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Student fired from Olympic job due to links to vocal critic

Darryl Bannon normally works at the Vancouver General Hospital, but for the Olympic period he took on a temporary position at the Richmond Olympic Oval.

The PhD student had barely settled in when he received surprising news: he’d been deemed a security threat, and was being fired.

The situation seems a textbook case of guilt by association.

Bannon’s supervisor at the hospital is Dr. Chris Shaw, a vocal Olympic critic and the author of Five Ring Circus.

Shaw has been unabashedly critical of the Games for years, calling them “the slickest financial scam [he’s] ever heard of."

Bannon writes for, where he blogged about his recent dismissal.

“Just so [you] know, this is likely a legal firing,” he wrote last Thursday. He explained that VANOC and the RCMP reserve the right to arbitrarily dismiss those who may pose a risk, however remote.

“This is clearly a very grey area, both ethically and morally,” Bannon wrote. "If you start to fire people based on whom they work with, then obvious extensions of this would include who they’re related to, past girlfriends, maybe even firing them if they talk to their barber (who might happen to dislike the Olympics).” 

Bannon described his tense interactions with the RCMP. He said officers asked him probing questions about his views on the Olympics, as well as those of his supervisor.

“Their hypothetical questions were along the lines of, ‘If Chris knew of an illegal act, would he report that illegal act?’ and ‘If you were working at the Oval, and Chris approached and asked to be let in, would you let him/what would you do?’” wrote Bannon.

Bannon also stated he was shown newspaper articles featuring Shaw, and that the officers said they were concerned about violent intent.

Bannon was told the authorities might act preventatively and dismiss him. But he did not formally discover that his accreditation had been revoked until he tried to sign in for a scheduled shift on Feb. 9.

“In essence that hadn’t informed me that it had been revoked so that they’d be able to confiscate it when I showed up for work. It was the Richmond Oval venue manager – Michelle – who confiscated it at the behest of the RCMP/VANOC. She and her subordinate also took my CSC [Contemporary Security Canada] identity card, my Velcro security tags for my uniform, my toque, and scarf – they would’ve obviously taken the rest of my uniform except I needed something to wear to go home in,” he wrote.

Fabiola Carletti is covering the Olympics as part of her practicum at The Tyee.

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