The acting executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association today (January 20) described as “dangerous” the proposed Olympic-related amendments to the Vancouver Charter being sought by city staff.
David Eby told the Straight that the changes outlined in a report by city staff could adversely impact freedom of speech.
These include allowing the removal of graffiti without notice, and signage from private property with limited notice.
Staff stated in a report to council that this is “necessitated by the short duration and high exposure of the Games”.
“Current regulatory powers with respect to these two items would not facilitate removal of graffiti or illegal signage,” the report said.
Eby said that this would allow bylaw enforcers to tear down, for example, anti-Olympic signs posted on a condo window.
Staff is also seeking a clarification of the rules covering distribution of “advertising matter on any street”, which Eby said could be used to prevent activists and anti-Olympics groups from handing out leaflets.
“Absolutely it will be challenged,” Eby said, when asked if the amendments could be taken before the courts on constitutional grounds.
Eby sent the city clerk a letter today explaining his concerns about the amendments.