The Council of Canadians is one of Canada’s largest public advocacy organizations. On July 21 they issued a statement on the 2010 Winter Games:
We are concerned that the civil liberties of local communities and those who have a critique of the Games are being undermined by an unnecessary security presence. The security budget for the games has ballooned to $1 billion, while security and law enforcement agencies have identified protest groups as the most significant threat to the Games. Over 4,500 Canadian military troops will be deployed to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics – twice the number Canada has in Afghanistan.
Federal Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association have both raised serious concerns about the threat to fundamental rights to privacy and protest arising from the installation and introduction of new surveillance and security measures. Almost a year before the start of the Games surveillance cameras are being installed in Whistler and Vancouver and, according to several credible reports, harassment of protesters has begun.
Residents of Whistler, site of the nordic and downhill venues, are already living in what amounts to a “security zone,” which is only expected to escalate as the opening date approaches. Critics of the Games, including a Council of Canadians board member, have allegedly been placed under surveillance, while hikers and mountain bikers find favourite wilderness trails blocked by mysterious military operations. Download the complete statement.
So how do you think Chicago will fare if we get the games? With our long history of police spying, civil rights abuse, the courts stacked with Machine hacks, the installation of cameras on our streets and the Mayor’s short temper toward criticism – you’ve got the recipe for a civil liberties nightmare.