Media release: Police called to prevent leaflet at public forum held on public property!!
February 23, 2011 (Burnaby)—On February 22, 2011 the West Vancouver Police were called to prohibit the distribution of an information leaflet at a public forum, held at a municipal theatre.
The West Vancouver School District and the West Vancouver Memorial Library held a “community forum on Early Learning” featuring Dr Fraser Mustard, a well-known advocate of universal daycare and all-day kindergarten. Helen Ward, President of Kids First Parent Association of Canada handed out a leaflet in opposition to Dr. Mustard’s policy message in the venue’s foyer.
The leaflet consisted of quotations from Dr Mustard, his colleagues, and economists, with sources. It provided Kids First contact information.
A woman who said “this is our event” demanded that Ward leave the premises saying it was a private space and that distributing information without permission was illegal. She loudly warned patrons that Ward was “handing out propaganda” and that they should not take the leaflet. She took the leaflet out of the hands of several patrons.
Ward declined to leave stating that it was a public space. The woman (who refused to identify herself except as Cathy) brought in the theatre manager and a man named Andrew. At this point Ward agreed to stand outside, but was told she must stand on the sidewalk. Andrew phoned the police saying they were “worried” and that Ward had “a partner inside.” Constable Harding of the West Vancouver Police said that the public theatre attached to the public high school was private property owned by the School District and advised Ward to stand on the sidewalk, which she did.
“This reaction to a mild mannered democratic protest shows signs of paranoia. The event promoted a political agenda using tax payers’ dollars. The groups running the event accept millions of public dollars and used space paid for by the public, and then seek to exclude public voices,” says Ward. She goes on: “It is reprehensible to deny free citizens the right of protest—a simple pamphlet, distributed quietly—at a public event, held on public property, using Canadians’ tax dollars.”
For further comment please contact Helen Ward at 604-291-0088.