Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/612/8856

From The Socialist newspaper, 17 February 2010

Winter Olympics: Shortage of snow but no shortage of debts?

THE 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics have started in the Vancouver-Whistler area of Canada. Many Canadians are looking forward to the sports and hoping for gold, especially in ice-hockey. However there are growing concerns about the costs and problems the Olympics will cause.

Socialist Alternative (CWI in Canada) reporter, Vancouver

The Montreal Olympics, in 1976, give a stark reminder of the huge expense involved. Before those games, Montreal's mayor, Jean Drapeau, said that "the Olympics can no more have a deficit than a man can have a baby". But the games cost the city $1 billion and the debt for the games was only paid off in 2006 - 30 years later!

People in Vancouver were assured the games would not result in a huge debt burden, but that now looks less likely. The City of Vancouver carried out major cuts to services this year, while spending an unknown sum on the Olympics though it is certainly several tens of millions of Canadian dollars.

The province of British Columbia (BC) has also fired workers, cut funding for schools and libraries, and art funding has almost been abolished, with cuts of over 90%. Canada's federal government is also cutting services while pouring money into the Olympics.

Rising costs

When Vancouver was awarded the games, the cost of security was estimated at $175 million, now it is $900 million, a five-fold increase. 25,000 people are involved with this security. Worryingly, the police put terrorists, protesters and homeless people in the same sentence when talking about the issues they may have to deal with. We could see aggressive police behaviour during these games. Already they have planted undercover agents among protesters.

There has been some construction but one of the biggest costs was upgrading the one road connecting Whistler to Vancouver beside towering mountains. A railway line runs along this route but the province decided to spend at least $600 million and damaged key environmental areas, to widen the highway.

The construction involved blasting granite mountainsides. The railway line has had no investment and is still only used for freight - what a missed opportunity!

Around Vancouver, roads are closed, transport is disrupted, stores face inconvenience, and people are warned to expect long delays waiting for buses as Olympic traffic takes priority.

This winter's weather has been mild and there is so little snow on the nearby mountains for some competitions that the Olympic organisers used trucks and helicopters to bring in snow for the games!

The organisers go to great lengths to protect the commercial interest of the sponsors. The City of Vancouver has introduced a by-law, claiming it is to protect Olympic sponsors, that bans 'illegal signage'. It allows the authorities to remove posters from people's homes, and restricts the right to hand out protest leaflets.

Environmental damage

As resentment at the inconvenience and cost of the Olympics grows, the City of Vancouver gave its staff a120-page glossy handbook, with 'guidance' on how to behave during the Olympics. It had such gems of advice as workers should wear socks that match the colour of their trousers, should always smile gently, and must not put their hands in their pockets or cross their arms.

But, at the same time, some city staff are losing their jobs and all Vancouver will have reduced services, as the city's employees are busy on Olympic duties.

The games will see some great athletic achievements. Canada may win some gold medals and there will be some good parties. But will it have been worth all the money, environmental damage and inconvenience?

No doubt, when the Olympics are over, the people of Vancouver, BC and Canada will have huge bills to pay. There will be some new sports facilities and a new highway. But the same amount of money could have been spent improving sporting facilities and developing the economy and environment in a planned and integrated way.

After it is all over, Vancouver will still have a big homeless problem and the environment will have taken a hit. London: get ready for 2012!

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 17 February 2010:

Fight council cuts!


Socialist Party campaigns

Nominate Roger Bannister: Council workers need a fighting union

Notts Tories attack the vulnerable


Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

TUSC to fight cuts in Spelthorne

New TUSC sponsors


Socialist Party news and analysis

New health inequality report reveals widening class divide

Ministers and MI5 colluded in the cover-up of torture

BNP's phoney changes

Fast news


Workplace analysis

The construction industry blacklist: Paltry punishment for attacks on workers

Oppose university cuts - defend jobs


Socialist Students

Sussex student union elections: Support for socialist campaigners

Student places crisis


Youth fight for jobs

Youth Fight for Jobs: Leeds march for jobs and education


Socialist Party feature

Wales: New challenges for socialists

Celebrate May Day this year with The Socialist


International socialist news and analysis

Greece: Massive public sector workers' strike against savage austerity plans

Capitalist crisis threatens the eurozone project

Winter Olympics: Shortage of snow but no shortage of debts?

Protests as Canada's Tories suspend parliament


 

Facebook   Twitter



Home   |   The Socialist 17 February 2010   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Bookshop






Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter



Related links:

Olympics:

triangleBrighton solidarity with LGBTQ+ Russians

triangleSochi winter Olympics - -breaking all records!

triangleLondon Olympics legacy - one year on

triangleThe Olympics: Sport for all, or just for the elite?

Canada:

triangleCanada: first national meeting

triangleThem & Us

triangleQuebec: Students engage in 'indefinite' general strike action

Construction:

triangleAnti-blacklisting leader arrested at Hilton protest

triangleAnti-Blacklisting activist arrested on Crossrail protest

Debt:

triangle9,000 tuition fees legacy - debt and slave labour

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

2/7/15

NUT

NUT executive report from Martin Powell-Davies

2/7/15

NSSN

Striking Greek worker speaking at Saturday's NSSN event

1/7/15

Anti-union laws

How to fight the anti-union laws

1/7/15

Youth

Block Osborne's Billionaire Budget

1/7/15

Students

9,000 tuition fees legacy - debt and slave labour

1/7/15

Disabled

Victory against disabled transport cuts in Derby

1/7/15

Bromley

Escalate strikes to fight council's 90% sell-off

1/7/15

Union

Workplace news in brief

1/7/15

RMT

Union plans transport shutdowns

1/7/15

LGBT

Pride: we need politics, not just a parade

1/7/15

Scotland

Scotland ferry 'lifeline' sell-off strike

1/7/15

Unite

Britain's biggest union to discuss leaving Labour

1/7/15

TUSC

North west TUSC conference report

30/6/15

RMT

Overwhelming RMT London Tube votes for action

29/6/15

Lancashire

Fracking defeated today in Lancashire!

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

triangle1 Jul How to fight the anti-union laws

triangle1 Jul Union plans transport shutdowns

triangle1 Jul Pride: we need politics, not just a parade

triangle1 Jul Terrorist attacks: working class people pay the price

triangle30 Jun Solidarity with Greek workers! Reject EU austerity

triangle24 Jun Youth Fight Austerity!

triangle24 Jun Protests against fracking: Stop drill permits!

More ...

triangle4 Jul NSSN 9th annual conference Fight austerity! Fight anti-union laws!


triangle5 Jul Socialist Party LGBT meeting

triangle6 Jul Leeds Socialist Party: Greece: Troika austerity or Grexit

triangle7 Jul Wakefield Socialist Party: NSSN - building the fightback in the trade unions

More ...

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Find us on Facebook

Archive

Categories

1-9 

1-9 


Archives:

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice