Our View: Conservatism creep evident

In Greater Victoria, we can take for granted our ability to live in relative safety and security, to move and act freely, as long as we don’t harm others or someone else’s property.

In Greater Victoria, we can take for granted our ability to live in relative safety and security, to move and act freely, as long as we don’t harm others or someone else’s property.

With the discreditable conduct decision against Victoria police Chief Jamie Graham for an offhand comment he made at an Olympic security conference to be reviewed, it has us reconsidering just how free we are.

Whether there was, as Graham claimed, an undercover Victoria police officer driving a bus filled with protesters to Olympic torch relay events in Vancouver is almost beside the point. Graham made the comment at an event focused on security for a major international event, presumably a venue where serious strategies for dealing with breaches of security were being tossed around.

At best, such a comment could be considered a show of braggadocio among police officers.

At worst, it indicates a belief that it’s acceptable for police to infiltrate the ranks of people planning or travelling to an otherwise legal and peaceful protest.

Were there individuals on this bus who were known to police and considered a threat to engage in illegal or unsafe activities related to the torch relay? We don’t know, since the police haven’t told us.

Even if there were, inserting a spy in the midst of a group of predominantly law-abiding people is not cool. It’s not the democratic Canada we live in. Other methods could have sufficed, like following the bus and keeping an eye on suspect individuals.

The discreditable conduct charge against Graham for making the comment out loud is moot here and has deflected attention away from the real issue.

The more serious point – one which we would like to call conservatism creep – is that the police would even consider planting a spy in such an environment.

It smacks of authorities thinking they are somehow above the public, not a part of the community.

That is a scary thought, indeed.

Just Posted

Our Place Society asks for men’s clothing donations

Victoria non-profit short on men’s clothes, has 80 per cent male clientele

Transit looking for more feedback on Sooke plan. Again.

Once approved, the plan could take seven years to implement

MISSING: 64-year-old Victoria man David Atkins

Atkins was last seen downtown on Dec. 2 and now could be in Sooke

Full buses leave Colwood woman fuming over commute from West Shore

BC Transit plans to add eight double-deckers in 2020, will rotate on 50 and 61 routes

Saanich councillor tries his hand at design with cycling T-shirt

Positive response has avid cyclist considering making more to share

Fashion Fridays: Ethical and sustainable gifts for the season

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Greater Victoria 2019 holiday craft fair roundup

Get a jump on your holiday shopping

POLL: Will you be donating to charities over the holiday season?

Many here in Victoria joined others around the world to take part… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 3

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Many of Canada’s working poor can’t afford lawyers, don’t qualify for legal aid

One lawyer says many people earn too much to qualify for legal aid, but not enough to really live on

Economy lost 71,200 jobs in November, unemployment rate climbs to 5.9%

Jobless rate is at its highest since August 2018, when it hit 6%

VIDEO: Rockslide closes part of Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Petition calls for appeal of ex-Burns Lake mayor’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says Luke Strimbold’s case is under review

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

Most Read