Thursday, November 13, 2008

"Car 87" Abuse Raised by Mayoral Candidate for the First Time in a Vancouver Election

Soviet-style political psychiatry practiced in Vancouver has been attracting attention internationally but I’d never heard it mentioned by a candidate in the civic election campaign. Until Monday. At an All Candidates meeting in the theater of Carnegie Center, Independent mayoral candidate Golok Buday (pictured above in black cap), said:

“Car 87 forces it’s drugs on you and forces you to go places based on arbitrary political reasons. And I think that should be acknowledged.”

Car 87 is a police car, carrying an armed police officer and a psychiatric nurse. There is a stockpile of documented evidence that it is being used by the Vancouver School Board and other organizations to smear critics. Politically vocal people against whom no evidence of wrongdoing can be found too often find Car 87 arriving at their homes to assess them for “apprehension” to a mental hospital.

Vision Council candidate Andrea Reimer (on left in above photo), who took Al Gore’s training program to become a presenter of his “An Inconvenient Truth” seminar, didn’t look up when Buday mentioned Car 87 civil liberties abuses. But an inconvenient truth is that Reimer has been implicated in a cover-up involving fraud of Car 87 abuses while on Vancouver School Board in 2003

The alleged cover-up came after several adults had independently lodged complaints about a verbally and physically abusive teacher. VSB sent Car 87 to the home of the last complainant, identifying the fact that she had made “freedom of information requests” as the official reason. The only evidence they turned over to Car 87 to be used against her, though, was a document indicating that she intended to campaign about their mishandling of bullying complaints in a School Board election. Police-School Liaison, Sergeant Garry Lester, admitted that the Vancouver School Board had pressured him to send Car 87 to the woman’s home even after he had emphasized to them that there was “nothing untoward” about her conduct.

How did Reimer and her colleagues address this Car 87 visit arranged by the VSB under fraudulent pretenses? With more fraud, says the victim. Reimer and her fellow elected School Board trustees arranged for an “in camera” review of the case, which they conveniently concealed from the victim. They invited a primary offender in this case of criminal wrongdoing to brief them. He re-offended. He fabricated claims such as that the teacher didn’t actually work for the VSB when her abuses occurred. This cover-up has contributed to the international boycott of VSB diplomas organized by Canadians Opposing Political Psychiatry.

The use of in-camera meetings by elected officials in Vancouver to ensure secrecy was mentioned at the All Candidates meeting by mayoral candidate Betty Krawczyk (in top photo wearing yellow scarf) of the Work Less party. “When they have something important to do, they do it in camera.”. Krawczyk told the audience that she had moved to Canada from the U.S. because she was opposed to the Vietnam war. “Every year I’ve been here, there’s less democracy”.

Krawczyk was referring to what others had said earlier. Nicholai, an audience member, had said, “When I arrived in Canada as a political refugee, the democracy I expected was not so much in place.” Buday had added, “My father is a refugee from Hungary and he told me that Canada was less of a democracy than his family expected too.” But by being the first politician in Vancouver to mention the use of Car 87 as a political tool, he has moved us a step toward more democracy.
Who's Who in the above photographs?
Top photo: (left to right) Ellen Woodsworth, COPE councillor candidate; Mark Emery, mayoral candidate; Golok Buday, Independent mayoral candidate; Betty Krawczyk, Work Less Party mayor candidate; Lea Johnson, Independent councillor candidate
Bottom photo: (left to right): Andrea Reimer, Vision councillor candidate; Michael Geller, NPA councillor candidate; Ivan Doumenc, Work Less Party candidate for Park Commissioner; Jamie Lee Hamilton, Independent candidate for Park Commissioner; [name unknown] Work Less Party; Geri Tramutola, Work Less Party councillor candidate.

Larry, did ya lie?

Pivot Legal Society is blaming all three political parties -- NPA, Vision, and COPE -- for keeping the big secret.

Pivot issued a press release yesterday announcing that they have complained to the Provincial Ombudsman that the City of Vancouver did not have "legal authority" to conceal information from the public about the $100m Olympic village loan guarantee. “This complaint targets all three major municipal parties represented on council right now,” said Laura Track (pictured at left of above photo taken this year), housing campaigner with Pivot. “To our knowledge, not one councillor stepped up and voted against holding the meeting in secret or insisted on public debate.”

The Pivot press release leaves me wondering if former Vancouver mayors Larry Campbell [Vision] and Philip Owen [NPA] lied to us on Remembrance Day. The two ex-mayors held a press conference at Olympic Village to announce that the public should not be suspicious, that a secret in-camera meeting about a $100M deal is the way things are supposed to be done.

But Pivot tells it differently. Pivot claims in their complaint that City of Vancouver bylaws allow in camera meetings only when discussion of the “acquisition, disposition, or expropriation” of land or improvements would harm the interests of the City -- and the $100m loan guarantee raised none of those issues.

Larry, did ya lie?

Track says there are better ways to spend this $100M and other guarantees for developers which will come out of the City's Property Endowment Fund. “We’re told that the Property Endowment Fund has now been emptied to support the development of luxury condominiums. If the City can use the PEF to subsidize private Olympic developers then it can certainly use it to finance social housing."

“We need public debate on how the Property Endowment Fund is spent, not secret meetings and bailouts for Olympic developers”, says Track.

To get a link to the original complaint, go to