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Podium Politics and the Olympics
On yet another level, while all this Olympic tension and chaos simmers, BC drug lords will muscle in on Vancouver territories newly opened due to recent hits and arrests, and ramp it up with a vengeance after the Games are over and when BC has no money or incentive to continue the fight. If we can't keep homeless shelters open past April because of lack of funding, we certainly won't have the money to continue to fight the $7 billion a year BC drug industry when the Olympic spotlight is turned off.
Most people think all this protest stuff erupts spontaneously, but it doesn't. It's all well choreographed well in advance by both sides including activists and politicians. And the closer we get to the actual sporting events, the more radically and exponentially things change.
BC Premiere Gordon Campbell and Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson will soon start to disassociate themselves from the Games, at least in the public spectre, and will only show up at protected events where protestors and unaccredited news media will NOT be allowed access. Our politicians, worried about citizen journalists, and just like VANOC's CEO John Furlong recently did, might even resort to issuing statements through pre-taped interviews claiming they are too busy to talk to local news media directly. So much for mainstream news media claiming they defend democracy. Mainstream news media, especially those who are Olympic partners will look the other way and shrug because they have more serious things to worry about. Like whether they will have a job come June.
As soon as the Games are over, and hidden Olympic costs become more evident to the average person, politicians who previously supported the Games will run for cover when asked how they so seriously screwed up what they promoted as a slam dunk. And other politicians, who over the last few years were grandstanding and obscurely opposing the Games because they were more interested in media face time than results, they'll go ballistic providing sound bites attacking the pro-Olympics opposition party. All too little too late.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper never really got behind the Games so he doesn't have much to deny or say now, but just to ensure he remains inaccessible he prorogued the government until after the Olympics are over, shutting Canada down tighter than a drunk driving BC premier in Hawaii. In case a serious Olympic emergency pops up the Canadian Military has the power to enact Marshall Law and to do it even before Harper has a chance to assemble his vacationing team. Prorogued or not, Harper will however be available to sign off on last minute funds if necessary, because after all, it will be his name bandied about internationally during an 11th hour 2010 Olympic meltdown, and not premier or mayor what's his name.
Premier Campbell, who in 2003 and throughout the lead up to the Games claimed political ownership of 2010, will be very hard to nail down after taxpayers become more cognizant of overrun costs, in fact it slowly started a few months before the Games. He will also finger point and look for a scapegoat, blaming the recession and maybe even citizen journalism for ruining his event. If he does, we will roast him alive, at least I will. That won't stop him however from being paid huge sums by the IOC to go to London, Sochi and Rio to tell everyone there what a great job he did here.
Mayor Robertson, who picked up the Olympic baton towards the end of the race from former Mayor Sam Sullivan will simply repeat as he has already that he wasn't involved in the early stage planning. The most he could say would be to tell us how he would have done things differently, but if he does he better have his story straight, or like Campbell he will also be an easy target for citizen journalists. Robertson would be best advised to keep his head down and his mouth zipped unless he still wants to help figure out who leaked the Athlete's Village boondoggle document. Robertson, more than all other politicians has the best chance to come out of 2010 looking respectable, but only if he resists the temptation to take any credit for anything and remains self effacing.