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November 30, 2009

The Vancouver Olympics is a triumph of human civilization

Listen up, Canada Customs: The Vancouver Olympics will be the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful international sporting event I've ever seen. Is that clear?

I don't want to end up like U.S. journalist Amy Goodman, who was detained at the Canadian border by guards who were concerned that the host of the popular radio show Democracy Now! would speak out against the 2010 Olympics to be held in Vancouver, British Columbia. (via Melissa Lebo in Vancouver.)

For more international news, check out the latest edition of Morning Coffee.


Has Canada gone nuts?

This is after it became known that the Canadian Olympics guys were denying the US and other teams the type of access to the sites for training that we gave them in the Lake Placid and Salt Lake City Olympics.

Maybe Canada wants to be the new East Germany.

The Olympics causes insanity. If anyone suggests that your city should host the Olympics, resist! (That's what a friend of mine said, anyway. I am a huge Olympics booster, Canada Customs. I'm going home for Christmas and I don't want any trouble.)

Yeah, because when you throw a world stage event that is, by it's very design, accessible to a handful of rich industrialized countries, equity is a primary concern.

Not just anyone from rich industrialized countries, mind you. Especially not everyone from the rich industrialized city that's hosting the games. Some of them have to be shipped out of town to keep up appearances.

We're sorry, ma'am, but we'll need you to sign this affidavit stating that Celine Dion is awesome and Molson is the best beer ever.

Canada is the devil :)

So glad that New Yorkers blew off our chance to host the summer Olympics. Who needs that noise. Keep walkin' IOC.

I'm actually sad Rio got 2016 - the social abuses there make Chicago look like Stockholm.

Phantom >Has Canada gone nuts?

Lindsey >The Olympics causes insanity.

The level of waste and graft here is unreal. Along with the usual huge infrastructure projects slipped in as olympics related, such as very nice $2B skytrain line to the airport that could have paid for 10x as much more useful transit, and a dedicated speed skating oval (wtf? what will we do with it afterwards?), the real keeper is the "olympic village".

Ostensibly housing for the athletes, hundreds of million $ condos have been built looming over a public waterway. The city signed a "completion guarantee" backing the project fully (!!!) Loe and behold, the whole thing fell apart and the city had to take responsibility for some $800m in debt - the city's financial officer resigned over the fiasco. Amazingly, though this was done under a corrupt right-leaning council, the left-leaning council that took over from them signed off on the whole thing! But hey, real estate is *always* a good investment, right? Nevermind that its illegal for cities here to go into debt that way - the *right* wing provincial government passed a special law to allow the *left* wing council to bail out their wealthy developer friends! Left or right wing labels seem to matter less than which social circle you belong to.

It's like the olympics is some kind of roving scam, evolving to get ever larger takes from each city, feeding on their insecurities and pride.

> the city's financial officer resigned over the fiasco.

Just to clarify, to her credit she resigned *in protest* over bailing the developer out.

Uh oh

Montreal took forever to recover from the losses from their Olympics. And had the ugliest and most impractical stadium in N America as its legacy.

I hope that Vancouver makes out better.

I honestly don't know why any city would want an Olympics.

Phantom, the people running the cities don't pay for the cost overruns out of pocket. They lose nothing from the mayhem the Olympics cause, while gaining a lot of kudos for increasing the city's prestige.

all I am saying, I hope they build better stadium roof than the one in Montreal. Rush job will cost money

Montreal olympic stadium roof.

Nah, the stadium roof can't be replaced until after the Olympics because there isn't enough time. The proposed new roof will cost over $350 million Cdn (the original est. was $150 million). Meanwhile, the budget for the Ministry of Healthy Living and Sport was cut in half for austerity measures due to the recession. That's also led to things like a complete elimination of the $130,000 operating grant (~30% of the operating budget) for BC School Sports, which is responsible for supporting extra-curricular sporting activities (such as inter-school competitions) in 425 schools across the province. But the stadium will get a new $350 million roof.
So will guys with priorities this messed up get turfed? Maybe not. The loyal opposition just elected as its president a man implicated in a number of scandals from when they were in power.


The Olympics were a financial disaster for Montreal, as the city faced debts for 30 years after the Games had finished. The Quebec provincial government took over construction when it became evident in 1975 that work had fallen far behind schedule; work was still under way just weeks before the opening date, and the tower was not built. Mayor Jean Drapeau had confidently predicted in 1970 that "the Olympics can no more have a deficit than a man can have a baby", but the debt racked up to a billion dollars that the Quebec government mandated the city pay in full.

The Olympic Stadium, a daring design of French architect Roger Taillibert, remains a lasting monument to the huge deficit and as such is known as the Big Owe; it never had an effective retractable roof, and the tower was completed only after the Olympics. In December 2006 the stadium's costs were finally paid in full.[5] The total expenditure (including repairs, renovations, construction, interest, and inflation) amounted to C$1.61 billion. Today, despite its huge cost, the stadium is devoid of a major tenant, after the Montreal Expos moved in 2005.

From Wiki

Montreal, one of the interesting cities of N America was stuck with huge debts and a lifeless concrete slab of a stadium.

Yep. And the people who paid this debt are the city taxpayers, not the politicians.

>So will guys with priorities this messed up get turfed? Maybe not. The loyal opposition just elected as its president a man implicated in a number of scandals from when they were in power...

Good ol Moe. Fun to watch, effective in opposition, but not so good in government.

Canada's current crop of parties, at almost all levels and across the spectrum, is fractured, visionless, and above all *stuck*. Bad leaders, old ideas, old messaging, tired and boring. The conservatives have Harper - a sort of right wing political chess-club nerd - but that's it. It's sad. Probably caused by a simple lack of people joining political parties for a couple of decades, they're all scraping bottom now. But this is why I follow US politics. At least its circus is entertainingly crazy.

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