Petition time.

Just yesterday Mayor Nenshi outright told “occupiers” that camping in Olympic Plaza is illegal. While it is good to see that Mayor Nenshi has acknowledged that the activity of these squatters is breaking our laws, it appears that there still is no will on the part of city hall to enforce our laws. Can we get out of compliance with city bylaws simply by claiming that we are expressing ourselves for some vague cause? I don’t think so.

Here is a court ruling from 1994. People tried to camp on Parliament Hill in order to protest and claimed it was protected by the charter. It was ruled that camping in parks is not a Charter protected form of expression twice.

We can all rest assured that the City of Calgary will enforce the law if we do not clear the snow from our sidewalks, park illegally or ride the train without paying. Why is an exception being made for a small group of squatters who have caused thousands of dollars in damage to Olympic Plaza while disrupting legitimately booked events?

Mayor Nenshi and city hall are hoping that our Calgary weather will do their job for them. This is a cowardly approach to their responsibility as guardians of our public property and we as citizens need to speak up when our elected officials shy away from their jobs. Even if a cold snap disperses the “occupiers”, how can we be assured that somebody will not simply set up camp again when the weather breaks? Some of these “occupiers” are on the extreme end of things and may stay out there in any weather. Could we be legally on the hook if an “occupier” gets frostbite or worse while camping in our park?

We need to speak up. Call 311 to register a complaint with city hall. Please register your support on the petition linked below as well. We can have our park cleaned up if we speak up and make our elected officials address this ongoing issue.

Petition requesting equal enforcement of civic bylaws in the city of Calgary.


70 thoughts on “Petition time.

  1. Whether or not you agree with the Occupy movement’s message, I think it’s important to respect our Charter of Rights. We talk a lot as a nation about free speech. If these people aren’t free to protest at Olympic Plaza, where should they express their opinions?

  2. I think its awesome that people are Occupying Calgary! The next thing everyone needs to do is move money out of every bank to their local credit union. Please help spread the word on your blog, Cory!

    Thanks for the support!

    Peace, Tom

  3. J Thank you for bringing up Charter Rights. I added a link to the court records from the last time somebody tried to claim that camping in public spaces is a form of Charter protected freedom. It was ruled twice that camping is indeed not a charter protected form of expression. People are free to assemble, express themselves and speak and I am as supportive of those rights as anybody. People are not free to simply start squatting in public spaces however.

  4. Great Job, Cory.
    If you want to start collecting more signatures on hard copies of the petition at Olympic Plaza, give me a call.
    I’d be willing to help.

  5. Totally agree with you. These people are abusing their rights. What happens if everybody starts to protest anything unfair by camping in every Calgary park? Or maybe in LRT parking lots? Or perhaps on people’s front yards? Abusing freedom and rights means chaos.
    What nobody is mentioning here is the weakness of our mayor, who is he afraid of? Where is his authority to protect the rest of the taxpayers? Is all about his “aura” of “supermayor” that is preventing him from using appropriate authority?

  6. I’ll gladly sign your petition. If a homeless person were to pitch a tent at Olympic Plaza, what do you think would happen? He’d be swiftly booted out. These people should never have even been allowed to “set up camp” in the first place. As well, why should tax payers be on the hook to pay for the cleanup? Get all their names and addresses and send that bill to all of them.

  7. In response to J:
    Cory agrees that all people should have a right to express their opinions, however clearly Squatters and Camping is against the law. My 20 yr old son and his friends plan on Camping/Occupying Sandy Beach next summer, just to mock this less than impressive city council, if this current “occupancy” goes on much longer.
    …and clearly, do these people think they are making a difference?

  8. In response to J:
    Cory agrees that all people should have a right to express their opinions, however clearly Squatters and Camping is against the law. My 20 yr old son and his friends plan on Camping/Occupying Sandy Beach next summer, just to mock this less than impressive city council, if this current “occupancy” goes on much longer.
    …and clearly, do these people think they are making a difference?

  9. Thanks so much for starting this – it is about time taxpayers quit being so apathetic over this and take action to get those people off public property

  10. I agree with Cory that people are free to assemble and express themselves. They are not free to occupy property, public or private, for days on end. My tax dollars are being wasted on illegal activity when they could have better used, for example, filling potholes or planting more trees.

  11. Thank you for starting the petition. Hopefully this will help create some needed action in removing these individuals from Olympic plaza.

  12. Thanks for starting this petition, Cory. I was pleased to sign it. I’m very disappointed with the lack of response from City Hall so far. I am a staunch supporter of freedom of speech, and demonstrating as a means of focusing public attention and effecting change. That’s what this movement was when it started, but it has degenerated into nothing more than a bunch of squatters looking for a handout and handy toilet facilities. We are the 99% and we want our parks back.

  13. Orange county city council recently decided that the Occupy tents were, in fact, a form of free speech and thus a right.
    Of course, we don’t live in Orange County, but the argument is the same, and our laws about free speech are very similar. The previous example on Parliament Hill doesn’t automatically apply because in the case of the Occupy movement, the tents themselves represent the protest directly, and are not just a side effect of habitation.
    What you seem to object to the most is that you don’t have the right to not shovel your sidewalk without getting a ticket. I’m sorry for your troubles.

  14. Sure, we should respect the Charter. These people are free to protest and speak their mind but they are also free to pay the bills for the repairs as well! I do not come to work every single day because I genuinely LOVE working and I am sure as hell not going to come to work every single day knowing that my tax dollars are going to be used to pay for the clean up and repairs that these losers have created. This is a joke. Get a real education, get into trades. Find jobs, get a place to live and move on with your life. Your protest is a waste of time.

  15. I am certainly not against freedom of speech and some of the initial issues these folks started with.
    I agree whole heartedly that they should not be able to break the law and get away with it, it sets a horrible precedence. Now, there is the issue of who is going to pay for the damages they have done??? Is the City going to pick up that tab?

    What are we going to let them get away with next week????

  16. They made their point ! Now time to leave !! Yea and are they going to pay $ 42,000.00 to repair the grounds ? I dont think so . I guess we will pay for their damages ! ” OUT ” Get OUT ” !!

  17. A lot of these ‘activists’ haven’t the foggiest idea what they’re protesting. Enough already! We want our city back!
    Mayor Nenshi, do the right thing and evict these sheeple NOW!

  18. Time to move on… Charter of Rights… Free Speech wonderful… There is nothing there about camping out in a public place! They are breaking the LAW! My tax dollars are now going to clean up the mess. Enough! They were given St. Patricks to camp in, if they want to sleep out in the cold let them go back there.

  19. Sign this petition instead,

    and check out the difference in support of this movement in Edmonton.

    There is a movement happening. Join Us.

    I know most of you in calgary are too comfortable with the status quo and secure in your jobs and excessive wasteful way of life. But, Can you agree that there are problems in the world that are out of our control., We are spreading a message and raising awareness to a multitude of issues that do affect YOU as well as every other human being on this planet. We’re just trying to engage in the conversation on how things can be different, what can WE do to change things.

    Cory Morgan, You are obviously part of the 1%.

  20. @Corey If freedom of speech is restricted to areas where it can be safely ignored, it becomes nothing more than a trophy ideal. In order for freedom of speech to actually enhance and ensure the liberty of a nation, that speech needs to be heard. Any democratic system needs safeguards against the inevitable distortion of ideals. The best of these safeguards is an uncompromising right to free and public speech. Even if it’s inconvenient.

    I don’t think that squating is really the most accurate way to describe what these people are doing. I understand that technically they fit the description very well, but the difference in their purpose is clear. They aren’t just looking for a free place to stay. They are speaking out in perhaps the only way left to them, a way they hope will be effective, because they believe that our democratic system is fundamentally broken.

  21. @ren You didn’t know? Corey is an exMLA for the Wildrose party. Guess who paid $30,000 trying to put Mr Morgan into office during the 2008 elections?

    The more accurate term is 0.1%. But it very accurately describes the man who started this petition.

  22. I am an ordinary citizen struggling to raise 3 teenagers on my own. I work hard and have 2 jobs to provide the basics. This occupy calgary is a waste of time and effort from my point of view. What does it accomplish? Other than being a focal point of derision from everyone I have talked to, and now a focal point of anger over tax dollars going to fix the mess – I still do not understand the end goal.
    I believe that education is the answer, and am ensuring that my children get that education so that they can contribute to society as much as they can. Even in their high school classes, the need for this protest is questioned as the goal has not been established clearly in the public. Perhaps if those people would spend the time going block to block cleaning and fixing, making the city a better place, it would start a positive wave of behaviour that could actually accomplish something. Add some artistic flare to the presentations rather than staying in one location causing damage. Music and positive behaviour will gather more support for sure. With all the support for United Way money raisers in downtown businesses this time of year – there is no lack of community spirit to help others.
    Thus leave the Plaza and start looking at what the need is and how to accomplish it in a positive manner. Create a group that the people in Calgary could support and get behind in a social movement, not one that causes anger and disapointment.
    Good luck – and can you please move on and stop spending my hard earned taxes for clean-up…lets get that money going towards positive things in the city! (and not ugly bridges – another discussion for that one!)

  23. Cory, I will happily sign your petition. They are no longer protesters. They are now squatters. Since when does the wants and needs of the minority supercede those of the majority? Groups that have the proper permits to use Olympic Plaza are unable to. People who just want to enjoy the plaza can’t. If you want to enact real change, quit buying the material items such as your iPhones you can’t live without and supporting the corporate machine.

  24. Legal protest is not the same as illegally squatting. I may not agree with the protesters (the Canadian occupy movement does not distinguish between the Canadian experience and the U.S for example) but I support all legal, non-violent public demonstrations.

    Squatting in a public park indefinitely is not a charter right nor is is required for enacting your right to free speech. You’ve made your point and now its time to move on.

  25. The hobo camp ought to be shut down. The protesters have made their point; now they’re squatting. Send them to Balzac, or the Big Onion.

  26. I am perfectly contented to sign the petition. I agree with what the movement is out for, I’m a working person, struggling my way through to earn a living. What I don’t agree with is the idea that money that I earned, paid in taxes is now going to have to go to clean up a mess left by people who don’t pay the same taxes (heck, I’m willing to guess that the EI Premiums that I’ve never collected are paying for them to be there) is unacceptable. Even if it was only $10 for a few garbage bags and a mop to clean it up, that is $10 that I’m never going to see in city services. It is obvious that if they are able to spend their days camping on Olympic Plaza, they have enough “Free time” to clean up the mess themselves. I’m sure the City can supply some guidance, a few garbage bags and rakes and maybe a drain snake or two to clean up the bathrooms and that the people that made the mess can fix it, rather than taking people off the street that have much better things in the city to fix.

    The movement has gone from being a novel thought-provoking experiment in protest to a nuisance for the very people they are purporting to “Speak for”. Maybe if they all went off to get a job (we’ve got no shortage of those right now in the province) and used their combined buying power to make a difference in the financials, rather than take up space that us regular working Calgarians would like to enjoy on our hard earned days off.

  27. The protesters have had their say. It would do equally as well to stand in front of City Hall holding placards – rather than breaking bylaws and getting under the skin of the general populace by doing so. Their message (which I deeply agree with) is now clearly overshadowed by their flouting of city bylaws. Be smart – move to a different venue, but keep your protest up.

  28. This is riduculous. I can bet money that half the squatters do not even know what the hell they are squatting for. Usually things like this are just sheep who follow the herd. What does any of the “Occupy” have to do with Calgary. These are just people without jobs who have nothing better to do and need to socialize and complain. These are the kind of people always blaming the government for their problems. I have a job, pay taxes, have a house, pay a mortgage, have a car, pay a lease. Government taxes all those things so they can run a city, province and country. I bet if the government went out there and offered each one $500 to leave they would be gone in 10 seconds. So that means they have no real reason to be out there.

    The other “wrong” issue is, they are costing other people money and time. There are events booked at this plaza and they need to be courteous to those groups. I guess the whole “occupy” movement is really what they perceive government and financial institutions as which is “thugs who just take what they want from people” kind of ironic.

  29. All the protesters are just angry and trying to make a point cause they can’t find a damn job. Maybe they should try harder rather than sit on their behinds all day and camp in the Plaza area. As well, lets make them pay for the damages, and the required cleaning of the plaza. They are just a bunch of useless individuals. I was so happy someone decided to start a petition. Hopefully something is done soon

  30. And when you do things this way, you are not doing it in a healthy way. You are squatting. If they had decency and structure, these squatters should be filling out a petition and sending it to where they want. that would probably get more support from me once they can explain their exact reason behind it and not just because they are all copying each other.

  31. Good job Corey. I have started a FB page called occupy calgary no more. Please join and come to a public rally this sat ( 11;30am)at the Occupy Calgary site in support of the hard workers that are employed in the financial district and oil&gas industries. This will be a peaceful gathering to show our support for capitalism over socialism!!!!!!

  32. Since the By-law officers the Mayor and the Aldermen are not doing what the majority of us tax payers voted for them to do I suggest they be voted out. The ballot box is the strongest form of protest. Somehow the protestors need to learn this.
    It appears the Mayor and Council believe non compliance to City By-laws is acceptable. They are setting a dangerous precedent unless Olympic Plaza was intendted as a campground.
    The taxpayers own and maintain the City Parks. Should not the taxpayers be the ones what by-laws are enforcable.

  33. Get these f*c%ing people out of Olympic Plaza! Even if the economy was better these people wouldn’t have jobs (they certainly don’t seem to be looking for jobs). It looks bad on the city, tourists, and fellow Calgarians. Setting up tents in a municipal park and doing drugs all day is not protesting….ALL I HAVE TO SAY IS I CAN”T WAIT FOR WINTER TO COME….LET’s SEE HOW THEY DO WHEN IT’s -40 degrees!!! LOL BRING ON THE COLD!!!!

  34. NO public monies should be used to fix the damages of the Occupy Calgary illegals. Put a bill on their tents and make those doing the damage responsible for restitution. Afterall, this is how the real world works (perhaps mistakenly I thought)? Or, should Calgary citizens each smash a window at Silly Hall knowing the Mayor would gladly foot the tab for the damages? I doubt that action would be received warmly, but again perhaps I am wrong?

  35. Amen. Get those useless,sponging bums out of the park. Get back to work and stop whining. If you are really serious about change, start researching intelligent ways to bring it about.Idiots.

  36. This is NOT occupy this is SQUATTING. No excuse in Calgary because there are THREE homeless shelters.

    The mistake was to allow the camping after the protest.

    These people want everything for free, they want everyone else to pay for their lives.

    There are agencies to help. Evict them then send them to whatever help they need one by one. Social service agencies, and police.

    Vancouver is more worried about it because it could incite a riot.

    Oh by the way, I heard that Wall Street traders were toasting the occupy wall street with very expensive champagne. I agree with their cause but it’s hard to change the world

  37. This has gone on far longer than it should have been allowed to. The right to free speech (as flimsy as the argument is in this case) does not include the right to infringe on others rights, the right to limit actual taxpayers access to public spaces, eliminating the rights of other groups to assemble in public spaces, or the right to willfully damage public property. Though the movement at its core may have some vaild points about the few having the most, it is lost when a bunch of people who dont think they should have to work, but want others to take care of them, make it a rights issue. It is your right to be lazy, but dont expect me to take care of you and pay for your mess.

  38. Time for them to go…Ok already, they have done their best to make a point. Now it’s time for them to try another strategy and leave the park immediately.

  39. I appriciate the Occupy message (as fragmented as it is) but its time to go. City Hall needs to pull out the big guns and start shooting at the hip, ask questions later.

    It looks like a Lonley Planet Hostel gone bad down there.

    I wonder if their socialist views will keep them warm over the winter. Hot Pockets anyone?

  40. Great job Cory!! What the City should do to remove these illegal OC squatters is; around 2-3 am have the authorities with all the necessary equipment and remove all tents and OC squatters. This way it will be dark, very cold, no media to take photos etc.

  41. Dear ‘Calgarian,’

    I hate to draw the comparison, but what you’re suggesting the police do sounds a lot like the Night of Long Knives…

  42. Way to go Cory! About time, wonder why they were allowed in the first place, the rights of the majority are being superceded constantly by the few here is just another example. Get rid of them!! Incidentally how do they afford to be here without working or are they just living off tax payers too.

  43. Enough is enough already… I think the “point” is “lost” now.. It is no longer unique, it is no longer new. Yes there are problems but they are not showing any energy to get things done. Time to get in the “game” or get the education to enable them to get into the game and fix it from within.

  44. about time we kick them off, are you doing all this from pennsylvania? and i think dads gonna put on the chicken suit one last time tomorrow

  45. Glad to see someone take initiative here. Hopefully these and other voices will force city hall to realize that we will not be held hostage by faction who in my opinion are just digging in their heels waiting the city to force them out so they have a reason to cry “Foul”. Right, like they’ll get any additional sympathy!

  46. Hmm, I just realized something based on what Cory wrote, “we as citizens need to speak up when our elected officials shy away from their jobs”.

    Isn’t this precisely one of the elements of the Occupy movement? Unless I misunderstand the Occupy protest messages, (I’ve really tried to understand what they are demanding), they preach that we must hold our governments accountable for the rights of the 99%. [In the case of the US banking institutions], we must demand government enforce policy and procedure to prevent corporate greed and exploitation of the resources of the 99%.

    Well guys and gals, I’m asking my civic government to enforce policy, procedure and law to have you move on. You’ve over stayed your welcome. You are exploiting my Olympic Plaza. You are now the 1% in our community. I respect your right to speech and protest. You need to find alternate ways to voice your message.

  47. Cory,
    They’re still there!! And who’s kidding who… This is a city damage estimate that has been quoted. We have seen how close to the mark the city has been on estimating costs (yes, I’m referring to our bazillion dollar eyesore nestled comfortably in between 2 existing bridges, amongst other things)!! When all is said and done this may cost $100,000 or more. I think you should camp on Nenshi’s lawn until he takes his balls out of his purse and enforces the rules of society we call the law.!! Or better yet, Druh Farrel’s lawn!! You have a right to express your opinion to our public officials!!

  48. @Tiqqun:
    No long knives required … just have city employees turn on hydrant water hoses to wash away the grime, scum and filth caused by OC.

    But the laughing hyena Mayor is too spineless to enforce the laws on the books. He is a real gutless wonder! Well, next Election Day his butt will be kicked out of office by the taxpaying Calgarians … GUARANTEED!! This Mayor is pathetic & as weak as water!

  49. I am very frustrated that so many people can break the law at one time and have absolutely no repercussion. As was said in another comment, the city officials are so ready to punish and ticket us for petty offences, and here is a bunch of people with nothing better to do with their time than get in the way and make a mess and all the police and bylaw officers do is let them get away with it. I am so sick and bloody tired of all the bleeding hearts in todays society. It’s time for Nenshi to put on his big boy gonch and do the job we elected him to do. Punt those squatters out of there or pay the price! Enough is enough!

  50. Thanks Cory! I posted this all to my facebook page. Many people I know tend to agree with everything you wrote! Good luck with getting the 5000 signed!

  51. I posted this all to my facebook page. Many people I know tend to agree with everything you wrote Cory! Good luck with getting the 5000 signed!

  52. The author of this article has not fully understood the subtitles of decision he has linked to. It’s quite clear in saying charter rights do trump local-bylaws and that actions by the authorities must be tempered to minimize infringement on the individual’s free speech. This is a good thing.

    “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.” -Chomsky

  53. Mayor Numbnuts is pathetic and a useless piece of crap that doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground!! He will be kicked out of office in the next Election that it will make his head spin!!!
    It has cost taxpayers $40,000 ++ to date, and it is going up by the day and all Mayor Numbnuts does is gives a Chestershirecat grin and weak excuses. He is the worse Mayor in Calgary’s history and there have been a few real losers and duds!!!

  54. Cory, I will sign your petition. I’m sorry to hear your truck got seized. Its amazing that the police will infringe on you and seize your private property without a second thought, but since the people in Olympic Plaza are the same crowd that supported the mayor they get city protection.

  55. Good job standing for reasonability this weekend. Next weekend, maybe set up a large screen at OP and host “Occupy Drive-In”? I’d drive down for that. Make it a good flick. Maybe the “Back to the Future” trilogy?

  56. 1. Vancouver’s Mayor resolved (has the fortitude/guts) to shut down the city’s ‘Occupy’ camp after a 23-year-old protester died over the weekend.

    2. Before deaths occur in Calgary’s ‘Occupy’ camp it time to EVICT the OCCUPY PROTESTERS NOW!

    3. To settle this debate, let’s take it to the Calgary Courts and let the judicial system settle the question between the Occupiers, the City Government, and the taxpaying Calgarians.

    4. Let’s see if Calgary’s Mayor has the same fortitude/guts as the Vancouver’s Mayor. DON’T HOLD YOUR BREATH for anything positive to be done by Calgary Mayor Numbnuts!!!!

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