Where is the left on the Olympic gag law?

Post by Mike Klassen in ,

8 comments

geoff-meggs-council.jpg
Mayor 'Geoff' Meggs: "It's just business" (photo: Vancouver Sun)

Last night as I watched several minutes of media presentations by the RCMP on the six o'clock news, I had the eery feeling I was being softened up for something much larger by Chief Superintendent Bud Mercer. That "larger" something might be benign. The billion dollars worth of security planned by the Games organizers, the RCMP, CSIS and the Armed Forces might simply blend in to Vancouver's happy-go-lucky environment. I suspect we'll be feeling much different though.

As much as I've been a Games booster all along, I won't be happy with the constant buzzing of helicopters overhead before and during the Games. The traffic copters are bad enough. I live close enough to the Hillcrest venue and downtown that I suspect I'll be a regular witness to security checks, motorcades, and lots of serious folks in uniforms. Metal detectors and byzantine council by-laws do not give me a warm and fuzzy feeling about the upcoming Games.

Speaking of not so comforting, the city's salesman on the Games gag law is Mayor Geoff Meggs, whose cool exterior makes Peter Ladner (also noted for his froideur) look like Carrot Top.

Perhaps Meggs is the perfect pitchman for the upcoming lockdown of any non-sanctioned activities around the Olympics. When your rights are being limited, it's hardly the time for yucks. Could you imagine Heather Deal, for example, selling us on this crackdown on liberties?

The most puzzling aspect of this whole story is how successfully Vision have stamped out dissent on the left. No one, apart from anti-Games activist Chris Shaw and a few of his acolytes, have raised any serious questions about the heavy security, nor about the use of the gag law to squash any anti-Games sentiment.

Stop for a moment and think what we'd be seeing if Sam Sullivan was the mayor and the NPA were in government. The screams from left wing activists, and their representatives on council, would be a daily occurrence by now.

Pete McMartin over at the Sun put together a thoughtful editorial on this topic, and he has similar questions. Here's Pete's list of what we're looking at in terms of the new gag law:

  • No distribution of advertising material, or the carrying of any sign "unless licensed to do so by the city."
  • No display of signs other than those of a "celebratory" or directional nature.
  • No causing of "any disturbance . . . interfering with the enjoyment of entertainment on city land by other persons."
  • No "voice amplification equipment" on city property for the duration of the Games.
  • As for anti-Olympic marches or protests, they will be relegated to "safe assembly areas" that Games organizers promise will be within sight of venues and spectators.

McMartin asks what famous rights protester Rosa Parks would have made of the heavy security arrangements and the "get on the back of the bus" rules for those who don't support the Games.

Rosa, may she rest in peace, is long gone. The last time I checked however, Vancouver's left wingers are still around. Amazingly, Vision Vancouver has them all firmly under their heel.

8 Comments

I think David Eby, the BCCLA and Pivot Legal might have something to say about this issue. They've been in the media quite a lot lately, maybe you missed it?

The Tyee and Georgia Straight are probably the two biggest left-wing Vancouver/BC publications. And they've both been railing against this. Which left-wingers have you seen a lack of outrage from? Cause without naming names, you've got a pretty weak argument.

Seriously? A few blog posts is what constitutes "outrage" now that Vision is government? I hope you're kidding me on this one. Standing up for principles involves just a little more than talking to people who already agree with you.

That's not what you were claiming though.

"The most puzzling aspect of this whole story is how successfully Vision have stamped out dissent on the left. No one, apart from anti-Games activist Chris Shaw and a few of his acolytes, have raised any serious questions about the heavy security, nor about the use of the gag law to squash any anti-Games sentiment."

Maybe angry blog posts and media coverage aren't a protest or march, but they are certainly far more than what you implied. Vision hasn't quashed dissent on the left (council yes, but party leaders are not "the left") and unless you don't actually read any left-wing blogs or publications, I'm not sure how you arrived at the conclusion that no one had raised serious questions about these issues. In fact, they've been a large majority of the left-wing coverage on the Olympics.

I stand by my suggestion, that if the NPA were governing the city and not Vision, you guys would be out on the streets. Now that the unions and the left have their gang in power, protest is blog comments.

And Gordon Campbell's (a man widely despised by the left wing) homeless law? I don't see the left in the streets either. There's a bit more squawking, but truth is Vancouver isn't Paris. We don't swarm the streets for protest (unless you're a cyclist) at every offence.

I'd also like to note the irony of a blogger protesting a law while simultaneously saying that blog posts aren't protest. Does that mean Robertson has "stamped out dissent" from City Caucus and that Vision has you "firmly under their heel?"

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