Fortunately I arranged to have major surgery while the games were on so I had the wonderful excuse of hospitalization and did not have to deal with the ensuing traffic jams.
During the months before, the homeless became even more homeless as the annual town prettification progressed. Because the climate here is very mild compared to the rest of Canada we have a largish number of "outdoor campers", more than most cities.
In preparation for the whole 2 weeks of games, evictions increased to take advantage of the big bucks promised by the games. Well, the games came and went. But I noticed some nasty effects, the worst of which was my rent increasing by 1/3, which to a single mother with two children, is a major blow.
It seems these games had attracted the attention of the Canada Real Estate Board who declared my beautiful neighbourhood of quaint homes surrounded by the ocean as "The safest and best place in which to raise a small family in Canada."
That was, folks, the beginning of the end. I happen to be against this whole NWO thing as anyone who talks to me knows, and have long felt that these Olympics, a wonderful concept when held in ancient Greece, to have been hijacked to serve as a method of wakening the eyes of the world to the prospect of globalization.
Start with the beer and entertainment, then tell them about the banking, military and chipping. By then they won't think so much of globalization, already equating it with the "fun" games.
However, speak of that in the 1970's, 80's, or 90's and people just thought you loonier than the proverbial tune. I still support this belief and have loosely followed the trials suffered by the local people in anticipation of these events over the decades. Now we see everything happening in Vancouver, just as events unfolded in Beijing, Atlanta and every other locale blessed with hosting status.
The people of Chicago were saved from this hell when Obama failed to bring in the games for his Chicago masters.
What I see in Vancouver in 2010 are the usual increased costs. Every time the games are held, the budget is at least triple the original budget. You would think the natives would know this and protest from the getgo but they keep silent until the budget is bigger than the proverbial elephant hiding in the room. The sweeping of the streets is evidence.
Nowhere was this more painful than in Beijing as homes and neighbourhoods were just razed and the residents sent scuttling with no place to call home. Although not quite as horrid, what has been going on in British Columbia has been pretty darn nasty.
An anarchist! Look at her shirt! Is there a bomb under her hat?
This is the same Canada, most Canucks consider this to be land of the free and free speech is a given. Wro-ong! For the last year or three the protectors of the peace *giggles* have been harassing citizens non stop over the games. We have now become a police state and I see the games as being a reason to justify this change to the people, just as China did in terms of installation of survey materials everywhere. Increasing surveillance is BIG business and "keeps us all safe from terrorists". It was even made an arrestable offence to wear anti-games t-shirts or display posters from your home!
By laws were passed making it an offense to display anti games material. Students and citizens who had nothing to do with the protest, found themselves under scrutiny and having to prove their innocence from having committed no crime. The Marxist pressure of political correctness was applied so heavily that to be heard nay saying the games in public was guaranteed to bring a "Hush, someone might hear you" to someone's lips.
The height of this idiocy came last month when Amy Goodman of Democracy! Now was halted at the borders and treated scandalously by the border guards. Ms. Goodman, an internationally acclaimed journalist, was en route to speak at the Vancouver Library and the University of Victoria, both hotbeds of wild, anti establishment anarchists as you all know.
after hours of interrogation and rudeness, the five agents came down to the money question: "What are you going to say about the Olympics?"
Befuddled, Amy thought they referred to the aforementioned failed Obama bid and
If it had not been so pathetic, it would have been hilarious. These boarder guards would fit well in a Palestinian/Israeli passpoint they were so neurotic. No, it was all about the Vancouver Olympics something that had not even crossed her grid of consciousness what with her mind being occupied with things that really mattered, human rights, war, crooked politics, etc etc etc.
As a result of choosing the wrong person to treat in such a way, more British Columbians became aware of just how repressive it can be in our corner of land of the free. Americans laughed. (Not that they have much to laugh about!) Because our country is so large, the news of what happens in the East rarely manages to cross the country unless it has to do with hockey so I cannot gauge the reaction of folks back East.
The author of the following piece has got it. Normally I do not speak too much of such "trivialities" but for the people of British Columbia, this has been a big eye opener ~ seeing just how eroded our rights have become.
Of course, come the big event, most will settle back and enjoy the figure skating and hockey along from their living room but many are griping at the outrageous cost of tickets available to all Canadians at costs none can afford. But in the meanwhile, most of us are sick to death of the damned thing knowing that from the start, almost every word from the promoters/politicians was just plain propagandist pap.
AS THE OLYMPICS NEAR, VANCOUVERITES ARE DREADING THE GAMES
By Dave Zirin
January 25, 2010
When I arrived in Vancouver, the first thing I noticed was the frowns.
The International Olympic Committee has leased every sign and billboard in town to broadcast Olympic joy, but they can't purchase people's faces. It's clear that the 2010 Winter Games has made the mood in the bucolic coastal city decidedly overcast.
Even the customs police officer checking my passport started grumbling about "$5,000 hockey tickets."
Polls released on my first day in Vancouver back up this initial impression. Only 50 percent of residents in British Columbia think the Olympics will be positive and 69 percent said too much money is being spent on the Games.
"The most striking thing in the poll is that as the Olympics get closer, British Columbians are less likely to see the Games as having a positive impact," said Hamish Marshall, research director for the pollster, Angus Reid.
"Conventional wisdom was that as we got closer to the Olympics, people here would get more excited and more supportive." If the global recession hadn't smacked into the planning last year, with corporate sponsors fleeing for the hills, maybe the Vancouver Olympic Committee would be on more solid ground with residents. But public bailouts of Olympic projects have decisively altered the local mood.
I spoke to Charles, a bus driver, whose good cheer diminished when I asked him about the games.
"I just can't believe I wanted this a year ago," he said. "I voted for it in the plebiscite. But now, yes. I'm disillusioned."
This disillusion is developing as the financial burden of the Games becomes public. The original cost estimate was $660 million in public money. It's now at an admitted $6 billion and steadily climbing.
An early economic impact statement was that the games could bring in $10 billion. Price Waterhouse Coopers just released their own study showing that the total economic impact will be more like $1 billion. In addition, the Olympic Village came in $100 million over budget and had to be bailed out by the city.
Security was estimated at $175 million and the final cost will exceed $1 billion. These budget overruns are coinciding with drastic cuts to city services. On my first day in town, the cover of the local paper blared cheery news about the Games on the top flap, while a headline announcing the imminent layoff off 800 teachers was much further down the page.
As a staunch Olympic supporter, a sports reporter from the Globe and Mail said to me, "The optics of cuts in city services alongside Olympic cost overruns are to put it mildly, not good."
But these aren't just p.r. gaffs to Vancouver residents, particularly on the eastside of the city where homelessness has spiked. Carol Martin who works in the downtown eastside of Vancouver, the most economically impoverished area in all of Canada, made this clear: "The Bid Committee promised that not a single person would be displaced due to the Games, but there are now 3,000 homeless people sleeping on Vancouver's streets and these people are facing increased police harassment as they try to clean the streets in the lead up to the Games."
I strolled the back streets of the downtown east side and police congregate on every corner, trying to hem in a palpable frustration and anger. Anti-Olympic posters wallpaper the neighborhood, creating an alternative universe to the cheery 2010 Games displays by the airport. The Vancouver Olympic Committee has tried to quell the crackling vibe by dispersing tickets to second-tier Olympic events like the luge. It hasn't worked.
The people of the downtown east side and beyond are developing a different outlet for their Olympic angst. For the first time in the history of the games, a full-scale protest is being planned to welcome the athletes, tourists, and foreign dignitaries.
Would you trust your freedoms to this man? Slimy, sanctimonious, sniveling, supercilious Steven, wondering when he can go home escape the commoners.
Bringing together a myriad of issues, Vancouver residents have put out an open call for a week of anti-game actions. Different demonstrations on issues ranging from homelessness to indigenous rights have been called. Protesters from London and Russia, site of the next two Olympics will be there.
Expect a tent city, expect picket signs, expect aggressive direct actions. Tellingly, according to the latest polls, 40 percent of British Columbia residents support the aims of the protesters, compared to just 13 percent across the rest of Canada.
Harsha Walia of the Olympic Resistance Network said, "We are seeing increasing resistance across the country as it becomes more visible how these Games are a big fraud."
The Games will also coincide with the largest and longest-standing annual march in Vancouver, the Feb. 14 Memorial Women's March meant to call attention to the hundreds of missing and murdered women ~ particularly indigenous women ~ in British Columbia.
The Vancouver Olympic Committee asked the Memorial March organizing if they would change the route of the march for the Olympic Games. As Stella August, one of the organizers with the downtown eastside Power of Women Group, said to me, "We are warriors. We have been doing this for 19 years and we aren't going to bow down to the Olympics."
One thing is certain: if you are in Vancouver, and competitive curling doesn't get your blood pumping, there will be quite the spectacle outside the arena.