens of existing laws. Among the changes are the creation of so-called free-speech zones and blocks of the city… where no political pamphlets, leaflets, graffiti or “non-celebratory posters” will be allowed”. They mayor still insists that the whole city is a free speech zone, but at the very least, citizens are confused by the disconnect.

In an Olympic-style comparison of civil liberties violations, with gold representing something like, say, raping and torturing incarcerated protesters, thought-policing signage rules and police security screens might not get you to the top of the podium. But this is the kind of competition where you really don’t want to even be the runner-up.

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One response so far

One Response to “2010 or 1984? What is the Vancouver Olympic Paradigm?”

  1. Servanton 11 Aug 2009 at 3:05 pm

    I find it interesting that the Mayor would find the whole city as a free speech zone when there are some very clearly defined parts of his city where certain speech is specifically banned. Namely the corner of Broadway and Commercial, the north side of Broadway at 11oo block, VGH heather street pavillion (No longer in existence) and VGH Main entrance. All of these locations are defined an Bubble Zones where citizens may not participate in democracy or even
    Activities restricted in an access zone
    2 (1) While in an access zone, a person must not do any of the following:

    (a) engage in sidewalk interference;

    (b) protest;

    (c) beset;

    (d) physically interfere with or attempt to interfere with a service provider, a doctor who provides abortion services or a patient;

    (e) intimidate or attempt to intimidate a service provider, a doctor who provides abortion services or a patient.

    In fact you can’t even take pictures inside of Bubble Zones.

    No graphic recording in an access zone
    3 A person must not photograph, film, videotape, sketch or in any other way graphically record …..
    No harassment
    4 (1) A person must not do any of the following for the purpose of dissuading another person from providing or facilitating the provision of abortion services:

    Now with all of the restrictions placed by Bubble Zones within the city of Vancouver these last 15 years, where are the bleeding hearts claiming freedom of speech rights in this instance. The Olympics are here for three weeks and BC Civil Liberties is crying wolf while the last fifteen years citizens have gone to jail for simple expressing a belief that life begins at conception.

    Last month two were put in jail for pointing out the existence of the BZ law.

    Don’t talk about restrictions on freedom of speech unless you are willing to be consistent.

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