February 10, 2010

Is The Olympic Flame Worth The Candle?

I'm already sick and tired of The 2010 Olympic Games.
And they haven't even started yet. Living so close to Vancouver
doesn't help any. The media over-kill is brutal. But at least
I'm not living on the Lower Mainland. Amid all the Hoop-la,
both pro and con, one has to ask the one big question-
                          "Is It Worth It?"
Is having the world (or those people in it who have access
to cable television) watch a two week long sporting event
worth what Vancouver (and Canada) have had to put up
with to put the damn thing on? In other words, what's in it
for us?  We know the drill > jobs during an economic 
slowdown > infrastructure > prestige > national pride
vs. the chaos and the clampdown. And the relentless
hype. Will the tourists flood our cities after this circus
leaves town? How much money will it cost to put on
the show? No one knows. 
  We do know that the "security costs" of 2010 are about 
a billion dollars. And who, exactly, pays for that?
The one BIG problem that everyone seems to agree
Vancouver has, above all else, is the number of people
"living" on the streets. For a billion bucks you could give
a thousand homeless people a really decent condo and 
a half a million dollars - EACH. It's nice to know we've got
our priorities straight.

   We are told that these are tough economic times,
which is why Arts Funding have been cut in British 
Columbia. As have School Board Budgets.
Sorry, our Government tells us, we just don't have 
the money. But 15,000 cops and soldiers brought into
Vancouver? Not a problem. Security you understand.

And if Canada doesn't win Gold in the hockey finals-
well, the terrorists have won.

  There are enough reports on VANOC's bullying 
antics to make most Canadian's cringe. 
  The most succinct critique I've read on what the Olympics
have done to the very spirit of Vancouver is written
by Vancouver's own Poet Laureate (and, please, 
don't let that scare you away) Brad Cran in this wonderful
article he's just written >
hope the link works and you get a chance to read it.

Like most Canadians I'll probably watch some of the show
on TV. Cheer when we win, and get a little lump
in my throat whenever I see some kids singing 
the national anthem. But I'll probably also wonder
who's paying for these fireworks?
How much for the smoke?
How much for the mirrors?


  1. Is it worth it?

    Absolutely not.

    And the really sad thing is this is a bipartisan affair. Then NDP Premier Glen Clark enthusiastically launched the bid process, and Gordon Campbell merely picked up the torch from there. As such, we have no real political opposition in the Legislature to this corporate branding bonanza.

    Unlike Expo '86, the good thing about the Olympics is it doesn't drag on for months and months... By the end of this month, it's over, thank god. However, while the Coca Cola Canada flags may have stopped flapping at February's end, the tax bills are just starting to be seen.

    The whole thing stinks to high heaven.

  2. Hobbes...
    It is absolutely worth every penny.
    I can tell you first hand that our province has not suffered the economic devestation that others parts of Canada and the USA has.
    The long term benifits will leave a positive legacy for all.
    I'd prefer to help the homeless by giving them a job.

  3. anonymous, you are completely insane.
    for everyone else: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j144LxkEBZg