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ACTION ALERT: Oppose BC’s Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act

The CBC reports that, “A proposed BC law would allow municipal officials (in Whistler, Vancouver and Richmond) to enter homes (with just 24 hours notice) to seize unauthorized and possibly anti-Olympic signs on short notice (says) the BC Civil Liberties Association.”

Bill 13, the Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, introduced on October 8 to amend the Municipalities Enabling and Validating Act, means so-called ‘violators’ could be fined up to $10,000 a day and jailed up to six months.

The law would allow these three host municipalities to remove unauthorized signs during the period of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, February 1 to March 31.

In June, the City of Vancouver passed “the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games bylaw to restrict the distribution and exhibition of unapproved advertising material and signs in any Olympic area during the Games.”

“Legal experts say the definition of an unapproved sign is open to interpretation. The BC Civil Liberties Association has been warning for several months that the vague wording might be used against anti-Olympic signs or promotions for anti-Olympic events or material.”

The Council of Canadians has started to raise concerns about key Olympic sponsors – including Coca-Cola/ Dasani bottled water – and how these corporations use the Olympics to “greenwash” their business practices. It is our intention to distribute signs and materials with messages reflective of these concerns.

The province says Bill 13 is intended to stop ‘ambush marketing’, a term used to describe advertising by entities that infringe on the rights of corporations that have paid for Olympic sponsorship rights.

Write these local, provincial and national representatives to say that you support free speech and that you do not believe this fundamental right should be suspended during the Olympic Games.

Gregor Robertson
Mayor of Vancouver

Ken Melamed
Mayor of Whistler

Malcolm Brodie
Mayor of Richmond

Bill Bennett
Minister of Community and Rural Development bill.bennett.mla@leg.bc.ca

Stockwell Day
Minister responsible for 2010 Vancouver-Whistler Olympics DayS@parl.gc.ca

The CBC report is at http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2009/10/09/bc-anti-olympic-sign-law-bccla.html.

A Canwest News Service report on this is at http://www.kelowna.com/2009/10/10/bill-would-allow-police-to-enter-homes-during-games-to-removeillegal-signs/.

The media release on the ‘unlucky’ Bill 13 from the BC Civil Liberties Association is at http://www.bccla.org/pressreleases/09bill13.html.

The Council of Canadians statement on the 2010 Olympics – including a critique of key Olympic corporate sponsors – is at http://canadians.org/olympics/statement.html.