Canadian Identity, Free Speech, and the 2010 Winter Olympic Games

Vancouver Olympic clock vandalized.

American journalist and host of Democracy Now, Amy Goodman, was recently detained at the Canadian Peace Arch border crossing on her way to Vancouver for a speaking event at the downtown Vancouver Public Library. In her interview with CBC about the incident, Goodman said that Canadian Border Services questioned her about the content of her upcoming talk and whether or not she would be speaking about the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

Since this incident, Democracy Now has focused its news coverage on the Olympics in Vancouver its impact on free speech and civil liberties in Canada.

These events shed a different light on the role of the Olympic Games in representing or reflecting Canada. Professor Matthew Hayday recently spoke on a University of Guelph podcast about the history of Canadian identity and the Olympics.

Professor Hayday on Canadian Identity and the Olympics

Historians should also keep a close eye on the impact of the Olympic Games on free speech and public protest in Canada. The monitoring and surveillance of foreign journalists, like Goodman, may point to greater anxieties about how Canada will appear to the world when international news organizations turn the cameras on Vancouver in 2010.

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