Friday, February 12, 2010

I'm so 2008

Hey, remember this?

Oh yes. Olympic protesters!
What was that? Free Tibet you say? That's funny, because I don't think it had anything to do with the Olympic games that were actually being held. *

*abbreviated because I can rant on about this forever.

But you know what does have to do with the Olympic games being held right now?
Vancouver's homeless.

It's no secret that Vancouver has a huge homeless population, between the high real estate prices, housing shortages, and huge rates of heroin abuse, there's a booming bum population. Interestingly enough between the time Vancouver won the bid for the Olympics and now, the homeless population has doubled (predicted much earlier), and not just because the number of addicts has skyrocketed due to the advertising of "Team Canada Heroin". Housing booms have forced ordinary people out into the streets. But that's what the government's for, right?

No! Since the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee (VANOC) went 5 billion dollars over their 550 million dollar budget and had to be bailed out by the government, anything that isn't feeding/housing/massaging/or killing athletes has been brushed aside. So what did they do about the homeless people? Well, after passing a bill that gave Police free rein to do whatever they damn well like to the homeless (bumfights anyone?) they also forcibly removed them from the area. Funny, apparently there isn't any room in the 5 billion dollar budget to squeeze in a little sommin for the homeless, eh?

"Oh but every city does this" is no excuse for doing it again and again. Every time the Olympics roll around to a city, it brings social havoc. The poor get poorer (and sometimes evicted) while the rich get richer (and score a prime seat at the games). Vancouver really could have used all the money it spent on the Olympics to help out their own city instead of putting in a shining mask for the world. They're not fooling anyone anyway.

Speaking of not fooling anyone, what is up with all the aboriginals? Yes, I think it is important to celebrate the native heritage of this country (that is otherwise squashed and relegated to a reserve with contaminated water). But Canada is not 99% aboriginal, which is what some might believe after watching the opening ceremonies. If we really wanted to show what Canada was all about, then there would be a multicultural display of everyone together; different, yet the same. I guess it all boils down to the guilt. Aboriginals are 15 times more likely to become homeless (see above rant.), they're stuck on reserves where it's overcrowded, underdeveloped, and impoverished. To move off the reserve means using money they don't have, because they're on the reserve. And within the reserve, there are all the problems that poverty causes: glue sniffing, alcoholism, suicides. But hey, at least they get some air time to do some throat singing, right?

I'm pretty sure the money that went to sending truckfuls of snow down a mountain would have been much better spent on the city itself, but hey, the Olympic spirit lives on in Canada!

Oh wait, no it doesn't. Sure the records are getting faster, stronger and higher, but it's also getting a lot more hostile. Instead of the fair play that is expected of people who want to excel at their sport and display their talents, it's been reduced to doping and exploiting the grey areas in the rule book. Canada has been particularly naughty these years. Researching top secret technologies for the athletes seems a little underhanded. While using technology to improve the sport isn't unfair, it is decidedly unfair to make sure that no one else is able to use the same technology. It's become less about the sport, and more about who has the lowest coefficient of friction.

So, which one was worth boycotting?

***Anti Free-Tibet rant coming soon to a blog near you!

Homework/references/articles I've read
The Walrus

The Homeless Issue

Someone that holds the opposite point of view

1 comment:

  1. San Antonio, being a tourist town, also has a habit of sweeping away the unseemly side whenever a big event comes around. Fortunately, someone realized a few years ago that treating the underlying problem of homelessness in the city by improving shelters and programs rather than just cosmetically treating the symptoms and forcing the homeless out of the downtown area for a few days is a much better solution.