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Vancouver 2010: Free Box Seat … PLEASE!

October 22nd, 2009 · 19 Comments

It has been three years now since I retired, and I have no updated list of fart-catchers (oops, I mean public relations spokespeople) for the government or public agencies, so I hope my regular blog readers will allow me to use this forum to try to get a free private box seat to the Vancouver 2010 Gold Medal Hockey Game.

The government and its agencies have spent $2.4 MILLION of taxpayers’ money  (where’s Michael Campbell on this one!) for Olympic Games seats and private luxury suite boxes to entertain its important customers.

That’s where I fit in!

I have been a loyal, dedicated provincial taxpayer for almost 40 years, contributing far more generously than I should have, thanks to having an honest, damned accountant.

Too bad I didn’t get one of those sleazy ones,who turns an eye to knowingly illegitimate deductions, dinner receipts and even vacation travels posing as business trips. Then I could have rubbed shoulders with that better crowd at the trough, who wallow in publicly-paid partying and rewarding themselves,  their relatives, friends and supporters with things like free Olympic seats and invites to watch the Games from luxury private boxes.

I have  also been a dedicated BC Hydro customer … going back to 1971, when I moved to B.C.  And a great customer too!  I used to leave all my lights on in the house, a radio and a couple of tvs blaring … generating great EXTRA revenues for BC Hydro.  Surely that makes me deserving of something!

And as for ICBC, I just paid them more than $1,300 for car insurance last Saturday … and not just for basic coverage, but optional coverage as well. And I’m a RoadStar client too!! Where’s my box invite?

I’ve also ridden BC Ferries many times … and not just between the mainland and Vancouver Island, but three trips as well on the northern route to Prince Rupert … including once with a vehicle: that price alone should have included free Olympic tickets as part of the package.

BC Lotteries ..well, where do I begin! I have “donated” enough dough to have sufficient worthless pieces of paper to wallpaper my entire den … and heading towards a living room sized contribution. Doesn’t that deserve something more than just “Sorry .. Not a Winner”, which I  find personally quite judgemental!

The province has spent $900,000 for 3,000 tickets/boxes for the Games; the government’s private agencies have also scooped up thousands of tickets, bringing the total public bill for this largess to $2.4 million … and no doubt, there’s more we still haven’t heard about.

And don’t forget … the wining and dining entertainment that will precede and go inside those boxes will probably bring the total PUBLIC cost to about $3 Million.

It was almost hilarious to hear Premier Gordon Campbell on the Bill Good Show Thursday defending such spending … saying it is needed to encourage major new investment in BC by companies like Coca Cola.  I’m not kidding …he said that.

Is there some sort of Coca Cola product shortage looming in BC? Should I stock up? Do we need more Coke plants?  Are they thinking of building more … and inviting them to our private box could swing the deal?

Of course not. And being an Official Olympic sponsor, Coca Cola probably has its own private luxury box. Maybe they could invite the Premier?  Or me?

Or, if the Premier really wants to impress and attract appreciation, maybe he should invite top PEPSI executives to our now-bought-and-paid-for public private box. And then serve them bootlegged Pepsi … since only Coke is legally allowed to be sold/served on site. That could REALLY pay off … not only with a new Pepsi plant, but even the Premier’s own Pepsi ad on television!

The premier also defended Hydro’s generous Olympic ticket/box  spending … suggesting ing they would be used to help seal deals with major corporate power buyers. If so, those buyers should be fired by their shareholders.  Surely, major industrial Hydro power purchase deals are sealed through tough, long-term negotiations  that yield the best prices … not because of free seats to Games.  (Hope the premier isn’t confusing private business practices with the public decison making process?)

Of course my fear is MOST of these seats and luxury box invites will go to elected and appointed government and public agency officials themselves, their friends and families, their lawyers, accountants, stockbrokers and campaign managers, fundraisers … and all their families and friends too.

There are always public seat purchases at major events like this … but to spend $3 MILLION when the Premier says THE CUPBOARD IS BARE (have we already forgotten that?)   is clearly excessive.  Even if they toss a few tickets to public or community or poverty groups just to draw attention away from the major waste and self indulgence taking place out of sight behind all those security lines.

To do so,  especially in light of all the school program funding cutbacks, lack of money for even repairs, slashing of kids programs, community and arts group funding and even health and hospital program cuts .. is particularly galling and indefensible.

Unless, of course, I am invited to enjoy the Gold Medal Hockey Game ….  in the Special Bloggers’ Box. 🙂

Harv Oberfeld

Tags: British Columbia

19 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Steve // Oct 22, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    Is anyone surprised by this? The cupboard is bare, except when it comes to them. We used to shake our heads in disbelief when dictators in third world countries maintained their lavish lifestyle at the expense of everyone else. Now it is happening to us. Maybe a few more people should bother to get out and vote next time.

    (Response; What surprises me (NOT!!) is that no one in the media seems to have connected the dots: they reported the Olympic seat largesse but I saw/read NO ONE asking how they could this with the cupboard so bare. Maybe good question when the Premier returns? h.o. )

  • 2 Norman Farrell // Oct 22, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    Michael Campbell? He’s in that seat over there, on the far right.

    (Response: Oh, yes… I see him … way over there on the far right. That’s why his view is clearly impaired. h.o. )

  • 3 Norman Farrell // Oct 22, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    Municipal governments are pouring out the money too, some of it to fill venues for less desired events. It is strange that many taxpayers are unable to buy tickets to major events for themselves directly but are buying tickets to those events for VIPs indirectly with tax or consumer dollars.

    http://northerninsights.blogspot.com/2009/09/papering-house.html

  • 4 Leah // Oct 22, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    Wow…so now he’s trying to lure Coca-Cola to set up here in BC? Wonder which water source they plan on devastating here?

    What the hell, he’s already made Mr. Gates a happy man with his “sale” of BC Rail to CN…now he’ll have another feather in his cap – making Warren Buffett even wealthier than he already is!

    Amazing how this “person” has managed to make the world’s two wealthiest men even wealthier – at our expense.

  • 5 Kam L // Oct 22, 2009 at 10:40 pm

    He is a scam artist. A lier, a drunk, and worse. It shows his contept for the average person in BC. Gordo has no morals, and loves sucking off the public as well as the private teet. he and his henchmen are goons and are out to sell off BC to anyone … (edited..h.o.)

  • 6 RossK // Oct 23, 2009 at 3:05 am

    Based on a 50:50 private/public non-profit partnership that is about par for the course…
    Meanwhile, if you are a small non-profit organization that delivers much needed help to, say 3 or 4 hundred families a year on a $60K per year budget that used to be funded through provincial lotteries and MCFD money (ie. $30K total; $15K taxpayers money which equals what, a half-a-dozen tickets to Harvey’s big game?) you can just go to hell, right?

    Right.

  • 7 Brian // Oct 23, 2009 at 5:19 am

    I watched on the legislature’s question period on their web site and laughed my A$$ off when they minister for the olympics, whatever her name is, (it’s Mary McNeil ..anyone ever heard of her? h.o.) squirmed and gave the governement line on how much did the government spend on tickets to the olympics. After 15 or so minutes, she finally gave the figure, $900 k for the 3000 tickets.

    While this revelation is nothing short of outrageous, what is even more outrageous is how the voters continue to BUY into the LIES and BS that the fiberals are continuing to tell. When are they going to wake up? when are they going to get outraged? When are they going to have a massive protest on how this government spends OUR money and how they prioritize spending >>>> wasteful spending!

  • 8 Brian // Oct 23, 2009 at 5:37 am

    here is a link from the public eye, questioning the minister for the olympics….LOL entitled “Ticket to hide”. The video and the responses are hilarious!

    http://www.publiceyeonline.com/

  • 9 AJ // Oct 23, 2009 at 5:44 am

    Hey Harvey, I hope you get those tickets! Great blog.

    (Response: Actually I hope I DON’T get them! I wouldn’t know what to do if an offer came through! My blog readers might never forgive me. Although Caffeine-free Diet Coca Cola IS my preferred beverage! LOL!! h.o.)

  • 10 Robert // Oct 23, 2009 at 6:46 am

    Maybe its all a bad dream nope a nightmare. But those who said that there will be riots on the streets of Ladysmith so we have to guard the flame. Its halloween night. The Duncan first nations need a talking to so they won’t protest. Why I’ll be out of town . Avoiding all the hub bub.

  • 11 Crankypants // Oct 23, 2009 at 7:32 am

    Once again the little guy gets the short end of the stick. When Vanoc rolled out their ticket marketing plan they assured us that 70% of the tickets would be made available to the general public. Well tonight they were forced to come clean. Only about 30% of the tickets are being made available to the high profile events.

    If any person still believes that the olympics have become nothing more than a party for the elite paid for by the great unwashed, then they should be booking their accommodations at their nearest psychiatric facility ASAP, if we still have any left that are operational.

    I have always enjoyed watching both the summer and winter olympics on the telly in the past. Now we have an event in our own back yard and I will probably not watch any of it. What should be a celebration of sporting accomplishments has become nothing more than a greedfest led by the IOC and championed by our politicians and their sycophants. Although I wish our Canadian athletes well in their endeavors, I cannot condone the business side of the olympics and must boycott the forthcoming five-ring circus.

  • 12 DMJ // Oct 23, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    Anyone would like to take on a bet if that if Canada (baring blizzards, monsoon rains, landslides, etc.) is in the gold medal round, that Micheal C. will be a guest of Gordon C. sitting in the best seats in the house, paid for (which is a sure bet) by the taxpayer.

    (Response: Won’t that be a hoot …Michael Campbell on one side of the Premier at the Gold Medal Hockey Game …and me on the other, because I’m sure Gordon has me on his short list. I only worry for what! h.o.)

  • 13 Ruaridh // Oct 23, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    The looming Olympic budget deficit might have a short shelf life if Canada wins a few gold medals. But the odious and underhanded method of provincial political chicanery with regard to the Olympic tickets is likely long lasting.

    The ticket the liberals will run on in the next provincial election will not be a policy “ticket” but the bad odour of the 2o1o event ticket purchases.

  • 14 Lynn // Oct 23, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    Maybe you should un-retire get a job at the PAB just to get the tickets! LMAO!!!
    I think one thing is for sure, in four years Carole James will step down and El Gordo will be forced to retire to Hawaii with his relay torch.
    The Olympics will be his Liberals answer to a very expensive cat ferry.

    (Response: Actually, you may be on to something here. Maybe I should repent, weasel a job at the PAB … and then, after throwing up in the toilet at the end of each day for three months, make clear I am NOT “a team player” by saying something in public contrary to the official policy … get fired ..and walk away with a “confidentiality agreement” and $500,000 severance settlement! The only problem: could I put up with it all for even three months! h.o.)

  • 15 Move along nothing to see here // Oct 23, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    HO,
    I wouldn’t be surprised to see Good & Palmer sitting next to Our Great Leader at the gold medal game as reward for non- existent reporting of his deeds over the last 8 years.

  • 16 chuck // Oct 23, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    Oh there’s more folks—dont forget that hydro has a luxury suite too,,,less we forget about the looting of lotteries for money for Vanoc…..Hydro will have to up the rates to pay for those executives sitting in the 1/4 of a million dollar hockey luxury suites and the popping of the corks of the $100 bottle of wine.

    (Response: Raising private Hydro rates to pay for public partying: now that’s REAL power! h.o.)

  • 17 A Dave // Oct 24, 2009 at 6:14 pm

    I wonder how much those new B.C. Lottery ads on TV cost to produce with the CGI of castles on a private island etc? 1 million or so? How much did the airtime cost — the ads are everywhere? I guess the ad budget didn’t get cut… How many charities would that money have funded this year? Ie. the Liberals revoked funding for a group that counsels and supports families who have deformed infants and has been serving society for 30 years! Wow, heartless bastards!

    Ruaridh makes an interesting point: if the men’s hockey team wins the gold, the MSM and majority of Canadians will consider the Games a smashing success, and Gordo will get a teflon retrofit. Naysayers will be called cranks and unpatriotic. On the other hand, if they lose, EVERYONE will be in a foul mood and start pointing fingers, and they’ll probably all end up pointing at the slimy little guy in glasses who misspent everyone’s money and bankrupted our future.

    It seems a lot more than a gold medal may be riding on the hockey tourney for King Gordo, the Terrible and Cruel Master of Corporate Toadies….

  • 18 Ruaridh // Oct 24, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    The question that is as yet unanswered is where are the set piece criteria to assess how the individual MLA’s (presumably Liberals) hand out the tickets to their constituents, or others.

    It has the uneasy potential to be similar to the UK invitation to the Queen’s garden party – a recognition that you are indeed part of, or have been co-opted by the establishment.

    At least the liberals should publish a list after the event of who were the recipients of the tickets. Transparency is a good public policy objective, after all.

    (Response: What an interesting list that would be! I think they’ll probably make a big deal out of those they give away to charity or community types ..but say nothing about MOST of them that will probably go to friends, relatives and supporters. h.o.)

  • 19 Richard // Oct 31, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    I wonder how many surgeries were canceled to pay for the tickets and all the other goodies Campbell is going to hand out to his Owelympic buddies?

    (Response: Good question: I wish someone would tally the cost of all the cuts in programs and services..and contrast it with the cost …not of the actual games … but the publicly paid for partying and largesse for the elite surrouinding them surrounding … including media sellouts taking paert in the relay or sopping up the free booze and food and souvenirs at events. h.o)