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Friday, December 11, 2009

Vancouver stifles free speech for the sake of the Olympics

The Globe & Mail is reporting that a Vancouver gallery was forced to remove a mural that was anti-Olympic. The city claimed that it was graffiti but apparently murals have been displayed for a long time without complaint from the city. It was only when city officials didn't approve of the message being displayed did they take action.

The City of Vancouver's actions here are baseless. They are taking steps to protect the Olympic image in the face of significant local opposition. So let me ask you, what is more important? Free expression or a track and field competition? City officials should get their priorities straight.

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on December 11, 2009 | Permalink



"So let me ask you, what is more important? Free expression or a track and field competition?"

Dude! Vancouver is hosting the Winter Olympics. D'oh!

Posted by: Fact Check | 2009-12-11 8:21:38 AM

Is the said Gallery private or public property? Public property is political property. The Olympics are public and all political. Free speech only exists with private property rights.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2009-12-11 11:41:46 AM

"In fact, when her landlord, Peter Wong, received a notice from the city telling him to remove the graffiti from his building, he had no idea what they were talking about. “I called them and said I cannot find the graffiti. And they said the sign [the mural] is graffiti.” This surprised him, because the murals have been up for years and he had never heard from the city about them before."

This seems to imply that is was a privately owned gallery.

Also what is the legal definition of graffiti. I Always thought it was "Any painting or drawing or marking property WITHOUT the owners consent is graffiti." How can the city arbitrarily decide what is graffiti and what is not graffiti. If I painted a mural on the side of my own house could the city declare the mural to be graffiti and order me to remove it. And if I ignored the city's demand to remove said mural from my house until the city got fed up and sent workers to remove the mural could I sue the city for trespassing and vandalism.

Posted by: Sheldon | 2009-12-11 12:10:48 PM

In Edmonton the city does decide what is grafitti and tells you to remove it. If you refuse, a fine will be assessed. If it really is grafitti, the building owner is twice a victim; first at the hands of the vandal and second at the hands of the city administration.

Posted by: DML | 2009-12-11 1:54:12 PM

The Olympics has ALWAYS been about fascism, down to its very DNA. Free speech seldom figures in that system. Go figure.

Posted by: JC | 2009-12-11 8:37:37 PM

Place became unlivable after Expo 86. The world showed up and then didn't bugger off. I recall the 'temporary' traffic restrictions that sort of got left in place.

Perhaps Vancouver will set up a designated protest zone, for that free speech thing. Seemed to work out in Beijing.

Posted by: Dana | 2009-12-12 11:21:08 PM

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