I was recently checking out Vanilla Bill’s lineup on NW, and one of his topics was something like this: Olympic fever is sweeping the nation – when will Vancouver catch Olympic excitement? Uhhh, hate to tell you Bill, but maybe never?
Here’s the deal. I’m totally in support of Olympic athletes and big dreams, and going for gold, but having the Olympics in Vancouver was clearly always a silly prospect from the start. Hello- we aren’t called lotus land for nothing, remember? The wet coast? And look at us now, with merely weeks to go and nary a snowflake in sight. I actually tanned on my front step a few moments ago, to the heady scent of early spring flowers that are blooming on nearby shrubs. What was Vancouver thinking?
Onto that embarrassing fact that Canadian athletes are some of the most underfunded in the world. Here in BC, the government budget cuts to education and athletic programs will sufficiently put an end to many a young dream, unless they have parents with deep pockets to cover all the costs. For Gordon Campbell to be spouting off about having a goal of being the most literate and most fit province is a joke, a hypocritical, cruel joke to be precise. Again, cuts to literacy programs and education grants have decimated everyone’s budgets, from PAC’s to school boards, to special education. How can a child dream, who cannot read, or receive the proper educational support he or she needs to become a contributing, functioning adult?
It’s not an easy position to take, the one I do. I simply cannot get excited for these games when I know firsthand, and see all around me, the devastating cuts to services far and wide that probably would have not happened if it were not for these games. It doesn’t matter how you spin it, British Columbians can no more afford to host these games than we can afford to buy gold medal hockey game tickets! And yet, the bills have not even begun to roll in.
With that in mind, let’s get to The Top 5 Things NOT to do during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. ( originally posted last June, but what the hell? I think we all need a good reason to speak our minds, don’t you?)
#5 ) Get sick or Have any kind of elective surgery – up to 4000 surgeries will be cancelled in the Lower Mainland, over a 4 week period during 2010 – even serious operations could be affected. ( 2000 in Vancouver Coastal Authority + 2000 Fraser Health Authority)
” For those interested, a reduction in services during this time will allow physicians, nurses and other health professionals to volunteer their services for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games to meet the medical needs of athletes, team support staff, volunteer medical staff and spectators. VANOC requires the volunteer services of 1,750 medical staff for the Games. “
~ Fraser Health authority memo, July 9th, 2009
READ THIS ENTIRE MEMO HERE: http://www.cbc.ca/bc/news/bc-090715-ndp-fraser-health-surgery-reductions.pdf
And the complete story here: http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2009/07/15/bc-olympic-surgery-cancellations.html
And this fellow was ridiculed for suggesting this would happen back in 2007 : http://www.olyblog.com/f/07/HealthCareF08202007.shtml
#4) Expect any Justice to be served or be assured of your own safety – Very few( if any) criminal court cases will be heard during 2010 as RCMP do security duty, and officers are re-designated from cities all over Canada.
http://18.104.22.168/search?q=cache:CKs6uqGhPRAJ:www.theprovince.com/news/Olympic%2BRCMP%2Bhome%2Bchartered%2Bplane/1913593/story.html+rcmp+fly+home+in+chartered+planes&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ca ( cached version remains only- original has been removed from online paper)
#3) Get to work – or anywhere else – in a remotely decent time:
#2 ) Be homeless or destitute in an area where visitors might actually see you –
Transit police have authority to move homeless : https://lailayuile.wordpress.com/2010/01/04/is-this-really-about-the-homeless-or-the-olympics/
Homeless relocation in Whistler: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2010/01/08/bc-whistler-homeless-olympics-relocate.html
And the Number 1 thing NOT TO DO during the 2010 Winter Olympics is……
Speak your mind anywhere except where VANOC tells you to !
Police intimidate speakers in Kelowna http://thetyee.ca/Blogs/TheHook/Olympics2010/2010/01/22/KelownaOlympics/
Native knitters contacted by RCMP: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2009/10/22/bc-cowichan-sweater-rcmp.html
No protest signs allowed, even on your own property: http://www.canada.com/life/notice+Olympic+protest+signs/2272519/story.html
And the best of all is this one, still, where the RCMP visited a 73 year old man who wrote a letter to VANOC : http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/Surrey+gets+police+visit+after+writing+Vanoc/1527478/story.html
Questions I have for VANOC and the BC Liberals:
1) I live in Surrey, one of the top ten dangerous cities in Canada. With the number of RCMP officers being shifted to 2010 security detail, how will you continue to assure the public that criminal mayhem will not erupt in areas where venues are NOT located ? And don’t tell me we have enough cops left here in Surrey, because we don’t. Even the Surrey Board of Trade thinks so.
2) Considering patients already face wait times of several months for many elective surgeries, how can you justify losing 4 weeks to cover the games? Will the system be able to withstand this type of setback, and how do you plan to recover? ( oh wait, Kevin Falcon just ordered massive budget cuts, didn’t he? never mind. Apparently, you never planned a recovery.)
3) Apply that same question to the backlog in our courts . How will the time ever be made up, and will any offender go free as a result of these delays?
Answers, people, answers!
And an exceptionally good read with an untainted writers viewpoint? http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/dave_zirin/01/25/vancouver/index.html