While I’ve had a pretty consistent success rate with the Federal Government getting information out of them, I’ve had no luck so far with the BC Government as open as it is, and with local institutions like the VPD. I recently decided to write a request to the VPD to see if the VPD had setup something like the Montreal GAMMA unit, which investigates Anarchists. It turns out that instead of them saying that they have no records, they came back with an invoice for $5253.15.
Yes, Five-Thousand Two Hundred and Fifty-Three Dollars and Fifteen Cents.</strong>
This in my opinion was intentional, and was done to discourage people like myself getting access to these files. It’s clear that independent media can’t afford this, since we’re working on shoestring budgets and would rather pay the people who keep things like VMC up than the cops, but this is absolutely insane and against the spirit of Freedom of Information. I’m probably going to go to the BCCLA and BC FIPA to see what I can do to get this narrowed down, and to discuss why it cost so much to get records from the VPD, where the RCMP will eventually send their records.
What I DO know is that the VPD is omitting the majority of this because of Section 15(1) (a)(b)(c)(e)(f) and (i)</a> of the BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. What I think the most interesting are these clauses:
(b) prejudice the defence of Canada or of any foreign state allied to or associated with Canada or harm the detection, prevention or suppression of espionage, sabotage or terrorism, </em>
This shows that the VPD believes that Anarchism and Activism is Terrorism.
(f) endanger the life or physical safety of a law enforcement officer or any other person, </em>
This shows that they fear for the physical safety of a Law Enforcement official or any other person. It’s very likely that this clause is related to the presence of a undercover police officer in various movements in Vancouver. With these broad strokes that they’re applying to this file, I think it’s safe to say that the VPD views Anarchists and other activists who associate with Anarchists as a terrorist threat.
Based on their bullshit website here</a>, they should be more concerned with drunken Canucks fans!
As usual, here is the letter in PDF format: