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Rob Wipond

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  1. November 2016 Some people say that our province’s strong mental health laws save lives. A constitutional court challenge says they lead to discrimination, abuse, fear and the flight of psychiatric refugees. THE PSYCHIATRIC NURSE held out a paper cup with pills. Sarah clasped a handwritten note. Having learned not to protest loudly, the 24-year-old gave the nurse her note that read, “I have a right to my mind and my body.” Then, she reluctantly put the pills in her mouth. Sarah knew that she had to execute her escape out of British Columbia quickly, before the drugs seize
  2. December 2015 A surprise government announcement could lead to the resolution of long-standing controversies about police secrecy. THE BRITISH COLUMBIA PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT has pledged to pass legislation to make the BC Association of Chiefs of Police and BC Association of Municipal Chiefs of Police “public bodies.” The announcement came from Bette-Jo Hughes, Chief Information Officer and Associate Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services, speaking in mid-November to MLAs reviewing the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Ac
  3. May 2014 The unplugging of a Saanich School District database raises serious concerns about the BC government’s secret plans for students’ personal information—and for everyone’s BC Services Card information. THE BC MINISTRY OF EDUCATION warned Saanich School District in March that it would cost the district millions of dollars to make their openStudent database properly integrated with the BC Services Card. Daunted, the school board immediately cancelled development of their in-house database for recording student information, abandoning the two years and $1.5 million they’d
  4. May 2014 Internal RCMP investigation also underway INFORMATION AND PRIVACY COMMISSIONER Elizabeth Denham has recommended that the BC Association of Chiefs of Police and BC Association of Municipal Chiefs of Police should be made subject to Provincial freedom of information laws. After a review of new evidence and a public consultation process, Denham wrote on April 2 to Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services Minister Andrew Wilkinson stating that these private associations play a “significant public policy role with respect to legal and law enforcement issues” and “appe
  5. January 2014 BC’s Information Commissioner launches an inquiry into police chief associations. INFORMATION AND PRIVACY COMMISSIONER Elizabeth Denham has launched an inquiry into British Columbia’s two police chief associations. Denham is considering recommending to government that the BC Association of Chiefs of Police (BCACP) and the BC Association of Municipal Chiefs of Police (BCAMCP) should be declared governmental “public bodies” and be made subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). According to her D
  6. December 2013 We’re worried about each other’s “mental health” a lot more than we used to be. But calling 911 for someone can be a disastrous approach, say victims of our good—or not so good—intentions. FOLLOWING A SERIES OF QUIET PROTESTS outside Revenue Canada offices, Gordon Stewart was apprehended by police at the Victoria Law Courts, taken to a hospital, put into seclusion and forcibly drugged for 10 days. The day before, John had interred his mother’s ashes. But then came what he describes as an “unbelievable, incomprehensible incident” that
  7. November 2013 Secret police chief association records provoke serious questions about lack of police oversight in this province. AS I READ THROUGH HUNDREDS OF PAGES of records from two BC associations of chiefs of police, I discovered that a letter I had sent to the West Vancouver Police Department Chief Constable had been turned over to all of Canada’s major banks, Canada Border Services, CSIS, and the US Secret Service. This certainly made a mockery of my privacy rights. Yet I realized that much more than privacy was at stake. These previously secret records—a drop from a mu
  8. May 2013 The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner and the Registrar of Lobbyists are hot on their association’s trail. But a former BC police chief and solicitor general doubts they’ll ever be caught. THERE’S ONE THING THE POLICE TELL YOU never to do when they want to question you, right? Run. Running makes you look even more suspicious. So why do British Columbia’s chiefs of police keep running from me? Fortunately, I’ve gained some high-profile help in this now year-long chase. I first began looking last summer into the activities of the BC Association of
  9. February 2013 A new book provides a shocking analysis of environmental destruction and human rights abuses committed by Canadian mining companies abroad—and how we help them do it. CHANDU CLAVER WAS BORN IN THE SMALL TOWN of Tabuk in the mountainous Cordillera region of the Philippines, near a large copper mine at various times partially owned by Canadian interests. This is where he became a surgeon, got married, and wanted to raise his family. He never planned on being a refugee in Victoria. Throughout the 1980s and 90s, Claver was running a one-man surgical hospital in T
  10. November 2012 An elderly woman, with the support of her family, has been struggling to avoid forced psychiatric treatment at the hands of Vancouver Island Health Authority doctors. WHEN I ARRIVED AT THE PREARRANGED LOCATION, Michelle met me at the door. “Sorry, I didn’t want to tell you on the phone,” she said. “Now we’re going to go to where Mia really is.” We drove through the winding suburban roadways, and it felt like I was being taken into remote mountains of Central America for a secret meeting with el Comandante of the guerrilleros. I was actually on my way to interview a
  11. March 2012 Documents suggest BC Solicitors General and the RCMP have been misleading the public for years. “THERE'S NOTHING, in my view, to be alarmed about,” said Victoria Police Chief Jamie Graham. He was speaking at February’s Reboot Privacy and Security Conference in Victoria, to 200 privacy experts, academics, and government and corporate executives from around North America, including Alberta Privacy Commissioner Jill Clayton and BC Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham. Graham was on a panel with Christopher Parsons, a UVic PhD candidate in political science and su
  12. February 2011 Not many people know that local police and the RCMP have already begun building a massive public traffic surveillance system. And no one knows how they’re going to use it. THE A-NEWS REPORTER and Nanaimo constable interwove: “amazing,” “blown away,” “overwhelming.” “This will revolutionize the way we police,” proclaimed Vancouver police in The Province. Both media and police across North America have engaged in such trumpeting about Automatic Licence Plate Recognition (ALPR). The RCMP and BC government piloted ALPR in 2006 and have expanded it rapidly. BC no
  13. July 2011 There’s much to learn about BC’s laws and eldercare system from the last years of Kathleen Palamarek’s life in a local nursing home—especially from the battles that were fought in her name between her children, care providers and the Vancouver Island Health Authority. IT WAS A SMALL BUT IMPORTANT EPITAPH for a much-loved woman. NDP West Kootenay MLA Katrine Conroy spoke in the provincial legislature in June in support of a public inquiry into the recent “suspicious death” of Kathleen Palamarek, an 88-year-old resident of Broadmead Lodge in Saanich. During Lois S
  14. June 2011 Data obtained through a Freedom of Information request show nearly half of all seniors in long-term care in BC are being given antipsychotics like Risperdal, Zyprexa and Seroquel. That’s almost twice the average for the rest of Canada and amongst the highest rates found anywhere in the world. And even though Health Canada warns these drugs cause a doubling of death rates in the elderly, care workers admit they’re mainly being used as chemical restraints in the absence of adequate staffing and proper oversight. “IT WILL RELAX YOU.” That’s the only explanation hospital
  15. Out of sight from parents and the general public, school teachers and administrators are waging an increasingly tense battle over children with special needs—and the outcome could influence the future of public education. IT'S DISCOURAGING. It’s depressing,” says Julia Christianson, a special education teacher at Cedar Hill Middle School. “I have many parents cry on my shoulder. And many times I ask myself, ‘What else can I do?’” Now, like many teachers, Christianson is protesting publicly. And it’s not about pay, benefits, or holidays; it’s about “class size and composition.”
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