From the Friday Fun File,August 13th – 2010: The Gordon Campbell Caption Challenge

‘ Morning everyone! I hope you’ve been thinking of some ways to beat the heat this weekend, because it’s going to be HOT!  And in my house, that equates to 4 fans, a sprinkler in the yard and a boat-load of freezies in the chest freezer downstairs – for the kids of course ;  )

Of course, there’s absolutely no way today could  possibly be  any hotter than our new weekly feature, The Gordon Campbell Caption Challenge!

 It’s where I give you a photo of  The Great One, and you give me the caption you think fits the bill best. And what better way to get you smiling  this morning, than posting  the winner of last week’s contest, who is… our lovely and long-time reader, Kim!!!

Congratulations Kim, for coming up with the caption that fits the bill, to a T !! This is Kim’s winning caption :

            ” B-Bye BC! It’s all mine now!! “


 Now, are you ready to give it another roun ?  Here is this weeks photo!!

Hey, Hey,  that’s a pretty funny photo of our premier, is it not ? Just what is he up to there, anyways?

As usual, leave your comments/captions below, and the winner will be posted next week.

( I’m working on getting a weekly prize for the winning captions, but since my budget isn’t big enough to cover that on an ongoing basis, I’m looking for some donation’s to fit the bill – anybody know a printer who has some funny Gordon  Campbell coffee mugs/ T-shirts? hehehe… )

Happy Friday, and be sure to share and enjoy this post with others!


Olympic Village compared to ” boy scout camp” with “walls as thin as curtains” ??? Read the news from overseas…

For the love of everything Canadian, will someone please tell me this is not true!!

 courtesy of  a long standing reader this morning :

( and who was in charge of Olympic construction ? )

Don’t snore – ‘the walls are as thin as curtains’ Athletes and coaches slam Olympic Village accommodation //

Winter Games 2010
Oympic Village living conditions criticised
Ski jump coach Werner Schuster compared the Olympic Village to a boy scouts camp: “The quality is very poor. Five, six people have to share a bath and the walls are as thin as curtains.”
Disgruntled athletes and coaches staying at the Olympic Village in Vancouver have hit out at what they say is shoddy accommodation and a lack of basic comforts.

One of the complaints is that the walls of the rooms are so thin that the athletes are struggling to fall asleep – not a good time to have snorers nearby…

Ski jumping trainer Werner Schuster compared the Olympic Village with a boy scout camp. The 41-year-old said: “The living standard is very poor. Five, six people have to share a bathroom and the walls are as thin as curtains.”

Such Spartan living, all in the quest to win gold at the Olympics!

The size the accommodation has also been criticised. A particularly sore point is that there isn’t enough space for athletes to dry their clothes.

A German functionary said: “The Village is good for summer. But now in winter with this weather it’s a problem.

“The German team have especially bought heaters to dry their things which are always getting wet due to the relentless sleet.”

Hermann Weinbuch, Germany’s Nordic combined coach, also slammed the fact that athletes and support staff will have to live so far apart.

And having to eat with plastic cutlery off paper plates in the Olympic Village hasn’t gone down well with the 49-year-old either.

But despite the problems, most of the Olympic Village residents seem to have come to terms with the inconveniences.

Schuster added: “I think it is enriching for the athletes to experience this. There’s a different atmosphere in a four-star hotel because you have to adjust to the circumstances.”

” Someone can write a negative story by taking a picture of someone in a doorway,but we have some things to celebrate.” ~ Rich Coleman


 (Well, Rich, you sure know how to give a good quote ! )

 ******* UPDATE – FEBRUARY 07th, 2010.

 Last year I bookmarked a page from The Province’s Operation Phoenix series that I found to be particularly authentic, and   Several days ago, the link disappeared and ‘ this story was no longer available.’

  To be honest, it seemed rather odd  to me that this story in particular was gone, because  the Operation Phoenix section still has many other stories from that series. But then again, this Opinion editorial by Chief Bill Wilson is not as flattering to the perception of positive change in the Downtown Eastside as many of the others, nor does it agree with the BC governments  Propaganda Information Booth’s viewpoint that things are improving and their many initiatives are making a difference. In the downtown eastside, as with other areas in the lower mainland plagued with persistent poverty and drug addiction, perception is everything. Take Whalley for example – site of the  Surrey 2010 Olympic Celebration – and Newton, to which some RCMP have remarked to me, is beginning to look like the next Downtown Eastside. 

Many people think that I am anti – Olympic, but really, I’m not. It would more accurate to say that I am anti- bullshit, and the amount of bullshit  that has been passed onto the people of BC leading up to these games has been far more than I find palatable.

I  do think  that it is important to support the athletes within the games with our spirit – many of them have worked hard blood, sweat, tears and financial sacrifice to get here, but  I also think it is important that we do not try and hide the reality of what life is like in all our cities while the spotlight is on us. (In that same vein, nor should we try to hide or diminish the  truth behind the horrific budget cuts and employment loss our premier and government have dealt the people of BC, within the last year, nor refuse to answer questions surrounding the amount of money being spent on this two week party for the world.)

 The Downtown Eastside is as much of a reflection on who we are as British Columbians, as the effort put in by thousands of volunteers who – without their tremendous amounts of effort and time –  these games would not be happening. So please, scroll down to the bottom of this New York Times post and read the Chief Bill Wilson editorial about the downtown eastside that can no longer be found anywhere on the internet, except for the one location I did manage to find it still in existence in a cached form. While I may not agree with everything Bill says, I do think  he touches on the most important reasons this poverty and addiction still persists in the DTES- it’s all a huge industry with no product.  


Thanks to my lovely and well-read daughter for finding  and sending me this timely little story featured in the New York Times!  Yes, I know I’m a little behind, but I’m into a big story, and many of my readers are across Canada and the rest of the world and might find this fun.  ( I guess that tuition bill is going to good use after all! )  Notice how the lovely little propaganda booth didn’t escape any notice, and the mention of coverage in other international papers.  Here are excerpts from…

In the Shadow of the Olympics

Published: February 4, 2010

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — In this urban oasis widely considered one of the most livable places in the world, the Downtown Eastside is about 15 square blocks of something else.

At the corner of Main and Hastings, residents of the poorest postal code in Canada passed a recent Tuesday afternoon. One man lighted a crack pipe, inhaling deeply. Another urinated on a wall. Another burned a book of matches, muttering at the flame. Two men started fighting. One brandished a bicycle seat, the other a salad that spilled onto the sidewalk.

“All that over drugs,” a passer-by said. “Welcome to the Downtown Eastside.”

That scene unfolded five blocks from the site of the opening ceremony for the Winter Olympics, scheduled for next Friday, and a five-minute drive from the athletes’ village.

By bidding for the Olympics, Vancouver invited the world to visit. Now city officials are trying to redirect the international news media spotlight from this blighted neighborhood in the shadows of the picturesque North Shore Mountains.

News accounts throughout the world have zeroed in on the striking juxtaposition of the Downtown Eastside with the Winter Games.

“North America’s festering sore of what do with its homeless and disenfranchised is crystallized in a few short blocks,” The Sunday Times of Australia wrote. The Daily News of Egypt wrote, “Just be careful not to stray too far south of Gastown into the city’s notoriously squalid and poverty-stricken notorious Downtown Eastside, where drugs and prostitution are rampant.”

In response, British Columbia and Vancouver officials opened an information center in the neighborhood, with hopes of managing the way the story is told. Fact sheets are being distributed, and journalists are urged to consider positive developments in the neighborhood.

“Someone can write a negative story by taking a picture of someone in a doorway, but we have some things to celebrate,” Rich Coleman, the minister of Housing and Social Development, told reporters last Friday.

Now, go on.

 Read the rest of this telling little tale HERE:

Then read some local reaction to this that I just found here on the TYEE yesterday :


‘A huge industry with no product’

 Downtown Eastside reminds him of the Department of Indian Affairs, says native chief
The ProvinceOctober 8, 2009Comments (21)

Operation Phoenix is a year-long project by The Province, CKNW 980 and Global B.C. We hope to engage the community in seeking solutions to the issues facing our most vulnerable citizens in the Downtown Eastside.

– – –

Operation Phoenix asked Hemas Kla-Lee-Lee-Kla (Chief Bill Wilson) what he thinks needs to be done on the Downtown Eastside

I was recently led on a “tour” of Skid Row by one of my nieces and another good friend. I was familiar with the area, having come to Vancouver to go to university in 1962, frequenting it with relatives and friends and then driving a taxi in town for five years while still at the University of B.C. The place has changed.

In the ’60s, it was not dangerous to visit. Sure, there were the drunks and those addicted to the other drugs, mostly heroin. There were the pimps and the prostitutes and poor people who were not accepted in other parts of Vancouver.

Except for the pimps, a disproportionate number of the people there were aboriginal. At least 90 per cent of those aboriginal people were in no way involved in drugs or prostitution. This remains true today, yet it is still the “white” impression that every native woman seen in the area is a hooker and every native man is a drunk, a junkie, a pimp or a pusher. Prejudice, racism and ignorance are alive and well, especially when it comes to society’s view of my people.

I have been asked many times why so many native Indian people live in the Downtown Eastside. The answer is obvious. Native Indian people have never been welcome anywhere else in Vancouver, even when they could afford it. I remember a trip I took to Vancouver with my father, mother and sister Donna in the late summer of 1950. We drove down Vancouver Island from Comox to Nanaimo in my father’s new luxury Packard car and caught the old C.P.R. ferry to Vancouver. As native Indians, we were not allowed to leave the car deck except to go up to the stern of the top deck. This I never understood, and it made me mad because I wanted to get something to eat.

We tried to register at the Hotel Vancouver, where we had a confirmed reservation. We were sent away quite abruptly with the recommendation that we would be more comfortable in the East End. We tried all of the good hotels until we ended up on the edge of Skid Row, where very early the next morning we finally found a cheap hotel that would take us, but only after my father paid in advance for the week, left a large damage deposit and had to swear that he would not have any wild drinking parties. Funny, my father never drank in his whole life.

My recent tour of Skid Row was depressing at best and extremely frustrating at worst. I must admit that, despite the good company of my two companions, I could not wait to escape the horror of the area. My frustration resulted not just from the human carnage that the new drugs have exacerbated but from the simple realization that all of the money spent there and all of the glorious plans announced have made absolutely no difference! Nuts!

Perhaps the thing that angered me most was the fact that the horror of the Skid Row area fuels a huge industry with no product, just like the Department of Indian Affairs. My friends informed me that at least $1 million is spent down there every day! How can this be, without any visible improvement? Is it because our society really does not care? Is Skid Row just the garbage dump for our living human waste? Out of sight, out of mind? And now, with the Olympics, we seem determined to push our rejected off their six-block-square human garbage dump.

The six-square-block area is very different from what it was in the ’60s. There are now “police free” zones where police do not make arrests for drug deals. Drugs and cash change hands out in the open with apparent immunity. Is this not the same thing as “legalization?”

I was informed by my niece that the zones and the injection sites, while a good idea on the surface, represent a danger to women and are starting to be shunned. Apparently men prey on women who they identify as having drugs in the zones where they are not protected by the police. Their appearance at the injection site also makes them targets. Many women actually feel safer injecting in the alleys. Madness!

My guides pointed out to me the many “service-delivery” offices and organizations in the area. I was amazed at the number, and these included only those in the six-square-block area. There apparently are five times as many more in the Downtown Eastside, all supposedly ministering to the suffering of Skid Row people. Many of these groups deal with the disproportionate number of aboriginal people there. In fact, there are more groups dealing with aboriginal people there than the number of aboriginal people I saw on my tour that day. My niece provided me with a list of groups and government agencies that numbers in the hundreds. Why so many?

I really have no idea what all of these groups do. The increased human horror makes it perfectly clear that they do very little. It is so much like the Department of Indian Affairs that it makes me want to puke. I am particularly disgusted with the multiplicity of aboriginal service groups that overlap in their mandates and compete with each other for funding to supposedly serve the same people. Has anyone heard of the “economy of scale?”

Fact is that the perpetuation of the horror is the foundation of their economy. Failure is actually the real mandate, for without it there would be no need for more money. It is with great disgust that I mention the fact that the Department of Indian Affairs budget this coming fiscal year will exceed $12 billion and yet the living conditions of my people have continued to worsen.

The sad situation on the reserves and in the Downtown Eastside has produced a lower life form known as the “welfare pimps.” They are the lawyers, consultants, social workers, healers, gurus, mystics and other so-called experts, many of them aboriginal, who have crawled out from under their rocks and thrive on the suffering of my people. They breed as cockroaches feeding on decaying flesh.

What can be done? I am not an expert on the subject, but it is patently obvious to me that drugs must be legalized and controlled by the government. We basically have this now, without the control. We must go further and take the gang profit out of all the illicit drugs. How many more shooting deaths do we have to witness on our streets before this sinks in?

Legalization is, of course, no panacea, but it would free up human resources and be a source of revenue to deal with the problems of drug abuse which are rapidly increasing under the present system and which will never go away completely.

Let me conclude by dealing with the crazy multiplicity of service groups. The suggestion has been made that a “czar” be appointed to rationalize the number of groups and agencies who purport to service the needs of people in the Downtown Eastside. Provided the czar was given the proper mandate and support, I would agree.

An independent Downtown Eastside aboriginal czar is also necessary. His or her specific task would be to evaluate the work of all the aboriginal groups based on success, not failure. He/she would be given a mandate of no longer than a year to do the work based on a commitment by government that the funding would be allocated in accordance with the findings. Recommendations about the rationalization, streamlining and efficiency of service delivery would have to be enforced.

There is no need for all the groups and agencies to be stumbling over each other and scrapping about the funding, all trying to service the same people. This would not be an attempt to save money. Rather, it would be an exercise in making proper use of the present funding and actually making a difference in the horror that is Skid Row and the depression that is the Downtown Eastside.

Obviously, this individual could not come from any of the groups or agencies presently working in the area. He/she would have to be a strong, independent person who could get things done without relying on committees or other time-wasters. No usual bureaucracy or “representative” political body would be necessary. This would be one aboriginal person with a clearly defined mandate and sufficient funding to get the job done in a year or less.

Consultation with the community would be required, but the major job would be to examine all the aboriginal groups on the basis of successful service delivery and make funding decisions in accordance with the proof of concrete, positive results. No positive results, no more money.

Hemas Kla-Lee-Lee-Kla (Chief Bill Wilson, BA, LLB) is a B.C. native leader with 50 years of service in aboriginal politics across Canada. He is most proud of the fact he helped to draft and successfully argued for the entrenchment of aboriginal title and treaty rights as the first amendment to Canada’s new constitution in March of 1983.

*** one of the most telling comments below that post is this one :

Very well stated regarding the numerous fiefdoms suppling “services” to those in need. I personally do not know any person , who as a child dreamed of living in the downtown eastside. Responsible service providers know that the existing system  serves the the executive directors needs first, then their organization and finally the “client”.Has been like that for years, and all levels of government know it too. It is time to revamp the services, move many of them out of the downtown eastside , almalgamate these non-profits, to reduce administration, and increase services to “clients”. All levels of government should take a time out from charging each  other for having the resposibility to those people and streamline their funding streams so that there can be a continuim of services. It is time to seriously understand that many of the people in the downdown eastside suffer from multiple issues which have created mental health issues for the “client-base” down there. I am from the Coast Salish Nation, living in the urban enviroment, and as a rule do not believe in the welfare economy and culture that has kept our people down. We certainly have to take responsibility for assisting ourselves and family, and government has a responsibility to work with us. The real issue, is there the politcal willingness to do so? At any rate good on Operation Phoenix for interviewing Chief Bill Wilson, he has done more for off reserve Aboriginal People than anyone in the history of this province.

” Vancouver’s Olympics head for disaster” ~ The Guardian

This link is appearing everywhere online, and has been sent to me by a number of readers.

An interesting commentary, it at first appears to be an overseas Op-Ed, but on further examination the author turns out to be a local freelancer, who was in fact interviewed by CBC yesterday! ( thank you C.!)  ** note how many links it has from local sources documenting the harsh financial realities of our fair province, an amalgamation of why so many people are feeling more concern than excitement.  Although the author tends to- as one reader put it- hyperbole, I still think it presents a fairly accurate representation of how many people are feeling in these days before our world debut.  ( someone might do well to stick this right on top of Bill Good’s desk – I hear many are getting tired of his incessant nattering over the lack of enthusiasm over the games. Reality check Bill- we don’t all live in fancy condo’s on the harbour and have two jobs to count on, let alone one for the many laid off and out of work people all over the  province )

An excerpt:

              It’s now two weeks until the start of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic games, a city-defining event that is a decade in the making. But a decade is a very long time. Much of what seemed sensible in the early 2000s has proven to be the opposite: for instance, allowing investment bankers to pursue profits willy-nilly was acceptable when Vancouver won the bid in 2003, but is now viewed as idiotic. So it comes as no surprise that just days before the opening ceremony, Vancouver is gripped by dread. Not the typical attitude for a host city, but understandable when you consider that everything that could go wrong, is in the process of going wrong.


            “The Bailout Games” have already been labelled a staggering financial disaster. While the complete costs are still unknown, the Vancouver and British Columbian governments have hinted at what’s to come by cancelling 2400 surgeries, laying off 233 government employees, 800 teachers and recommending the closure of 14 schools. It might be enough to make one cynical, but luckily every inch of the city is now coated with advertisements that feature smiley people enjoying the products of the event’s gracious sponsors.

Conservative estimates now speculate that the games will cost upwards of $6bn, with little chance of a return. This titanic act of fiscal malfeasance includes a security force that was originally budgeted at $175m, but has since inflated to $900m. With more than 15,000 members, it’s the largest military presence seen in western Canada since the end of the second world war, an appropriate measure only if one imagines al-Qaida are set to descend from the slopes on C2-strapped snowboards. With a police officer on every corner and military helicopters buzzing overhead, Vancouver looks more like post-war Berlin than an Olympic wonderland. Whole sections of the city are off-limits, scores of roads have been shut down, small businesses have been told to close shop and citizens have been instructed to either leave the city or stay indoors to make way for the projected influx of 300,000 visitors.

While  most of the local media are pushing the feel good, rah- rah, “it’s all good” mantra, we are begining to see the international media descend in droves and are looking for other stories about the impact of the Olympics from residents and freelancers alike. Keep your eyes peeled…

You heard it here locally first, on January 11th…now,CBC picks up NY post story and tells more of how Intrawest’s troubles are threatening the Olympics in Whistler

You heard it here first on January 11th, which is the date I brought you the NY post story that detailed the first  real hint of trouble for Whistler/Blackcomb resort owners, Intrawest, whose creditors are threatening to foreclose on them and seize control.

Well, today CBC has the followup story as a result of this weeks article in the  NY Post that say VANOC officials are considering pulling their financial support as a result of the mess. If that happens, the Olympics might not be able to take place in Whistler!

So how bad is it? Well, the creditors have rejected a repayment proposal and may move to foreclose on the resort in 10 days – putting everyone into crisis mode with only weeks until the games begin.

Sources tell The Post that creditors holding $1.4 billion of debt on Whistler owner Intrawest are planning to foreclose on the company within the next week and a half, casting a shadow on the resort, which will host the alpine events of the 2010 Olympics. “It will probably happen within 10 days,” a source said.
~ snip~

Read more:

And yes, I’m still officially on a break, but this is too good to pass up.

 Should this not be a topic of discussion at the water cooler? CKNW?  And if I were the editor of a large local daily, I would certainly have this on the front page, which it is not. But hey, that is just me…because as detailed in the NY post story I brought you on the 11th, some people are expecting a bail-out from the Canadian government, who refused to respond to the NY post story.

So, the questions remain: 

 Is the Canadian government going to fork over some rescue cash to Fortress to save the Olympics?

Or is that something the provincial government is working on behind the scenes?  Why no response?

 And more importantly, why have I had to rely on the NY Post for these stories  – until today ? Thank God for east coast news outlets!

** Businessweek is reporting that Intrawest is headed for the auction block Feb. 19th- smack dab in the middle of the 2010 Olympics…… ; )

Let the Games begin!

PS: I know you have all read this MANY times prior to this, but humour me again,especially in light of current developments- this is for those NY post writers scoping the blog all day….

Like I said, sometimes.. things that are old, become new again. You be the judge

” for all the challenges our children may face in the world, they continue to benefit from a world-class education system.” ~ Gordon Campbell.

A big,BIG, thank you out to Frank for this little gem…

That headline quote above is from the opinion editorial that Campbell wrote yesterday, that is posted here right below,and ran in yesterday’s Sun.

In that same editorial, he also had a few other things  to say about children,education, and dreams. This is all what he would like the world to believe :

One of our real tests in the years ahead will be to make   their education system and our health services even better so that they are there for the generations that follow us…

( snip)

 The inspiration of the Olympics is reflected in the excitement of our children and the sparkle in their eyes as the Olympic torch passes. That spirit will inspire a generation of British Columbian children to follow their dreams and pursue their passions, and that may be both the most exciting and lasting legacy of the year to come…


While we can’t predict all that 2010 will bring, we can all work hard to make it a year filled with moments that our children remember for the rest of their lives

This was also running yesterday in the Vancouver Sun, although no where near his look- how- great- we- are- editorial. 

This, is the truth  :

Government cancels literacy grant for schools

Janet Steffenhagen, Vancouver Sun

Published: Friday, December 18, 2009

B.C. schools have lost another government grant.

Vancouver district officials say they were told last week the Education Ministry has cancelled the literacy innovation grant, which contributed $204,000 to Vancouver schools and $5 million to schools provincewide.

“These funds have provided direct staffing support to some of our most vulnerable schools to support the district’s focus on literacy,” Vancouver’s management team said in a report to school trustees. Just last spring, the ministry told managers the grant was safe, the report says. The grant is one of several cancelled this fall

You know, I can’t even begin to think why they would cut grants, that the previous Education Minister, Shirley Bond  felt were so important to students in BC. In this press release, she said:

“Our literacy innovation grants are making a real difference in the lives of students,” said Bond. “The work we are doing to improve literacy is one of the reasons international tests like PIRLS and PISA are ranking our students as some of the best in the world.”

That same release says these grants  “will help B.C. achieve its goal of being the best-educated, most literate jurisdiction on the continent.”

Ah, I can just imagine how it all went down…. ” No, no Margaret, we don’t need those grants anymore to help the little ones learn how to read!  Get rid of them right now- all that literacy crap went out the window the second we realized there was no money left for the games! All that 2010 Olympic spirit will have to get them through life ! ( And I’ll be long gone before anyone is the wiser… hehehe) ” 

Methinks someone fell asleep at the wheel.

How many police officers does it take to get an Olympic torchbearer across the road?

Vans and vans full, according to this video! National must be making a fortune over van rentals for this security detail.  

Shot at the end of October on Vancouver Island, the video clearly shows a massive police presence that really-kinda-sorta overwhelms the torch runner in the middle… don’t blink or you will miss the torch altogether!

There are just so many reason this video is so hilarious -in a rather serious way.  What you can’t miss is all those RCMP, on bikes, on foot, in cars, in vans, and in that really big black armoured vehicle that someone watching refers to as the bomb squad – note the woman smiling and waving to the crowd as she sits in the back seat of that same armoured vehicle! Must be a Liberal- it’s the only safe place for one in the province right now… but what is the deal with all those mounties?  Barack Obama had a smaller detail than this torch bearer- whose torch doesn’t even seem to working properly. I bet you would not have seen this clip on CTV evening news – it just doesn’t give that FEEL GOOD feeling the organizers want everyone to believe every community has at the torches arrival! At least in B.C. that is… after all, we are going through ” Tough economic times”.

A couple of questions: Are all these officers on overtime? Because that torch isn’t exactly speeding along its journey. And if there are that many officers on security detail, where did they all come from? Better yet, whose holding down the fort back home? Geez, I really, REALLY hope those guys didn’t come from Surrey!

But don’t take my word for it, watch for yourself. And add to the discussion below…

 ***Big, big thanks to Alastair Haythornthwaite whose immortal words “Holy Shit!” concluded his epic film- ( those words courtesy of BC Mary, from her comment below! In my haste to post earlier today, I completely forgot to credit Alastair for this very telling piece of Olympic history…)

Criminals facing trial applaud VANOC’s commandeer of the RCMP for 10 weeks during 2010

If you don’t follow David Berner’s  blog now, I suggest that you do. He writes and comments and talks about various important issues facing those of us in Lotusland, and often touches on items that would otherwise escape the scrutiny of the public.

Imagine my surprise when scrolling through his feed this morning, to see that I had completely missed one such topic of great importance….

“The criminal justice system will be on hold for 10 weeks before, during and after the Gordon Games. (DISRUPTION) the disturbing and undemocratic power now given to VANOC.  

RCMP and other police will be too busy on security assignments to testify in local courts.

This peculiar news raises another other questions.

Will policing in general be “on hold” at the same time?

Does this make the calendar period from January 15 to March 26, 2010 a great time to commit murder, robbery, rape and other public mayhem?

The other day we pointed out in this space

This is what I wrote:

“VANOC is now apparently the highest form of government in the land, unelected though it may be. VANOC can close streets, re-route traffic hire or buy buses by the freight load and do just about any darn thing it wants to in order to make its famous Games work.”

How little I knew in the dark days of Thursday.”

 Read the remainder of Davids post on his blog here:

After reading his post, I clicked on the imbedded link  which lead me to his Globe and Mail story, that frankly, is very alarming.

There have been 5 shootings  recently near my home  in Surrey alone, three of them uncomfortably, nerve-wracking close. The RMCP are absolutely and completelyswamped with the onslaught of criminals in our lovely coastal cities. The Vancouver police are busier than ever. Delta Police are resorting to kicking the gangsters out into other cities, like mine.

The RCMP have promised us throughout this increasing violence they are doing everything in their power to get these people off the streets.

” We will do everything we can to get these people off the streets, and make it clear this criminal behavior will not be tolerated.”

 So they have been making arrests and crown has been laying charges faster than hens lay eggs. Many of these cases may end up before the courts next year- around the time of 2010.

So of course, it makes perfect sense for the RCMP to announce their officers will not be available to testify as witnesses in any cases between January 15th to March 26th, 2010- because VANOC needs them for security.

How utterly and completely ridiculous. The following excerpt details the issues behind the RCMPs decision:

      ”  The news has angered some criminal lawyers, who say that without police witnesses, the courts will be virtually shuttered.

         Vancouver lawyer Chris Johnson said most court officials expected delays, but nothing like what the police are pitching.

        “The police are one part of the justice system and they’ve taken this move without any consideration for any other part, which is, what I    think, kind of shocking.”

          Robert Holmes, president of the Trial Lawyers’ Association of British Columbia, said a 10-week delay in criminal cases could be viewed as unconstitutional if defendants are denied speedy trials.

         “That is problematic from several perspectives,” Mr. Holmes said. “One is the basic principle that the courts should be open and available all the time ”

I understand the security commitments inherent to any Olympic games.

The athletes, the venues, the visitors… all must be safeguarded to prevent  any hint of chaos and tragedy from occurring. Terrorism is a real threat in some circles.

But what about the host country and its residents? Must we all go to the extent that some criminals could escape justice due to an unreasonable delay? Our courts are already clogged and behind, and considering the cuts Gordon Campbell and his Liberals have targeted the  justice system with  they are likely to become more so.

Again, it makes perfect sense to put it all on hold so the world can party at our expense.

And here is where David Berner’s best question comes into play…

                                  ” Will policing in general be “on hold” at the same time?

                                    Does this make the calendar period from January 15 to March 26, 2010 a great time to commit murder, robbery, rape and 

                                    other public mayhem?”

Excellent and valid question David….because if the majority of the RCMP are busy keeping the rest of the world safe  in Vancouver and Whistler….. who will be minding the streets everywhere else?


****It’s been a busy few days around here, so be sure to scroll down to read the weekends news, or click on the following links:

You better find your parking now if you plan to drive to Whistler in 2010 – and be prepared to prove it.

*** Want to hear more on this story? Listen to CBC Radio newscasts  tomorrow morning, Thursday February 26th, for excerpts from an interview with Priya Ramu, who contacted me after reading Wednesdays bits and bites feature.

That is the word from Vancouver 2010 representative Suzanne Walters, who advised me via an email through Tourism BC that the Sea to Sky highway will remain open during the games – at least that is her understanding. VANOC has yet to release the official transportation plan.

However, anyone wishing to drive to Whistler will need proof of a designated parking spot. There will be no public parking available for the duration of the games. She  refers to this link on the Vancouver 2010 website for more information:

Suzanne does mention, however, that an overview of the transportation plan will be released in a couple weeks, and more specifics will be known then.

The question is, how good is this current information from VANOC  regarding possible restrictions on the Sea to Sky highway and will it change? And what does this mean for people trying to make travel plans and reservations for their visits to BC during the 2010 Olympics?

A little background to get you up to speed.

 After hearing from several of my readers  that the information they had received from travel agents around North America was proving to be very inconsistent as to whether or not the Sea to Sky highway would remain open for public travel during the games, I decided to see what Vanoc had to say when a potential visitor called or made email enquiries regarding just this issue.

If anything, I wanted to be able to provide some clarification for my readers. And honestly, I was quite curious myself.

Could I get the right information about the Sea to Sky highway if I were to try and make travel plans?

I initially contacted the Vancouver 2010 general information line on February 12th in an effort to find out exactly what potential visitors were dealing with when trying to make travel arrangements to visit the area during the Olympics. After being told by the clerk who answered that she didn’t know, I was put on hold for 14 minutes while she tried to find someone that did.

When she returned, she told me that the highway would be open with no restrictions, but that there was going to be no public parking in Squamish or Whistler, so that would be an issue. You would need to have accommodation’s that come with a parking spot.

Immediately after this call, I  also sent an email to the Vancouver 2010 information address asking this:


 I see that on the 2010 site that there is an Olympic bus network for travel to whistler during the games.
 Will the Sea to sky highway be open for regular traffic during the period of the games for drivers not attending a venue? We are trying to determine what plans we should make to visit the area during this time, but do not plan to attend any ticket events.
Thank you!”
On February 19th, I received the following reponse:
  Thank you for your interest in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) is working with our local and provincial government partners and various transportation agencies to ensure an efficient and sustainable Games-time transportation plan. 

 Part of the plan includes ensuring that the highway between Vancouver and Whistler can be travelled safely and quickly. Access to the highway may be restricted during peak hours for buses of athletes and spectators and local residents. The use of an “Olympic Lane” during peak hours is a common practice at Games, but VANOC and our partners will make every effort to minimize any disruption to local residents.

Thanks again, Vancouver 2010 Info”

So, one inquiry tells me the highway is open and no restrictions, and this email implies there are likely to be restrictions ?

 Clearly, one can ascertain that there are some immediate issues for anyone trying to make travel arrangements such as vehicle reservations, or ensuring that their accomodations do have a designated parking spot. It seems that reliable – and correct – information is not easily at hand for those making enquiries though site. As of yet, the true availability of public travel on the Sea to Sky highway is unknown to anyone but those in charge of the Transportation plan, which we expected to see today, but alas- it is still no where to be found.

 So today, trying once again to see what potential tourists who wanted to go to Whistler via their own vehicle would be told, I went to the Canvouer 2010 website to call the general information line again, but the link leading to that number was non-operational. Trying the next best thing that a tourist might look at, I found a link with a number for Tourism BC and spoke to Mika Ryan… who, unfortunately, also did not know whether or not the highway would be open,closed or restricted. 

Tourism BC doesn’t know either ?? 

Come on VANOC, people have to make plans here. To say I felt frustrated was an understatement. What would someone from another country be going through?  The highway is open, the highway is closed, the highway will be open but with restrictions…..Nothing jives but the parking issue. However,after Mika promised that she would forward my question to her contact at VANOC, I gladly fired off yet another email in my quest to find out what is going on with that darned highway.

 Hi Mika, thanks for your assistance.

 The question is as above – in trying to make travel arrangements now, for the period of 2010, will the sea to sky highway be open to regular travel for non-ticket holders who want to travel to Whistler? Travel agencies are giving vastly different answers with regards to travel.

 Thanks, Laila”

To which I received  this reply :

The highway will be open but parking at Whistler will be the issue – my understanding is that to drive to Whistler drivers need proof of a designated parking spot. An overview of the transportation plan is coming out in the next few weeks so there will be more specific information coming on that front.Laila will find this page useful

 So there you have it.  Depending on who you ask, the highway ” will be open”, and it ” may have restrictions”, however there is no parking to be had in Whistler -and dare I say- Squamish? What are earth must people be going through to find out this information, and what happens if and when this information changes?

One would think that definitive plans would have been finalized by VANOC now, in order to facilitate the ease of which people plan their trips.

Clearly, you take your chances if you are making travel plans around driving to Whistler, or renting vehicles, or simply trying to sight see during the games.
Until VANOC releases  a definitive ( read carved in stone) transportation plan, you are on your own.
Vancouver 2010  is giving  mixed information and at the very least, really should just be telling people the truth – that their representatives honestly do not know much more than we do right now, and to say anything else is asking for problems down the road.
What should you do until then?
I would suggest that if you are planning to go to Whistler during 2010, plan on taking their buses or other public transit.
Certainly, I would suggest that to sign a contract or  give a deposit on a rental vehicle reservation is risky right now, if you don’t have parking in Whistler. 
That much  at least, seems to be reliable information that can be counted on.
However, I wouldn’t rely on anything you hear from your travel agent, or any other Vancouver 2010 information line until that Transportation plan is released , because making plans without knowing all the details might  just leave you… and your wallet –  out in the cold.





Ed Willes hits it spot on, and pulls no punches doing it.

More often than not, the best writing in The Province is found in the sports section, under the banner of Province sportswriter, Ed Willes. Personally, I think they should let this man loose with a column in the first section, and see where he can go with that. His style is straight forward and descriptive,and nary a moment is wasted getting from A to B.

Case in point? An excerpt from his column in todays sport section regarding 2010 and John Furlong’s suggestion that it is our duty to assist in the games success- possibly by mandated vacations in the middle of February….

” …Finally, if you were wondering about the nature of the beast we’ve invited into our community in 2010, we direct your attention to John Furlong’s incredible press conference from last week.

Furlong, among other things “challenged” Vancouver’s business community to “embrace the true spirit of the Games.” This, apparently, didn’t mean filing a nuisance lawsuit over rights infringement.

Rather, it meant businesses should encourage, even “mandate,” employees to take time off during the Olympics; that their work schedule should be altered during the Olympics; and that businesses should direct employees toward volunteering for 2010.

There was more, but the general drift — it’s your civic duty to support the Olympics — was unmistakeable and there is something incredibly offensive in that message.

Look, Furlong is a functionary appointed to organize a sports festival. No more, no less.

But it says something about the sense of entitlement inherent in the Olympic movement that he not only feels he’s been granted some form of power, he’s also within his rights asking people to alter their lives to accommodate this sports festival.

I mean, it would be funny if it weren’t so pathetic. And the worst part? VANOC doesn’t begin to understand how offensive that kind of presumption can be. ”

Ed Willes, The Province,Published: Monday, November 17, 2008