Charter Rights unscathed despite downtown signature event

Santa and friend: so far, so good

Santa and friend: so far, so good

All the factors that 2010
Games critics warn can lead to violations of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms were present today in downtown Vancouver, including:

  • a massive “signature event” driven by corporate sponsors surfing on feel-good winter activity focused on family values;
  • enhanced security presence by Vancouver Police Dept., including but not limited to horse-mounted officers and a large detachment disguised as musicians;
  • large presence by private uniformed forces — self-styled marching bands — performing precision drills on key arterials in an apparent effort to awe and overwhelm nearby crowds;
  • dramatic increase in surveillance, both by media outlets and thousands of informal observers lining downtown streets; and
  • visible participation by army personnel –the Salvation Army.

Fortunately, the Rogers Santa Claus Parade — to benefit Greater Vancouver Food Banks– came off without a hitch. Hundreds of thousands lined the streets.

I marched with the Vancouver Public Library contingent, which could not keep up with the demand for VPL’s coveted “Go Canada Go” red cow bells. On to the Games.