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.
“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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