Troubling Vancouver Olympics

The Olympic games are disruptive to civil rights wherever they are held. This is proving true again in Vancouver.

The Olympic games are disruptive to civil rights wherever they are held. This is proving true again in Vancouver.


The Vancouver Winter Olympics are two weeks away. And all is not going well. In fact, much is going badly north of the border and could get worse. Huge budget overruns, no snow, warm weather, and much anger. Yes anger.

We've been posting links in the right-hand column and will continue to do so. Dave Zirin's column is the latest and the tale he tells, based on his first hand experience up there, can be relied upon. Zirin is a respected sports columnist. For the first time in Olympic history, we can expect to see street demonstrations. The Canadians seem to be trying to get the street people out of sight - shades of Rio.

The International Olympic Committee is a corporation that is focused on huge profits and total control of all its PR. The IOC brings tremendous pressure on governments to grant police-state powers to host cities and requires those host cities to implement human-rights-violating enforcement of their policies. For instance, during the games this month, Vancouver police can break into homes to remove anti-Olympic signs and protest materials. The British Columbia government passed special laws for this.

Other issues are: banning women ski jumpers, the bankruptcy of the Whistler Resort, the high prices for tickets, and the concerns about traffic congestion - especially along the Squamish highway.

Self inflicted problems are only half the story. The weather may just stay warm and dry for the whole month of February - or maybe warm and rainy. El Nino in the south Pacific Ocean causes late winter warming in our area and that is what is happening. They are trying to make snow, but they need at least freezing temperatures at night in order to do that.

Of course, the mainstream media and our own McClatchy-owned daily newspaper are brought into the process. The Herald has not told us much about the problems up north and probably will not unless they become too large to ignore. Instead, they are running puff pieces about how great everything is.

We in Bellingham and Whatcom County are all wondering what impact - if any - we will feel. Here at NwCitizen we will be watching to see if local, state and federal security authorities start any oppressive programs in cooperation with the Canadians. If any readers learn of local actions, please let me know at

We citizen journalists need to step into any news vacuum being left by the daily newspaper. In one respect, we do not blame them as they are struggling with a new harsh economic reality. In another respect, we can criticize them for continuing to pretend they are covering all the news. Regardless, the Bellingham Herald is not covering all the news - nor even all the important news.

At NwCitizen, my intent is to continue developing this site for citizen discussion of public issues. We are now able to invite guest columnists and, within a few days, to accept Letters to the Editor. Guest articles and letters will both be subject to comments so we as a community can intelligently seek the truth about issues that impact our lives. And, in the right column, I'll continue to post links to reports from Vancouver.

I recommend you read Dave Zirin's column. It is the last link under '2010 Winter Olympics'. 

About John Servais

Citizen Journalist and Editor • Fairhaven, Washington USA • Member since Feb 26, 2008

John started Northwest Citizen in 1995 to inform fellow citizens of serious local political issues that the Bellingham Herald was ignoring. With the help of donors from the beginning, he has [...]

Comments by Readers

David Camp

Feb 04, 2010

My observations, as someone who is in Vancouver at least one day a week, is that there has been considerable increased police activity on both sides of the border, and that in Vancouver proper, there are police from all over Canada providing increased security for the Games. I made a point of talking with a a handful of them Tuesday - randomly, I talked with officers from Montreal, Toronto, and Saskatchewan. The only US change is the annoying practice by US Customs of inspecting cars LEAVING the US headed North.

I think that there is a significant minority in the lower mainland (Vancouver area) who are actively against the Games, particularly those whose businesses have suffered with all the construction and blockages. That said, the whole town is buzzing with activity and extra people, and all the retail businesses are stocked to the hilt in anticipation of tourist dollars.

I hope it goes well - I plan on spending a couple of days in WHistler. It could really be a great party!

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