The BC Civil Liberties Association is pleased to announce the 2016 Liberty Awards honorees
WireService.ca Media Release (04/11/2016) – The Liberty Awards Gala Dinner celebrates exceptional contributions to human rights and civil liberties, and helps support the work of the BC Civil Liberties Association throughout the year. The Liberty Award recipients will be honored at the Liberty Awards Gala coming up on Thursday, May 26, 2016. The evening will also feature a performance by Vancouver’s premier funk band, Queer as Funk.
BC Civil Liberties Association President Lindsay Lyster said: “The Liberty Award recipients are devoted to the cause of protecting and expanding hard-won democratic rights and freedoms. Their principled, creative, and often courageous efforts to do right and seek justice are invaluable – and essential – to promoting a free society.”
“From helping to protect journalists detained or imprisoned abroad, to fuelling the national debate on anti-terrorism and national security practices, to ending a practice that needlessly endangered migrants, the Liberty Award winners showcase the significant gains that can be achieved through dedicated and passionate work. We are delighted to honour their impact and efforts at the Liberty Awards Gala.” said BCCLA Executive Director Josh Paterson.
The list of Liberty Award recipients, as well as tickets, are available on the BC Civil Liberties Association’s website here.
We are looking for a media partner who would be interested in profiling our recipients in their paper/online publication. I would be happy to set up a media sponsorship package in return.
Charlotte Kingston, Director of Community Engagement, 604-368-8467
2016 Liberty Award Recipients:
• Reg Robson Award: Kent Roach and Craig Forcese
The Reg Robson award is given annually to honour substantial and long-lasting contributions to the cause of civil liberties in BC and Canada. This is the BCCLA’s longest standing and most prestigious award.
Kent Roach is Professor of Law and Prichard-Wilson Chair of Law and Public Policy at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, and Craig Forcese is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law (Common Law Section) at the University of Ottawa. These two individuals have been critical to mounting a resistance to the infringement of civil liberties in the name of national security. The astounding turn in public support for Bill C-51 was due to a public education effort that was virtually all premised on their real-time legal analysis. They have exemplified what it means to be engaged public intellectuals, and the civil liberties community owes them a great debt. Since we can’t pay that debt, we’d like to recognize them with our oldest and highest honour, the Reg Robson Award.
Excellence in Legal Advocacy – Individual: Dr. Cindy Blackstock
Dr. Cindy Blackstock is a Canadian-born Gitxsan activist for child welfare and Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada. She is also an associate professor at the University of Alberta. Dr. Blackstock’s tireless work to fight for justice for First Nations children, including her historic work before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, has forever changed Canada’s human rights landscape. After the wonderful opportunity to have her as our Keynote Speaker at the 2014 Liberty Awards, we are truly honoured to be able to recognize her in 2016 as the Liberty Award winner for Excellence in Legal Advocacy- Individual.
• Excellence in Legal Advocacy – Group: Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network promotes the human rights of people living with and vulnerable to HIV/AIDS, in Canada and internationally, through research and analysis, advocacy and litigation, public education and community mobilization.Their contributions have been invaluable to advancing the rights of people most affected by HIV/AIDS, including prisoners, drug users, sex workers, LGBTQ+ people, and more. In particular, they are being honored for their groundbreaking work to champion safe injection sites in our communities, and needle exchange programs in Canada’s prisons.
• Excellence in Youth or Community Activism: Transportation Not Deportation
Transportation not Deportation is a community campaign calling for an immediate end to Translink and Transit police collaboration with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). This group believes that everyone deserves access to public transportation without fear of being criminalized, abused, detained, and deported.Through their efforts, they secured the end of a Memorandum of Understanding between Transit Police and CBSA as well as other directives which have significantly reduced contact between CBSA and Transit Police. This is an extraordinary victory for migrant justice, privacy rights, and CBSA accountability.
• Excellence in the Arts:Theatre for Living
Founded in 1981, Vancouver’s Theatre for Living (formerly known as Headlines Theatre) is a leading example of theatre for social change. Theatre for Living’s work is having an important impact on the human rights and civil liberties landscape through dialogue creation and community empowerment. This company is leading by example in engaging individuals with some of the most difficult issues in our communities including racialized discrimination, homelessness, reconciliation, and mental health.
• Excellence in Journalism: Mohamed Fahmy
Mohamed Fahmy is a Canadian award-winning journalist and author. In 2013, he was the Al Jazeera English bureau chief in Egypt when security forces arrested him and two colleagues. He was sentenced to 7 years on fabricated terrorism charges and incarcerated at the Tora maximum security prison in a trial internationally recognised as unjust and lacking in due process. In 2015, he was pardoned by Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi after spending 438 days behind bars. His previous humanitarian work as a former member of the International Committee of the Red Cross responsible for protecting the right of refugees and political prisoners in Lebanon coupled with Mr. Fahmy’s extraordinary work to champion free speech and fight the suppression of the press and the Fahmy Foundation’s recent initiative to create a Protection Charter for Canadian citizens and journalists detained or risking imprisonment abroad, is very deserving of recognition and celebration.
• Unsung Hero Award: Lynda Hird
Lynda Hird has been with the BC Civil Liberties Association in one role or another for nearly 50 years. After receiving her law degree from U-Cal Berkeley in 1964, Lynda began to work with the BCCLA in 1968. At this very moment she is navigating the complications involved in setting up an official archive for the BCCLA’s more than 50 years of human rights and civil liberties history. We look forward to finally singing her praises.
About the Liberty Awards
The BCCLA’s Liberty Awards recognize outstanding achievements to protect and promote human rights and freedoms in Canada. Partners of the 2016 Liberty Awards Gala include: International WebexPress Inc, BC Government and Service Employees Union (BCGEU), Vancity Foundation, Branch MacMaster, Scandal Brewing, Odlum Brown Limited, Moore Edgar Lyster, and St. Hubertus Wines.