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Chasing innocent citizens won't make Olympics safer: NDP's Krog

New Democratic Party critics today questioned how the $900 million Olympic security budget is being spent after the Tyee reported police questioned a friend of author and activist Chris Shaw.

“I don't think this is in accordance with Canadian values whatsoever,” said NDP Attorney General critic Leonard Krog. “This is not a country where people are expected to be surveilled by police and questioned in this manner simply for having associates who criticize the government of the day.”

The Tyee reported that last week two police officers questioned Danika Surm, a 24-year-old Langara College student whose only connection to the Olympics is that she's friends with Shaw. Shaw is the author of Five Ring Circus and an outspoken critic of the games.

“Someone is directing this,” said Krog. “I'd like to know who's directing this, what the policy is and who's going to carry the can for encouraging these kinds of activities.”

“We certainly believe that every person has a right in Canada to peaceful protests, and I believe the police understand and will respect those rights,” Solicitor General Kash Heed said responding to a question from Krog in the Legislature.

The province and the federal government are committed to delivering a safe and secure Olympic Games, he said. The RCMP are dealing with a large volume of information, he said. “It's incumbent upon them to check out each and every lead or piece of intelligence they have to ensure we have those safe and secure games.”

Krog said everybody supports ensuring the games are safe and secure, but the police shouldn't be spending the $900-million security budget chasing innocent British Columbian citizens.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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