Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

Log structure impeding free speech at the VAG?

A mysterious log-frame structure has appeared on the Howe Street side of the Vancouver Art Gallery’s north plaza and free speech advocates fear it means less space for legal protests during the 2010 Winter Olympics.

“This structure is part of the Province's Robson Square activation,” said a 2010 Winter Games Secretariat official who responded on condition of anonymity. “We are not announcing the actual use at this time.”

“It would seem to encroach on the area that is traditionally used for free expression,” said Prof. Michael Byers, spokesman for the Civil Liberties Advisory Committee.

CLAC, led by former Provincial court judge Jerry Paradis, had the support of Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit chief Bud Mercer and Vancouver Police deputy chief Steve Sweeney to leave the plaza free of Olympic sponsor activities. It is downtown Vancouver’s unofficial civic square where protests are common, including the start of the Critical Mass bike ride on the last Friday of each month.

The plaza features a permanent fountain in the centre and the Omega-sponsored Olympic and Paralympic countdown clock near the Hornby Street side.

“This is a disappointing but, perhaps, unsurprising development, given the indifference and sometimes antagonistic relationship the government has had with free speech around these Olympic Games,” said B.C. Civil Liberties Association executive director David Eby.

Bob Mackin reports for Vancouver 24 hours.

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus