Fortress Vancouver

THE contributor

Fortress Vancouver
The powers-that-be are determined to put on a great show in Vancouver, and it should be a fun one to watch. But what is being sacrificed to ensure a “smooth” Games?
A staggering $900 million is being spent on security at the

The initial spending estimate for the Games (in 2003) was $175 million. It has since increased to an estimated $900 million. But Michael Vonn, Policy Director at the BC Civil Liberties Association, says even that is a “low-ball number,&quot

An extensive surveillance system is being installed for the Olympics around venues and “live sites.” Over 900 surveillance cameras are being put into use, but when will they be retired? The RCMP is leasing their cameras, but the City

They’re Watching
Richard Smith, an SFU professor who specializes in surveillance research, has, in association with the Vancouver Public Space Network, coordinated a count of cameras before the Olympics, and will do another one after the Games have f

Restrictions on Expressions
As the world looks to Vancouver, a number of different interests will be protesting the Olympics, claiming the event has eaten up precious resources that should have gone elsewhere. Chris Shaw, a vocal opponent of the Olympics

Follow the Money
The government hasn’t been forthcoming on where the roughly $900 million in security spending is going. But breakdowns have been released. Of the $900 million, $492 million has gone to the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit of t

Other Spending
The Department of National Defense will get $212 million for their “unique military skills to support the RCMP in securing the Games.” A further $137 million is a contingency fund that can conveivably be used for any security-rel

Almost a year ago, Jennifer Stoddart, Privacy Commissioner of Canada, said, “Experience has shown that Olympic Games and other mega-events can leave behind a pernicious legacy. That’s because large-scale security surveillance systems, i


Ian Bickis is a freelance journalist based in Vancouver, B.C. He has worked with a variety of media outlets, including CBC Radio and Television, PBS Frontline World, and the Globe and Mail. He specializes in business, environmental, and political reporting, and works in a variety of mediums.