Conflict of Interest: Civil Liberties and Politicians Don’t Mix

I’m currently researching an essay on the politicization of Civil Liberties Associations. Today I found an interesting video by Stimular0r interviewing Laurence Hildes, the head of the National Lawyers Guild. The video discusses David Eby’s denouncement of the Heart Attack incident during the Olympics.

I do agree with David in this statement- after all, this incident killed the anti-Olympic movement, and was arguably the worst setback in the history of Vancouver activism. However, by making this statement, David was acting as a politician, not as a lawyer. The head of any civil liberties watchdog, nor any lawyer, should ever be making statements against his constituents this way.

Mr Hildes had a lot to say about David’s statement- he made it clear he was unhappy with their politicizing the issue:  “It is not our job to decide if they are wrong, it is our job to defend them. There are people in jail now that the BCCLA is supposed to be providing legal support for, and instead of doing that, they’re denouncing them!”

He then made the most important point I’d like to share:  “As a lawyer, I feel it is unethical and they should be disciplined by the Law Society for doing that!” So, basically what he said is that David was acting like a politician rather than a civil  libertarian. But, we knew that already, didn’t we?

As an interesting side-note, there is a conflict with what Mr. Hildes says about the lack of a presence of BCCLA legal observers. In his words, the observers were pulled-back on request of the demonstrators. But, in a blog by Geoff Meggs, it was apparently stated that they were not sent because of “safety reasons.” Unfortunately, the link on Megg’s link to the SunVincePostTai is no longer working.

I’ll be writing more on this issue in the next week or so. Until then, feel free to write in the comments and share any other examples you know where David crossed the line!

See, told you he is a politician!

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5 responses to “Conflict of Interest: Civil Liberties and Politicians Don’t Mix

  1. undercoverkity

    One must wonder if he as a politician is in a position to grant, financial aid from the government through some back door dealings , therefore does he have a vested interest that would benefit him directly .

    I, obviously was not in Vancouver during this time , however, we here in Toronto have ” legal observers ” as well to monitor events and actions. The people who ‘ monitor” these actions and events here are from a variety of walks of life, some being genuine law students with good intentions, but most are very partisan activists who only look at one side . Here in Toronto, we also have some KEY black Bloc persons and anarchists who act as legal observers or monitors. This presents a huge problem in that those people who act as observers, and are also fully involved in the stated groups or organizations , will not offer fair and accurate assessment’s of events and actions ,thus, they actually provide a dis-service, in my opinion.

  2. Back in January, when I was on Cortes Island, the BCCLA was holding a course to train people how to be Legal Observers. I emailed them to register for the course, but they didn’t even answer me. So, it does seem there is some political bias going on…

    I’ll have to do a search on the Black Bloc people I know of in Vancouver to see if they are also legal observers- thanks for pointing that out.

  3. They probably didn’t answer you because you are conducting an active harassment campaign against them. Use your head.

    • Since when has writing investigative articles about an organization been called harassment? Perhaps in the Soviet Union- but, not here in Canada.

      Otherwise, we’d have to shut-down every newspaper and magazine in the country- and have a single paper called Pravda! (fact for everyone, the word Pravda means ‘truth’ in Russian)

  4. Pingback: Alex Hundert Breaks Bail Conditions- Collaborates With Judy Rebick & David Eby! | genuiNEWitty