Campbell Damages the Games/Legacy

I am looking forward to the Olympic Games, and I believe I reflect the feelings of a majority of British Columbians on the topic.  I was happy when Vancouver won the bid; I hope they do Vancouver/Whistler proud; and I will relish every medal captured by Canada … especially the Gold Medal in Hockey.

And yet, I understand why the latest poll shows British Columbians are less enthusiastic than other Canadians about this world event that will be held right here:  I blame Gordon Campbell.

The Premier, in his rush to the podium spotlight, has disrespected the people … and they are mad.

While taxpayers have seen BILLIONS spent on facilities for the games, MILLIONS on VIP tickets, MILLIONS more to be spent on parties and receptions for the well-connected … they have also witnessed cuts in school programs, slashes to all kinds of  important community programs for those not so privileged as those close to the Games , thousands of cancelled surgeries, and now, the announcement that 800 Vancouver teachers will be laid off for lack of funds … a full 20 per cent of the city’s educational force.

At a time when there’s still plenty of money for a $600 MILLION new roof for a stadium!  Are they nuts???  Or just ignorant and arrogrant?

All directed by a man whose government LIED to the voters about the projected size of the deficit before the election and LIED to BC restaurateurs during the campaign about the HST.  And don’t forget the disgraceful handling of the Paramedics dispute.

And whose repeated appeals for reason and reconsideration have fallen on deaf ears.

It is true, of course, that the economy/revenues have taken a hit since the bid was won. If the premier had forced VANOC to tone down some of the hoopla and extravagance surrounding the partying and the pampering of the I-O-C  memebrs, instead of slashing at  kids/education again, he could have actually increased public support. Instead his government continues to do the opposite, with every sign it will get even worse after the athletes/delegates jet away.

Yet the media pundits wonder why the people in B.C. are not enthused???

You cannot separate the two: only in countries under corrupt ruthless regimes do you see the “haves”  frolic and enjoy the good life without a care while people around them suffer and go without.

 No caring community of people can party and play comfortably when they hear, see or  read almost every day in the newspapers about THEIR own government shelling it out by the BILLIONS, let’s face it …  on non-essentials …  on one hand, while telling the kids, the poor, the sick THEY will have to do with less, or nothing at all.

And lie and deceive them openly in the process.

We never heard of such a wide disparity occurring in New York state during the Lake Placid Games;  these things going on in Alberta for the Calgary games; or, the same wide division of society leading up to or during the Salt Lake City Olympics.  

Maybe that’s why people there were more supportive.

And they probably didn’t have VANOC ..which has been allowed by the government to almost run wild with overkill restrictions and bully-like tactics that are needlessly causing MANY MORE people to hate the games.

Do will really need to  ruin the business of dozens of family-run shops WAY DOWN  at Granville between 60th and 72nd … by banning parking in front of their stores.  Ridiculous bullying!

And Vanoc’s zealous pursuit of local retailers  for displaying almost anything Olympic has soured many as well.

And after the Games… it will all get much worse.  The bills will  come in; the true cost of holding not only the Olympics, but all the wasteful partying excesses with public dollars will be added up … and once more the taxpayers,  hospital workers, teachers and the working class will be  … not asked  ….   but forced, probably through more dictatorial-style legislation,  to pay for the costs.

So I will enjoy watching the fantastic skills and abilities of the world’s best winter sports athletes ..and marvel at them all. And pull for CANADA in every event.

But please, media pundits, wallowing in your own media freebies, passes, jackets, bags, food, booze  (free tickets??), rubbing shoulders with world-class athletic stars,   while  making lots of overtime,  and having access to all kinds of facilities most taxpayers will only glance at from beyond concrete barriers and two rings of chain link fences … don’t wonder why so many Brtiish Columbians are less than 100% enthusiastic.

Harv Oberfeld

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17 Responses to Campbell Damages the Games/Legacy

  1. Gary E says:

    “The Premier, in his rush to the podium spotlight, has disrespected the people … and they are mad.”

    And there in lies a problem. I wrote about it at Harv.

    It is not Campbells podium to take. It belongs to the Mayor of Vancouver and/or Whistler. It’s the VANCOUVER Olympics. Not the BC PROVINCIAL Olympics.
    In spite of the fact that Campbell has ensured that the taxpayers (and not the sponsors) will be paying for it for decades to come.

    (Response: I’ll bet politicians from all branches of government will be posing for pictures and enjoying the freebies. As I said I don’t object to the games .. but I DO object to making the innocent sacrifice and suffer to pay for them. h.o.)

  2. brian says:

    all very good points, as usual, harv. The blatant misuse of taxpayer money on the olympic tickets, parties, et cetera is outrageous.

    While the fiberals have lied about the HST before and after the election and only brought it in AFTER the feds bribed them with the 1.6 billion it makes you wonder WHY the feds gave up so much money to Ontario and BC. Obviously there has to be a silver lining for the feds, although I dont know what it could be, to give up a large amount of tax payers money. Has that been investigated by anyone?

    (Response: I think the Conservatives, like the Liberals, believe the HST is good for business, especially exporters, and were quite prepared to shift more of the tax burden to ordinary consumers. h..o)

  3. Allie P says:

    I cannot believe that patients awaiting ‘elective’ surgeries such as hip replacements and breast cancer reconstructive surgeries are being told that due to the Olympics, surgeries have been cancelled!

    Even worse, Olympic delegates will be allowed to smoke at all events – inside and out! This is absurd. When you visit another country, you respect their laws. Does this mean that a delegate from the middle east will be allowed to stone women in public for showing skin, or having a job?!? I am pulling the NIMBY on this stupid rule! I think that delegates can hold off a smoke until they are in an area deemed smoke friendly.

    I am a Vancouver resident, living right in the heart of Downtown and life has been ultimately disturbed for me. The fact that I can’t get to my doctor during the Olympics due to road/bridge closures is down-right mad.

    I am a supporter of community and sports. Why is it impossible to take care of our community and participate in sports at the same time?

    (Response: I recognize the dangers and the need for adequate security. But seems to me VANOC has been allowed to go far too far …I have never heard of any other Olympic city (in a democracy) being allowed to shut down/disrupt so much of a city for the Games. Not even New York is so disrupted when some of the most controversial world leaders show up for the General Assembly meeting. h.o.)

  4. Keith says:

    Ayup Harvey, Welcome back.

    “And they probably didn’t have VANOC ..which has been allowed by the government to almost run wild with overkill restrictions and bully-like tactics that are needlessly causing MANY MORE people to hate the games.”

    Is it any wonder Vanoc is almost running wild.?

    I’m doing this from memory, but wasn’t John Furlong “preferred” or better still handpicked by Gordo to head up Vanoc instead of Dick Pound ( notable Canadian, member of the International Olympic Committee and head of W.A.D.A the World anti doping agency)

    (Response: I’m not sure how Furlong was picked. I think he is very competent and took on a huge job. But in an extraordinary indulgence aimed at pleasing Vanoc and the I-O-C, our elected and bureaucratic officials at all levels have gone too far in trampling on ordinary citizens rights. h.o.)

  5. Curt says:

    Harv, you said it: “ignorant and arrogrant” – the lieberal government.

    And after the games, and more so on March 2nd, be prepared for cuts like we’ve never seen. More health jobs gone, contracted out, privatized, and like you’ve said, teachers gone, 233 other government employees just announced the other day, gone. There will be many jobs gone, privatized, contracted out. Small businesses closing their doors. The hard working people who make this province, and the lieberals could care less!
    There should be marches in the street as far as I’m concerned.

  6. patrick bell (NOT THE MLA) says:

    Great post Harv.

    For my entire life I was a fan of the Olympics….we bought a brand new colour TV in 1976 for the games in Montreal….I was still in school and I was heavily into track and field..I had a high jump in my back yard as I tried and tried to emulate Greg Joy’s silver medal win while I proudly wore my Canadian red and white striped adidas sweat suit…..I have always been very athletic…..but in recent years I have come to loathe almost everything the Olympics stand for…mainly because it is a huge corporation that exploits amateur athletics….

    Think about that scam….elite athletes in almost every other realm have the opportunity to make it rich playing professional sports…but the IOC has managed to be the only forum at that highest level that uses the athletes to reap it’s rich rewards….and rape the taxpayers money in every jurisdiction it enters…

    back on topic
    It is mind boggling to watch this government’s arrogance….and to think there are still those folk out there that can continue to bring up the boondoggle wastes of money the NDP were responsible for in the 90s…the current group is driving a huge wedge between the haves and have nots in this province like never seen before…

    this debt will go on for years and years

    (Response: What I find most incredible and almost repugnant is to listen to the media chastising the victims of all the government cuts and lying for not being in a mood to celebrate! They clearly have lost contact with those many British Columbians whose lives have been disrupted, who are losing their jobs, lvinig in pain or are otherwise not enjoying the largesse of all the public spending suirrounding the Games. h.o.)

  7. Crankypants says:

    First I would like to congratulate the major TV consortiums in Canada and the US for their fund raising specials aired tonight. When one sees the trials and tribulations the Haitian people are enduring since the earthquake, one has to be moved.

    I think that a good number of the people that were onside when they learned that we got the games just didn’t realize the massive expenditures that taxpayers would eventually have to shoulder and the disruptions to their lives that they would have to endure.

    Vanoc and the security gestapo have not helped the image of the games. Campbell and Co. have abandoned their constituents in favour of the five-ring circus. I also believe that the media has been plugging the olympics for so long that many of us are just tired of the constant bombardment of olympic related stories at the expense of many issues that matter to us in our daily lives.

    And finally, I think that most of us wish our athletes personal bests, but are disillusioned by the business side of the games. They have come to realize that this extravaganza is not about the athletics, but about the corporate financial interests. Once again the greed factor has found a way of ruining something that should be a celebration of athletic prowess.

    The impacts of the next short while will be much more felt by the less advantaged in a negative way while the elites party at their expense. WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?

    (Response: I agree. I do understand the need for high levels of security ..there are evil forces who would love to kill and main, even athletes and specators. But that has nothing to do with removing parking all the way out Granville around 70th…that’s just a pompous use of power to facilitate access by the elite, at the financial sacrifice of the small family run businesses there. Also, if tinmes are tough around the world, maybe the I-O-C execs and memebers should have ORDERED a curb in the wild spending to accommodate and satiate their greedy self-indulgences. Or Vanoc and the provincial government should have required it …pointing out kids schools, education and surgeries for our ill meet the true Olympic spirit more than the need for five start hotel rooms/suites for them all and all the fine dininig,boozing and lavish parties that will go along with it. h.o.)

  8. DanR. says:

    I am looking forward to the Olympic Games, and I believe I reflect the feelings of a majority of British Columbians on the topic.

    I dunno about that. I have yet to see one poll that supports that claim.

    (Response: The last poll I saw, just a few days ago, said the Olympics have the support of 73 per cent of Canadians and 57 per cent of British Columbians. h..o)

  9. Morven says:

    Just how many other important political decisions whiach have nothing to do with 2010, are being sugar coated by the distracted and evidently self serving media ?

    That is the most sobering thing about the provincial liberals approach to 2010 and the supplicant behaviour of many media outlets.

  10. Dan R says:

    I believe I reflect the feelings of a majority of British Columbians on the topic.

    Yet not one poll backs up that statement.

    (Response: Sorry you’re wrong according to rhe latest poll. read about it:

    Not wildly enthusiastic support …but more support the Games than do not. h..o)

  11. Lynn2 says:

    I believe the polls may be more positive if Gordon Campbell kept his ” face ” out of all media regarding the olympics.

    (Response: Lots of luck! h.o.)

  12. LM says:

    I agree with a lot of the hub-ub about what the Olympics are causing, with what we hear about things costing more than were planned , the lies to us, the over-bullying of VANOC and the IOC, the lavish parties for the elite, the over charging of everything whether directly related to the Olympics or not, etc etc etc.
    What drives me nuts is when you, and others, start blaming the Olympics, and other sporting, cultural, social and what-not events , for costs when we still have issues of cuts in school and community programs, teacher layoffs, medical shortfalls, etc etc. These things will happen anyway, and always will!!! Even if we (or other cities) do not support any type of events, and we all become a “no fun” WORLD, the homelessness, the medical and school issues, etc . will STILL BE THERE!!! Stop saying this money could’ve gone to that cause or that issue. All these issues will still be there, and others will also arise, even if every city and country in the world were to put a halt to all olympic games, or any other sporting , cultural and social events. It’s unfortunate, but true!!
    Also, What do you mean we never heard of disparity in other games?? There sure as heck was. Surely in the industry you were in Harvey, you did hear most of it. Others may not have; if not, then the media didnt do their jobs again . But you can’t tell us that there was no overspending, or “divisions in society”, or any of the other negative reports we hear that are happening in Vancouver, BC, and/or Canada , in any of the other host cities and countries of the world that happened to host any of the other olympics, or other events.
    Vancouver, Canada is now to take their turn to host this world event. Each city/country who participates in these games should take their turn in hosting. It just so happens this is our time. This is a once in a life time event for the locals here. There WILL be disruptions, and costs (how could there not be?); but, I agree, many shouldn’t be a drastic as they are. So, yes , lets lash out at our politicians, VANOC, IOC, and many of the local business (and hoteliers!) here, for some of this outlandishness. But , stop trying to use all the other issues we have, as excuses and scapegoats, for why we should not be taking our turn to host the world on this occasion.

    (Response: I am not blaming the Olympics themsleves…as I said I am looking forward to the Games. I am not one of those no-fun-ever types. What I was trying to explain is WHY so many British Columbians are confounding the pollsters and the pundits by being less thsn ecstatic about the games. The government has mishandled the issue. They could have trimmed some Olympic spending to assist spending in other areas, reflecting the currenty economic reality. Instead I believe they made a mistake in cutting in som any other areas, but leaving Olympic excesses totally untouched. They also could have been truthful about the deficit and the HST. All these things have hurt the public’s view of the Olympics .. like it or not. h.o.)

  13. unbelievable says:

    “Or just ignorant and arrogrant?”

    You answered your own question.

    Vancouver games? Cool…that means the rest of BC doesn’t have to pay for this egomaniacal waste of money. Until the athletes themselves start standing up and saying something about the debacle the olympics in general have become, nothing will change. If they ever do, the games might be worth watching and supporting.

    Yes, I am one of the people who don’t support this party in any way, shape or form. I used to years ago, to the point of tears when Canada won ANY medal never mind a gold. Now, I’m praying for rain – and lots of it.

  14. DMJ says:

    My wifes employer has decided to close business for the 2 weeks of the Olympics because clients are canceling appointments on mass due to parking and driving issues.

    This means 2 weeks of wages will be forfeit.

    Well for Campbell and all those other pigs at the taxpayer’s trough, this means nothing at all, but for our family it means the summer vacation has been canceled; it means swimming lessons have been put off; it means that many other things must be put off or canceled for 2010.

    Our family is not an isolated story, but the 2010 hardship will affect many families struggling after the financial meltdown from last year.

    When the media pundits (Bill Boring are you listening?) nay-say those who are not glad handing the event, my distaste for the mainstream media increases and I now wonder out loud, have the mainstream media been bought and sold like chopped beef.

    (Response: I believe the parking restrictions or outright removal of parking so far away from the sites are overkill. And I don’t buy the excuse it’s to make sure the athletes get to their events: it’s really just to give PRIVILEGES to the VIPS, and to hell with the hundreds of shopkeepers trying to survvive in tough economic times. The arrogance of Cambie Street lives on. I can’t imagine any shoppers even trying to brave not only the downtown peninsula, but Granville Street south, Broadway etc … well away from the sites. I, and I’m sure thousands upon thousands more, won’t be shopping anywhere where parking restrictions have been wildly imposed, unless they have their own parking lot. But Vanoc is in control: no one in power cared about the shopkeepers to protect their access: not the “pro-business” provincial government and not the “people’s” people at City Hall. h.o.)

  15. Lynn says:

    Wow! Great comments everybody. Harv, glad you are back. I missed you!
    As I have said before, the Oly games are a fork night party for the elite. Corporate branding sessions.
    I didn’t want the games as we simply can’t afford them, but shall put up with it.
    Gold medal effort to El Gordo. He makes a terrific dicktator.

    (Response: Thanks. Glad to be back and really happy to provide a well-watched forum for comments .. even those who disagree with me (although how they just can’t see things my way, I can’t figure out! 🙂 h.o.

  16. sunshine coast girl says:

    I used to be an Olympics supporter, but the only thing I want to see about these games is the back of them when everyone is leaving. Never in the history of this province have so many given up so much for so little. And all courtesy of the BC Lieberals and Vanoc. For shame.
    Oh, and Brian (Jan. 22), I believe the reason that the Feds are so supportive of BC’s HST is because in addition to the GST charged on practically everything that can be bought or sold, they will now also be getting 1% of BC’s PST (after the whole thing is rolled into one) for ever and ever and ever! That will quickly add up to a whole lot more than 1.6 billion.

  17. Hannah says:

    Had BC, been able to get rid of Campbell and Hansen, when they had been caught lying. I think attitudes may have been different. I can’t imagine anyone else, being as asinine as Campbell and Hansen, to run this Province into ruin. BC’s assets, have been sold off, by Campbell. BC, has nothing left, to recover with. Those assets, belonged to the people of BC, not to Campbell, he had no right to steal them from the citizens, and sell them. Campbell’s assets, should be frozen, to pay back his thefts. He should be in prison for, grand larceny, or has he made extortion legal. The HST, is extortion, how do citizens with no jobs and losing their homes pay? With what? There were 300, more mill workers laid off last week. Campbell is selling our mills to China, so, those jobs will never be back. Eight hundred more teachers, will be laid off, because of budget cuts. Hospitals, so severely cut back, a lady had her bed in the shower room, and one entire floor was shut down, and thousands of health workers, also laid off. Well, BC, is terminally ill, so, someone needs to get the crash cart, to save BC’s life from Campbell

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