During Olympics, RCMP were following Dr.Chris Shaw

Given that he was one of the most prominent and vocal Olympics critic and that he wrote about it in the Vancouver Observer in 2009, I'm not surprised by CBC's report.

Somebody watching you? Photograph of fenced Olympic flame at 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver by Linda Solomon

When Dr. Chris Shaw was interviewed for a short film produced for The Vancouver Observer  around the time of the 2010 Winter Olympics, he said his activism sprang from the desire to leave the world better than how he found it.

The best of intentions, perhaps, but ones that resulted in him being tracked and questioned by the RCMP. 

Photo sourced from Canadians for Health Freedom

Shaw, an ophthalmology professor at UBC currently on sabbatical in Paris, wrote a column on the Vancouver Observer in the months leading up to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.  Shaw's column was published on Vancouver Observer's Olympics page, a page that hosted commentary written by excited fans and ardent boosters of the Winter Games.  Shaw's was the dissenting opinion. 

Dissent, praise, and amazing moments of glory for the city and Olympics athletes all appeared on the page.

At one point, Shaw was pulled aside and questioned by RCMP.

He wrote about it on June 2, 2009 on the Vancouver Observer:

Two men in civilian clothes were beside me before I knew it. One was shortish, muscular, 40ish and had a sort of a mini goatee thing going on under his lower lip. The other, tall, dark receding hair, older, flanked him. "Dr. Shaw", the short one said and introduced himself as Jeff Francis. His partner was Doug Fell and both were from the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit (ISU). Could we "chat" about their concerns for 2010 security?

This all happened today at around noon as I came out of my usual coffee shop at Broadway and Willow carrying my morning coffee. I never saw them coming, just suddenly they were walking beside me.

I asked for business cards and found out that Francis, a corporal with the RCMP, was with the ISU as an "intelligence investigator" for a subunit I hadn't heard about, the "Joint Intelligence Group" (JIG). Fell is with the Vancouver Police Department and is listed as "Team Leader" with JIG. JIG appears to operate out of the RCMP headquarters in South Vancouver on Heather Street.

And he wrote about Bud Mercer, RCMP Assistant Commissioner and chief of the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit (VISU), in "Yes, Vancouver, this Bud's for you." 

Bud Mercer in a photograph from Vancouver Observer archives

Mercer couldn't have been fond of Shaw, who said:

All Mercer needs now is an “incident,” real or staged, to justify a clampdown on protests. Based on the RCMP’s past behaviour, staging such an incident is not beyond their job description. It’s a dangerous game. If in his zeal to choke off protests, Mercer’s team misses a real threat, then the former police dog handler from Chilliwack might find himself back with his canines.

 Shaw, the author of Five Ring Circus: Myths and Realities of the Olympics Games, was vocal, perhaps the most prominent, persistently anti-Olympics person in the city.

I loved the Olympics.  Of the six years in lived in Vancouver, I've never enjoyed the city more than I did during those three weeks.

Olympic torch passed in front of City Hall as Vancouver 2010 Games open, photograph by Linda Solomon

Now, 3 years later, CBC reports that Chris was being followed by the RCMP. 

Anti-Olympic activist Chris Shaw was followed by RCMP officers nine months prior to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, according to surveillance notes obtained by CBC News.

On Wednesday, CBC News reported that a surveillance notebook had been misplaced and later found at the former home of RCMP Const. Shane Busch.

The notebook contained daily observations of the comings and goings, as well as photographs, of suspects in the Surrey Six gangland slaying investigation.

It also revealed that Busch, who was an undercover surveillance officer with the Special O team, was tracking a number of other people between December 2008 and July 2009, including UBC neuroscientist Chris Shaw.

The infrastructure left by the 2010 Games such as the Canada Line and  new recreation centres built for the event are the wonderful legacy  the Olympics left the city. The news above indicates a darker legacy.


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Did he expect *not* to be followed?

I certainly expect that the government would employ all resources to stay on top of potential threats.

the mentality of chasing 'spooks'

At one of my first jobs, many years ago, a co-worker described the experience of a visit from the RCMP before a delegation from China visited their remote sensing company. The RCMP officer was young, about my co-worker’s age, similarly education. However, the RCMP officer, having worked his whole career chasing ‘spooks’, saw Communist conspiracies, infiltration and spying EVERYWWHERE he looked. It boggled my co-worker’s mind. And it was not just the official talk. All the talk outside the formal presentation was all about the Communist threat.


The idea that Dr. Chris Shaw, a respectable academic who was merely exercising his Constitutional right of free expression, was identified as a legitimate threat by the nearly one billion dollar security effort, clearly indicates the narrowness of the police mentality and the dearth of more legitimate threats. Pathetic, really.


Think about it, how many left-wingers that you knew went on to become police officers?