It's a big country with many various cultures: it would be impossible to represent everyone. What British Columbians might think defines Canada might be disagreed upon by people in Quebec and the Maritimes. What Albertans think defines Canada might be disagreed upon by other provinces. Etc. It's a unique country, it's more provincial than national.
And they did tell the history of Canada, from east to the west, in another way. Not the traditional settler to modernity type of thing, but they did it in another way. Had they done what you're suggesting, we would've literally had a winter carbon copy of the Sydney 2000 Opening Ceremony.
Anyhow, John Furlong tells off the language fascists....there are also some bombshell revelations about the Opening Ceremony:
- Celine Dion had been contracted to sing the national anthem at the Opening Ceremony. But she cancelled when she became pregnant.
- Vanoc had also specifically asked Cirque du Soleil, the Quebec troupe known for their spectacular airborne artistry, to provide some production elements. The company declined because it was overextended on several productions in the U.S.
- Furlong said Vanoc had also engaged "a famous Quebec composer" to provide musical elements. That composer, whom he would not name, backed out of the arrangement months before the Games over what he termed "philosophical differences". As a result, the artist refused to allow Vanoc access to his music's rights and the organizing committee had to unwind part of the ceremony.
Vanoc boss fires back over French language criticism
By JEFF LEE, Vancouver Sun December 15, 2010 5:02 PM
VANCOUVER -- The head of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Winter Games struck back Wednesday at criticism by the Official Languages Commissioner that the Games missed an opportunity to celebrate Canada's linguistic duality.
John Furlong said his organization worked from top to bottom to make sure the organization of the Olympics and Paralympics included equal representation of both English and French.
He said Graham Fraser's receipt of complaints about a perceived lack of French language in the opening ceremony pales to the overwhelming support Vanoc received from the public at large.
"I understand that Mr. Fraser said he had had 38 complaints. Well, to be honest, I have 10,000 letters of thanks and congratulations for the way we delivered the Olympic Games and a lot of it had to do with this very thing (the opening ceremony), " Furlong said.
On Tuesday Fraser issued his final report into French language inclusion in the Games, saying portions of the event suffered from "linguistic shortfalls."
Furlong said he was unhappy that Fraser didn't bother to alert him in advance this week when releasing his report. "I wasn't expecting the report. I'm responsible for the Olympics. He never made a call to me, he didn't tell me what his findings were," Furlong said. "So when I read that he says we didn't understand what our mandate was, I am sorry, that just is not reasonable."
In an interview from Ottawa Fraser said later that Furlong was well aware of his concerns about the lack of French in the opening ceremony and that his report simply repeated those concerns. He also noted that he received no acknowledgment from Furlong to a hand-written note he sent in October, 2009 complaining that not a word of French was spoken at the ceremony marking the arrival of the Olympic Flame in Victoria. ("ANY FRENCH SPEAKERS IN THE CROWD? RAISE YOUR HAND!)
Fraser said he eventually concluded that Vanoc saw the Official Language Commissioner's office as being troublesome. (it most certainly is!)
"We felt our studies were being viewed not as helpful but as an irritation," the commissioner said.
Fraser said he commended Vanoc for exceeding expectations in all other areas. But the lack of enough French language in the opening ceremony "cast a shadow" over the rest of the organization's efforts.
Furlong said Vanoc fully respected the country's bilingual character and that the opening ceremony included a high proportion of images celebrating Canada's French heritage.
"We never saw it so much in terms of expressing ourselves so much in words, but it was the celebration of the duality of Canada, which was culture, art, performers, music. It was exactly how we put the program together. It shouldn't be lost on anybody that the first province we signed up as a partner was Quebec," he said.
"To hook out one piece and say that piece wasn't good enough is like saying the first quarter of the hockey game wasn't all that good even though we won in overtime."
In the end, Furlong said he thought Fraser's office "cherry-picked" elements and was simply "counting words" rather than looking at Vanoc's complete inclusion of French Canada in its operations.
Furlong also revealed Vanoc had planned to include even more French-Canadian elements but ran into trouble. Celine Dion had been contracted to sing the national anthem but cancelled after she became pregnant. Vanoc had also specifically asked Cirque du Soleil, the Quebec troupe known for their spectacular airborne artistry, to provide some production elements. The company declined because it was overextended on several productions in the U.S.
Furlong said Vanoc had also engaged "a famous Quebec composer" to provide musical elements. That composer, whom he would not name, backed out of the arrangement months before the Games over what he termed "philosophical differences". As a result, the artist refused to allow Vanoc access to his music's rights and the organizing committee had to unwind part of the ceremony.
"We are required under the way the music is assembled once you've got the show together you have to get permission. If he didn't want his music included, that was his decision and we had to move on," Furlong said.
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