Last week U.S. journalist and radio host of Democracy Now! Amy Goodman was stopped at the Canadian border, detained for 90 minutes and was asked whether she intended to speak about the upcoming Winter Olympics in Vancouver, B.C. When I read this, I was shocked. Was this an act of paranoia? What could Goodman possibly say to motivate B.C.’s border guards to question her and then return her passport with a document requiring her to leave Canada within 48 hours.
This recent example is just one of a number of tactics being employed to handle potential critics of the upcoming Olympics. Designated police-controlled protest zones are already being prepared for when the games begin and earlier this month Vancouver supported a sign law that restricted signage that was unsupportive of the Olympics from appearing in homes or businesses. What does this say about free speech in Canada? It’s certainly not reflecting well in my books. It’s a controlled sort of free speech, perhaps a preview of what’s to come, and similar to what happened in Beijing during the Summer Olympics.