Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit won't rule out agents provocateurs

The RCMP-led security force for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games won't rule out the use of agents provocateurs to incite protesters to commit illegal acts.

Speaking on behalf of the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit, Cpl. Jen Allan said the ISU is charged with ensuring people's safety. “We are not in a position to detail a specific operational plan as to how we are going to fulfill that obligation,” Allan explained to the Georgia Straight in a telephone interview.

She reiterated the ISU's assurance that all Olympic security operations will be carried out “in line with Canadian laws and Canadian values”.

Robert Holmes, president of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, told the Straight he received a similar response when he raised the issue with the ISU.

Holmes recalled an incident that occurred in August 2007 at a North American leaders' summit in Montebello, Quebec. Video that was later posted on YouTube “caught” three undercover officers attempting to incite violence in order to delegitimize the peaceful protest, Holmes claimed. Quebec provincial police later admitted that three of its officers posed as protesters, but denied they were agents provocateurs.

Watch activists confront three individuals at an August 2007 protest in Montebello, Quebec. Provincial police later admitted that three of its officers did pose as protesters.

“I would hope that we don't get here the same kind of stuff that they experienced in Quebec with the G8 meeting and the Montebello conference between Bush and Harper,” Holmes said.

Back then, NDP MPs Peter Julian (Burnaby–New Westminster) and Libby Davies (Vancouver East) called for a public inquiry into the agents provocateurs allegations. The Conservative government did not act on their request.

In a July 15 interview with the Straight, Julian described the Quebec provincial police's actions as “disgraceful”, but noted that the RCMP was not involved in the controversy.

“I think there is a greatly lessened chance of this happening [in Vancouver] because of what happened in Montebello,” Julian said. “I think the RCMP is well aware that it just completely blew up in the QPP's face.”

Holmes said that the BCCLA asked the ISU “point-blank” for a guarantee that agents provocateurs would not be used during the Games. He recalled the ISU responded that all plans were confidential.

“That's not comforting,” he said.

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Jul 16, 2009 at 12:14pm

Still waiting for the public outrage over having our government spend our tax dollars and authorizing dressing up Police officers as protesters to try and incite violence so that attention is set on the crowd outside rather than the hidden agenda inside...


Jul 17, 2009 at 12:56pm

If they are truly peaceful it wont work will it?

Friend of the BDS

Jan 27, 2010 at 3:36pm

Well, if they're "in line with Canadian...values" there shouldn't be a problem then. Every one I've ever known in my entire life would agree with me, I'm certain: THE POLICE SHOULD NOT ENCOURAGE YOU TO COMMIT CRIMES! If the vast majority of the public does not agree with this, then I will move to another country.


Feb 15, 2010 at 11:07am

These people that are organizing these protests need to remember that whenever you protest something and someone in your groups decide that they are going to bust something up or they are going to incite violence, your message is totally lost. You lose support and credibility. I am speaking from experience here I've seen it happen. You can't walk into a protest of this magnitude with the weapons on ur person and say "we're peaceful" There are 2 rules when it comes to peaceful demonstration, absolutely no weapons, and no initiating violence. If the people that are so passionate about the cause but get to go home to another city or province when this is over can't obide by these rules then they need to go the hell home. This fight is too big for the Nations effected to have people pulling ridiculous acts like throwing newspaper boxes into the streets or through windows. I totally support protesting and I understand how easy it is for protests to escalate into violence, especially when the police get involved, but keep the hot headedness to a aren't helping the cause by acting like a jackass because your pissed that the bank is supporting the olympics, or because the Bay company got the contract on the official merchandise. Who cares about that when the issue at hand is so much bigger than that.