Immediate Release: February 9, 2010

At
a media conference today, COPE launched the “2010 Oppressometer”, an
online tool developed to monitor civil liberties during the Olympic
period. The site is a tongue-in-cheek take on the US Homeland Security
threat levels, documenting civil liberty concerns in the months leading
up to the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. The most recent entry (labeled
“high”) highlights the recent story of Canadian border officials
denying entry into Canada to a Chicago-based journalist critical of the
Games.


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According to COPE External Chairperson, Alvin Singh,
“We have seen many examples of behaviour that is concerning to us at
COPE in terms of civil liberty violations. It is important for us to be
part of the broad group of civil society leaders who are monitoring the
games to make sure that the fundamental rights we have as Canadians are
protected. This tool – while somewhat humourous – has a very serious
message behind it, and serves to highlight very serious concerns."

The
site documents violations, but also positive steps made to redress some
of these issues. For example, while COPE Councillor, Ellen Woodsworth’s
amendments to the city’s first by-law changes were defeated, after
considerable pressure from COPE, the community, and organizations like
the BC Civil Liberties Association, the by-laws were amended at a
second reading to protect free speech. As a result, the Opressometer
level then dropped to “elevated.”

The public are encouraged to send in stories, pictures and videos to cope@cope.bc.ca.

 

COPE launches “Oppressometer” today – www.2010oppressometer.com

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