Speaking at a January 16 rally to support DULF outside a Vancouver court, Vince Tao, an organizer with Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU), noted that there are two questions prosecutors need to answer in weighing whether or not to charge: whether there is a “substantial likelihood of conviction,” and if so, whether it is in the public interest to prosecute.
“They would probably be convicted on [the first question]. Because it’s a technical charge: did they possess drugs? Yes. So, unfortunately, that’s the letter of the law,” Tao told Filter. But he believes that the second criterion is the more important of the two in this case.
“I think that’s exactly why they are slowing down on their prosecution, because they can see what’s going on,” he said.
Tao cited how 600 people attended a Vancouver rally in solidarity with DULF in November, shutting down Hastings Street as they marched to Victory Square. Another 400 people attended the January 16 rally, despite its being held in the middle of a Tuesday.
“Since November, we’ve had plenty of editorials [and] letters,” Tao said, adding that there was international support for DULF.
Some in attendance at the rally were people from Paris who happened to be in Canada. A solidarity rally was also held outside the Canadian embassy in London. In Mexico, a Mexicali supervised consumption site expressed support for DULF. And Irish allies in Belfast and Dublin submitted letters of support to Canadian ambassadors. Solidarity rallies were also held in Calgary, Alberta, and Nelson, a small city in southeastern BC.