Artist argues new Vancouver Olympic bylaws affect freedom of speech

from Kimberly Bakers Olympics series

from Kimberly Baker's Olympics series

Over breakfast today I read an article in the Georgia Straight about Kimberly Baker‘s intent to challenge the changes Vancouver City council has approved to be in line with the federal Bill C-47, the federal Olympic and Paralympic Marks Act.

According to a City of Vancouver administrative report, the amendments are necessary to allow the city to remove graffiti and ‘illegal signs’ from private property without notice.  The City can also fine repeat offenders up to $10,000/day.

Kimberly Baker’s artist statement on the Olympics series says:

My intention within this work is to create a visual narrative that can address controversial social / political intersections within our contemporary world so as to encourage public awareness and engage dialogue.

The Straight article states that City councillor Heather Deal insisted that the charter amendments are not meant to stifle free expression.

I think that this is not good for art, free expression, or democracy.  Bill C-47 scared me, but the knock on effect on municipal and provincial legislation scares and worries me even more.

Thanks to Brian Campbell for sending this to BCLA’s Intellectual Freedom Committee and Information Policy listervs, to Annelle Harmer who directed me to that-artist-who-might-have-been-an-Emily-Carr-student-who-makes anti-Olympic-art’s website and for helping me find “that book that’s about this big, that is red”, and to the friendly City of Vancouver staffer who helped me find the Council agenda, report, and minutes.


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