COPE launches "Oppressometer" today:

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


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."

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 from "high" to “elevated.”

The public are encouraged to send in stories, pictures and videos to


Hunger Strike — Day 3


Councillor Woodsworth is on Day 3 of her 7-day homelessness hunger strike and could use your support! On Monday, she set-up in front of the international Olympic media centre at the Trade and Convention centre and encouraged people to send Valentine’s day cards to their MP’s to support Bill C04 – MP Libby Davie’s bill to start a national housing strategy. Today, she did a walk around in the West End.


What is the 2010 Hunger Strike Relay?
Each week new volunteers take on the Wooden Spoon and participate in a week long fast for 7 days. The hunger strike will continue past the 2010 Olympics to June 2010. We are calling for the re-establishment of a National Housing Program based on the One Percent Solution in Canada.

Why is Vancouver Councillor Ellen Woodsworth participating in the 2010 hunger strike relay?
The City has been proactive on dealing with homelessness, but the temporary HEAT shelters are just that – temporary. They close on April 30. To truly solve homelessness, we need to get other levels of government on board. Canada is the only G8 country without a national housing strategy. The cost of keeping people off the street is significantly cheaper than the medical and other associated costs of leaving them on the streets – the hunger strike is another way to bring attention to our need for a national housing program.  Solving homelessness isn’t as complicated as curing cancer – it’s a matter of political will. We need to build homes and put supports in them so people are successful.


Some stats:
•    Canada’s homeless population is somewhere between 200,000 and 300,000 people and 1.7 million residents across the country struggle with housing affordability issues.
•    There are between 10,500 and 15,000 homeless people in British Columbia.
•    The 2008 homelessness count identified 2,660 people who were homeless in the Metro Vancouver region.
•    Homelessness has more than doubled since the Olympics were awarded to Vancouver.
•    Roughly half of all Canadians live in fear of poverty, and 49 per cent polled believe they might be poverty stricken if they missed one or two pay cheques.
•    45% of homeless women in Metro Vancouver are aboriginal.

Get involved — send a Valentine’s card and join Ellen!


Take a Valentine’s day card from Ellen and send it to your MP or the Prime Minister! Tell them to support Bill C04 – MP Libby Davies’ bill to start a national housing program. Have a heart for housing!


Where Ellen will be for the rest of the week:

Wednesday, Feb 10 (4pm-6pm): stationed at Broadway and Commercial 

Thursday, Feb 11 (11am-2pm): Hastings St at Woodwards

Friday, Feb 12 (11am-2pm) stationed at Robson Square

Saturday (9:30am):  Peace Walk and Meditation (meet at 33rd Ave and Cambie)  and going on to Little Mountain Housing Project 

Sunday (9:00am): Lunar New Year Parade and Carnegie Community Centre Memorial March for the Missing Women of DTES

More information and video here:


I am a free speech zone t-shirts available at People’s Coop Bookstore!


"I am a free speech zone" t-shirt are now available at the People’s Coop Bookstore at 1391 Commercial Drive. They are available in a range of fitted and regular sizes for $20. This is likely our last order of the popular t-shirts, so get them before it’s too late!


Wiki model Vancouver mapping project open to input by interested citizens

Vancouver [de]Tour Guide 2010 is primarily a multi-layered Google map
that highlights a variety of noteworthy and notable sites, histories,
and narratives compiled by a local and loose consortium of concerned
residents, artists, activists, geographers, and others. We are coming
together to present kaleidoscopic representations of our home city.
Given controls on freedom of expression and movement, among other
liberties, during this time, we feel it is necessary to record,
collect, and transmit information such as Olympic impacts and other
unofficial stories to visitors.




February 9, 2010: Oppressometer, hunger strike, t-shirts and more

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