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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Quotes: What people are saying about the Falun Gong vs VanCity bylaw issue

“It’s pretty clear that this amendment is focusing on the Falun Gong vigil—it’s targeted at the Falun Gong.”

— Lawyer Scott Bernstein, Epoch Times

“That particular protest was a fantastic demonstration of how a structure can be completely safe and non-obstructive,”

—Micheal Vonn, BCCLA , The Province

“Is there any other bylaw that you can think of that we brought in that we would have consulted with a foreign government, a government that imprisons a Nobel laureate, that imprisons an artist that exhibits at the Tate? Why would we consult with them about our bylaw?”

Councillor David Cadman, Vancouver Sun

"Consulted how? What was said? Apparently, we’ll never know. City manager Penny Ballem says those discussions are confidential."

Gary Mason, Globe and Mail

"In my opinion, based on my years of service in the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and my intimate knowledge of the War on Falun Gong implemented by Chinese missions worldwide, at the orders of Beijing, it would be absolutely impossible that in this situation the mayor of the city in which the Consulate-General and the vigil are located would receive no pressure from the Consulate-General."

—Former Diplomat Chen Yonglin, Vancouver Sun


“The Chinese government is not a ‘stakeholder’ in anything in this city, especially when it comes to making law. It’s none of the Chinese government’s business, especially considering its dim view of inconveniences like freedom of speech.”

Pete McMartin, Vancouver Sun

"An extremely controversial report is being slipped in at the last minute without allowing for any meaningful public discussion" … “Some of the most important examples of protest in our city’s history that have sparked public debate and political change would be banned under this bylaw”. ... “To now be considering something that is an affront to a strong history of peaceful social change is very disappointing”

Susan Anton, City Councillor, Epoch Times

“The city’s just asking for another lawsuit, for which the taxpayers of Vancouver are going to have to pay.”

—Joseph Arvay, Lawyer, Vancouver Sun

“The bylaw is specifically worded to prohibit the hut which the demonstrators use in inclement weather, even though the structure does not impede traffic. I always saw this demonstration as a demonstration of the strength of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, to allow peaceful protests against repressive government actions at home and abroad.”

Susan Lindenberger, White Rock, Vancouver Sun

"Protests and free speech are part of the culture of our city. They are part of the culture of our party. We will not accept changes to the law that restrict these critical social expressions."

Vision Vancouver Party Executive Director, Ian Baillie, Vancouver Courier

"When you have a silent meditation out there with a message and the people inside don't like the message and say 'that offends our dignity', I can't see any court in our country restricting free expression to accommodate that."

Clive Ansley, Lawyer, Vancouver Sun

“It’s faulty in one very, very fundamental respect: It excludes the Chinese consulate from any protests, by physical structure … After all these years in which the Falun Gong challenged the city for absolutely prohibiting its protest in front of the Chinese consulate, and even though the court struck down the city’s bylaw, the city continues to absolutely prohibit the Falun Gong from its protests outside the Chinese consulate.

—Joseph Arvay, Lawyer, Vancouver Sun

“Opposing Falun Gong is the top priority of "Chinese Embassies and Consulates today."

Former Diplomat Chen Yonglin, Vancouver Sun

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