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there are no civilians in the olympic village

by Archives February 3, 2009

BURNABY (CUP) – Extraordinary circumstances surrounding the construction of the 2010 Olympic Village has led the City of Vancouver to beg for $458 million from the provincial government.
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson will graciously grovel to B.C.’s beloved premier, Gordon Campbell, to amend the Vancouver Charter. The suspension of this charter will open up the doors for the city to get its hands on $458 million of B.C. tax dollars.
Under normal circumstances, the city borrows large amounts of money only after seeking approval from taxpayers in an election-day plebiscite. This process is governed by the city charter, which is a provincially enacted piece of legislation that outlines how the city governs itself.
The City of Vancouver ran into troubles when a New York-based hedge fund, Fortress Investment Group, the funders of the Olympic Village development, got themselves into some serious financial problems in September when it hit the fan for Wall Street.
The only thing extraordinary about this situation is the incompetence of the Olympic organizers and their slick move to have half-a-billion taxpayer dollars handed straight to their coffers without representation.
Quebec offers a prime example of being swindled out of vast sums of tax payer money. For the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, they decided to build a stadium. Initially, it was projected to cost a bargain price of $134 million.
Well, things didn’t really turn out as planned, and the cost of the stadium was finally paid off in 2006 – 30 years later, at a cost of $1.6 billion. If any lesson is to be taken from Quebec’s experience, it is this: Don’t accept the Olympics unless you are eager to lose vast sums of money.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion on the 2010 Olympics, which is exactly why we should be able to get our say on whether another half-billion dollars is a wise investment for the province.
In a time of great economic uncertainty and instability, handing $458 million to Olympic development is the wisest plan of action.That money could be invested in much more important things: healthcare, infrastructure, and homelessness.
This should not be dealt with through deception and closed doors. British Columbians should get their say through a vote, because extraordinary circumstances require real civic action.

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