Independent media activist Martin Macias prevented from covering Olympics

The Vancouver-based Olympic Resistance Network has claimed that border agents prevented an "independent media reporter" from entering Canada.

In a news release issued this weekend, the ORN stated that Chicago media activist Martin Macias Jr. was held for  several hours on February 6 at the Vancouver International Airport  without being allowed to contact anyone.

Macias  arrived on an 11:30 a.m. Delta Airlines flight and, according to the ORN, was questioned by Canada Border Services Agency officials  about his plans during the Olympics. (The Straight witnessed CBSA officials questioning international visitors arriving on a flight from Amsterdam late last month—moments after they entered airport property and long before reaching customs.)

"Ultimately he was refused entry to Canada," the ORN stated.  "He was then put on an Alaskan Airlines flight to the Seattle/Tacoma Airport (departing at 2:40pm). As of 9pm he had not been able to contact legal counsel or his travelling companion since before his rejection at the border. The information on his rejection was only made available through the US Consulate."

Macias, 20, was travelling with Bob Quellos, an organizer with No Games Chicago, who was permitted to enter Canada.

Macias  is  the host and producer of First Voice, which is broadcast on the  community radio station Radio Arte.



Michael K

Feb 7, 2010 at 12:35pm

The problem with border procedure is that you are in "no mans land" until you are admitted to the country. So, entering the US the Constitution doesn't hold any sway, and entering Canada the Charter doesn't grab until you ARE admitted.

So, what the CBS agents did was perfectly "okay" and he (or anyone else) has little or no recourse about their decisions.

People should keep that in mind when traveling.

Canadian citizen aggrieved

Feb 7, 2010 at 1:42pm

My rights as a Canadian of freedom to associate with this individual have been denied me. My government has no right and no mandate to decide which ideas may or may not be allowable into this country. This is thought control. It is Orwellian. Any government that can authorize this kind of policy is a threat to Canadian culture and must be removed as soon as possible. It has no place in Canadian society as far as I am concerned, other than as a fringe far right splinter group, which is where it belongs. Unseat the neocons, and bring in a government that reflects Canadian values. I'm not a Green, and I don't agree with Green politics, but I think all Canadians who understand what is going on should join the Green Party, because it is small but has a national political apparatus, and shape it to reflect Canadian values and interests, and defeat the neocons and the neoliberals, which are not essentially that different, in the next election. The NDP is irrelevant, except as a party to add more diversity to Canadian politics, and currently to occupy the place of a genuine opposition, but they do it so poorly that they are undermining Canadian democracy.

Left of Centre

Feb 7, 2010 at 2:47pm

First off, when you align yourself with a group whose leaders adopt the motto "RIOT 2010", you've kind of made your own bed. Violent protest has no place in Canadian society, and that's what groups like the ORN have been promising for months.

Second, the Olympics are a local political issue. It's culturally inappropriate for Americans to get involved in our political issues. It's bad manners at best. It's American Imperialism at worst.

Third, for an activist to falsely use the badge "journalist" is disingenuous and a disservice to real journalists.

Canadian citizen aggrieved

Feb 7, 2010 at 6:41pm

The group affiliation of a person is irrelevant when they are entering Canada, unless it is an illegal "terrorist organisation". And to think that journalism is apolitical is naive. All journalists have a political bias. The journalists for the big corporate media conglomerates are highly politically biased, affiliated, and engaged in political manipulation. If you can't see that, then study about how the media works, and its role in politics, which is virtually supreme. Independent journalists from any country and of any political persuasion have a right to visit Canada and participate in the Canadian political life, as long as they have no criminal tendencies which can be demonstrated based on convictions in a just legal proceeding. To label people inadmissible to enter Canada or to visit Canada based on conviction, faith, or ideology is a form of thought control, and only appropriate in a fascist state. The values of Canada and the USA include freedom of thought, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, freedom to petition the government, and freedom of conscience. Any actions by either governments, groups or individuals which undermine these freedoms is a threat to Canadian society, and a violation of our constitution and venerable traditions, which many Canadians and others sacrificed their lives to create and defend. People who believe and promote censorship and ideological tests for entry into Canada dishonor all these freedom fighters by chipping away at our priceless freedoms, freedoms which are the essence of the Canadian way of life, along with respect and tolerance for others of all beliefs and ways of life.


Feb 8, 2010 at 2:35pm

How many journalists have been turned away at the border by CBSA in the period leading up to and during the Olympic games? Straight, this could be good FoI fodder.

Go Canada

Feb 8, 2010 at 2:37pm

the games are here, embrace the games or go away and let others enjoy it. Realize the games are generating tax dollars that can be allocated to social programs. Without the games the is no way the money directed to the games would go to social programs, the generated taxes are the benefit....BTW i haven't seen my taxes go up because of the games - cheer on Canada!

Journalism is a foundation of democracy

Feb 9, 2010 at 8:27pm

A lively and independent national, local and international media with real journalism is a foundation of democracy. All actions to diminish the real and vital function of a free press are an attack on the foundations of Canadian democracy. Our federal government's duty is to defend our democracy, not erode it.

The rally on Friday February 12 at 3 PM at the Vancouver Art Gallery is a must-attend. I hear it will be peaceful, fiesty, family-friendly, creative, fun -- and BIG. If you can only attend one event, this is it.

The Los Angeles Times has captured the historic meaning of the olympic resistance movement in Vancouver when it recently wrote:

While past Olympics have been magnets for protests over issues such as aboriginal rights in Australia and oppression in Tibet, the Vancouver Winter Games are preparing to host one of the biggest displays ever of organized opposition to the Olympics themselves.

Vancouver is starting a new global movement, one that will continue in London and all other Olympic-plagued cities after that. A movement that says: we don't want the Olympics corporate franchise anymore, anywhere. We just want it abolished, period.

Make sure you're part of history. See you there!


Feb 9, 2010 at 9:53pm

History? You gotta be kidding! You can't get enough local support for your measly protests, so you've resorted to importing American anarchists to stop from being completely embarrassed on Friday.

Don't make fools of yourselves. Stay at home on Friday.


Feb 10, 2010 at 11:03am

I was never a fan of hosting the games. It was/is a complete waste of $6billion dollars. Makes any tax revenue moot. Besides at duty free stores all have kiosks for Americans to get their sales taxes paid in Canada rebated! Vancouver has already enjoyed World class tourist status. Its mentioned with the other tourist world class cities around the world! So we don't need to be put on the world map. We are all ready on it. The 1960 Olympics in Tahoe, it was not a well known ski venue until after hosting the games. So it made sense to host the Olympics for them. Same with Calgary, never considered that it was a place to go until after the Olympics. And I'm Canadian, BC (Van) born and raised. That should be the deciding criteria for Olympics. Is the place hosting known as a destination? If yes, no games for you Chicago! The security infrastructure that has been built for these games. Are also a major concern of mine. I'm watching Fox news (American TV how illegal better hope the heritage police don't find me!). I digress. They've as in big brother have built an security command center staffed with American and Canadian fed law enforcement. RCMP and the American Department Of Homeland Security. They big brother already have RCMP riding along with the US Coast so the armed American's can enforce laws in Canada. The command center kinda does a "shiprider" program for Canadian land and air! The Olympics in the name of security for the event. Is bringing not just Canadian big brother, but American as well. So much for Canadian sovereignty. Armed DHS Americans in our airspace, on your lands and waterways. Short, the charter of rights and freedoms, also has provisions to limit individual freedoms. None of the charter is absolute. In fact it strengthened the British colonial powers of old, into the hands of Canadian colonial masters. I don't care about some hippy liberal "reporter" being denied entry. I do however care despite being more Americanized over most. That Canada and the U.S have built a big brother command center in Canada. So armed DHS American's can know operate inside Canada with police powers! Much bigger issue then some socialist being denied entry!