The Pandemic and the Police: A Panel Discussion on COVID, the Surveillance State and the Future of Movements to Defund

May 05, 2021

Kelley Lee, Taz Khandwani, & Jessica Quijano

Wednesday, May 5, 4:30PM–6:00PM PDT, Via Zoom Webinar (Registration Required)

Organized by SFU's Institute for the Humanities

Register HERE


Earlier this month, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced that pandemic stay-at-home orders meant that anyone could be stopped and asked by police where they were going. Montreal and other urban centres in Quebec have been strict curfews for months, while in B.C. Premier John Horgan announced his government would also be authorizing police to do random checks on people travelling within the province but that they would “consult” people of colour to make sure such measures weren’t discriminatory. Meanwhile, under the banner of “anti lockdown” movements, the far right and other political forces opposed to mask wearing and other public health measures have rallied with impunity in ever greater numbers across Canada. Debates about surveillance and policing take place in the context of a North America––wide Black Lives Matter movement and a renewal of demands to defund or abolish police forces altogether. Join us for a wide-ranging panel and discussion. 


Kelley Lee, a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Global Health Governance and Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University who is currently leading the Pandemics and Borders Project, an international team analyzing the use of cross-border health measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Taz Khandwani, a grassroots organizer working on Defund the Police campaigns in Vancouver.

Jessica Quijano is a mother of two, activist, community and harm reduction worker. She has been involved in the feminist movement for 20 years, a community worker for 17 and currently is the  coordinator of the Iskweu project for the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal.  She is also a spokesperson for the coalition to defund the police in Montreal.