The B.C. Civil Liberties Association wants the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit to stop the “practice of monitoring the public democratic process that takes place at City Hall”.
BCCLA president Rob Holmes made this call in a letter dated February 17 to RCMP assistant commissioner Bud Mercer.
The matter was an offshoot of a January 22 meeting by council, which had two Games-related items on its agenda.
Anti-Olympics activists Chris Shaw, Garth Mullins, and Andrea Westergard-Thorpe spoke to council during the meeting that also had in the gallery four ISU members in plainclothes.
“We understand that the individuals who spoke against Olympic interests were approached by members of the ISU following the meeting for ”˜consultation’,” Holmes wrote.
A Vancouver police report that Holmes cited in his letter to Mercer identified the ISU members as Sergeant Fairweather, and Constables Marchand, Chartrand, and McKlusky.
In his letter to Mercer, the BCCLA president stated that his group supports the ISU’s effort to engage activists in the lead-up to the Olympics.
“However, even with a mandate of consultation, the BCCLA suggests that plainclothes security forces attending Council for the purpose of identifying individuals who hold opinions deemed by most security forces to be non-conforming is problematic,” Holmes told Mercer.
“Having this activity occur in the context of a meeting of publicly elected officials where members of the public are entitled to attend, hear what is said and, at the appropriate juncture, speak about matters that concern them, is troubling,” Holmes also stated.
Holmes likewise told Mercer that the “time, manner and place of the attendance by such officers raises serious concerns about whether your forces are showing proper respect for democratic institutions and for the rights of the public”.