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Alan in Montréal

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Everything posted by Alan in Montréal

  1. Well, yesterday it was announced that the City of Vancouver is now on the hook for over $800,000,000 in order to fund the Olympic Village so it can be completed. Furthermore, real estate experts are doubtful that given the current economic situation, which is expected to pull down the Vancouver housing market for years to come, the city will be able to recover its investment through resale of the units following the Games. Ah - the great Olympic con game continues, as cities and host nations are once again forking over $billions to this circus. Just think of where that money could have gone. Lies. Lies. Lies.
  2. Especially since 40% of the team's roster isn't even Canadian.
  3. Oh Yea! First of all it's MATS, not MATT. You have a 36 year old over the hill hockey player that took 8 months to decide where he was going to play, and at whom everyone else in the league laughs at now. I used to think that Vancouver was a second-rate city, but now that you have Mats and he actually chose Vancouver, my entire opinion of Vancouver, its people and very fabric has changed. Oh, this is just wonderful news.
  4. Not a very convincing result for a motto that is supposed to express the sentiments of the host city and nation. Yike. Personally, I'm surprised that this is the best that VANOC could come up with. It smacks of a lack of creativity and originality. Beyond that, it's just plain uninspiring. What a let down. Sigh
  5. Bring the flags in 4 across at a time, followed by all of the athletes mixed together, just like the closing. Have them enter from several different points in order to speed it up. Or better yet, have the flags come in alone, but allow the athletes to be seated throughout the enter OC!! They are the ones that this is all about, and yet Games after Games, they miss the chance to see the most spectacular parts of the OC and CC live. That never made sense to me. By the way, long-time-no-see CAF! Juan
  6. There's a big difference between violent acts taking place during the Games, and armed police officers being authorized to shoot those who wish to express their opinions through protest 4 months before the Games begin AND outside of not only the host city, but the host nation as well. The IOC should have immediately cancelled this portion of this ridiculous side-show. They should of distanced themselves from it as soon as possible. Their lack of noise about this, and their inability to do the right thing speaks volumes of the elitist and out-of-touch attitude of many of the members of the IOC. I cannot believe that it has come to this. Just remember everyone, when watching the opening ceremony from Beijing, when they will no doubt sing of the ideals of the Olympic movement, and the beauties of the host nation, what REALLY happened before the Games and what will happen within China's sphere of influence before and after this propaganda event. I no longer buy into any of it. And I feel sorry for the athletes for having to travel to compete under such circumstances. "Oh what a circus, Oh what a show" (with apologies to Andrew Lloyd Weber and Evita.
  7. In today's Toronto Star: In order for the torch to pass, the police are now authorized to "shoot to stop" any protestors? Is this the notion of human spirit, freedom and brotherhood that the torch is supposed to inspire? This has become a complete mockery. The IOC made a big mistake giving China the Games. They are destined to become a major failure -- a heartless event, where events are rescheduled in order to avoid the overwhelming pollution in Beijing. What a mess. I cannot believe it. "Shoot to stop" is authorized. The Olympics have become their own monster. When things have deteriorated to this level, there is every reason to believe that this circus is about money and power, and nothing else. They can shove the whole thing as far as I'm concerned. I have no interest in even watching the massive propaganda show that the ceremonies will be.
  8. This torch relay has become just plain stupid. Absolutely lame. Today, they ran the relay through Islamabad, Pakistan, completely out of public view in an undisclosed location. What is the point of that? This is lunacy. Things like this send the message that the Olympics and the Torch are divisive, elitist, and undesired by people. This relay should have been scrapped after San Francisco. It has become a joke.
  9. I wonder how these same protestors, urging us to support China, feel about the fact that publicly raising negative issues surrounding the Beijing Games back "home" in China can lead to conviction and a very long stay in a wonderful Chinese labour camp? I'm also curious to know who many of these people were? I find it bizarre that a Chinese Canadian who has the advantage of reading the free world press accessable here would hold up a sign claiming that the Dalai Lama is a liar. That's just stupid. I suspect there were a few undercover Chinese agents in this crowd.
  10. First of all, I don't support a boycott in any manner. If we are going to continue to do business with China, it's unfair to ask the athletes to sacrifice what they've worked for, while we all run off to Wal-Mart to shop for cheap goods that are made in China.Having said that, I'm happy to see the IOC struggling with this crap at this point. They darn-well should have known better. As stated before, when China won the rights to the 2008 Games, it was the IOC that told us that giving China the Games would enhance human rights and modernize China. Well, this one has definitely back-fired, and independant analysts claim that in fact, China's human rights record has gotten worse -- not better. The IOC may like a Games with wonderful venues, no official internal protest, no one questioning the construction budgets or the forced movement of people to construct venues, but along with that comes the risk of exactly what we are experiencing now. And China deserves this as well for blatantly crushing human rights within Tibet so close to the start of this event. Knowing full well that many people had concerns about awarding the Games to China, they have done an absolutely horrid job of even attempting to pretend that they are easing up and making things better in advance of the Opening Ceremony. It's almost as if China is shocked -- unable to figure out why the propaganda, threats and terror they invoke on their own people just doesn't seem to stick with the rest of us; we simply don't fall for their lies. What bugs me even more is now reading that those infamous "men in blue" from Beijing 2008 who are the "flame guardians" we see accompanying the torch are actually Chinese paramilatary members who are they to ensure that things are done according to the way the Chinese want them to be done - even on foreign soil. And even Sebastian Coe is complaining about their tactics. Several torch-bearers have also complained about how they were handled. (see "Men in Blue Protect Olympic Flame") And the UK, France and US just allow these thugs to act this way as guests in another country? So in the end, the IOC is getting exactly what it deserves. I suspect that it will be a long time before China gets to host again -- unless their are drastic changes in the regime. I just feel that these Games are going to go down as being technically outstanding, but with an overtone of anger and protest, and almost a "sterile" sense to them. Pretty venues and ceremonies that in the end, just leave everyone uninspired and lacking in sentiment. I think everyone will see these Games as nothing more than a big Chinese propaganda event once they are over. And the IOC can live with it as far as I'm concerned.
  11. Doubt that. Separatist sentiment in Quebec is almost at its lowest point ever. The federalist Conservative party has strong support here. The Parti Quebecois has just voted to scrap a key part of the platform, being the promise of yet another referendum during their first term, and the Quebec based "Bloc Quebecois" which is a separatist party in Ottawa is undergoing an internal crisis because their "raison d'etre" has fallen apart and even they are questioning their use at this time. Separatism in Quebec is pretty much dormant. It will never happen any. But I digress...
  12. Source: http://www.thestar.com/News/World/article/350435 China slams jail door on Olympic dissent Hu Jia, shown in 2006, one of several critics of the Chinese government that China has brought before the courts in the run-up to the Olympics. As torch lit, petitioner gets five years in prison March 25, 2008 Bill Schiller Asia Bureau BEIJING–In the darkest of ironies, as the Olympic torch was lit in Athens yesterday, a court in China sentenced a man to five years in prison after he dared to say the principle of human rights is more important than the Olympic Games. Unemployed former factory worker, Yang Chunlin, 54, gathered more than 10,000 signatures on a petition last year, appealing against illegal seizures of land from poor farmers by powerful local officials in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang. The petition letter began: "We want human rights, not the Olympics." Yang was promptly arrested July 6 and charged with trying to subvert state power – a broad charge frequently used against those who openly criticize the government. After Yang's trial last month – which lasted less than a day – Sophie Richardson of Human Rights Watch said she feared that, "soon it will be official that objecting to the Olympics is a crime in China." In fact, prosecution of outspoken Chinese citizens has picked up pace in the final months before the Games. Yang's is the third case of a well-known dissident to come before the courts in recent weeks. Read the entire article by clicking here.
  13. I find this kind of stuff bewildering by the IOC. On one hand, they exclaim that the Games are not about politics. On the other hand, they put themselves into the extraordinary position of asking combatants the world over to lay down their arms in honour of the Olympics.
  14. You're correct, but unfortunatley, most western leaders have a much greater fear of "financial punishment" from China than a desire to engage China in a proper debate. And, I suspect Canada's hosting of the 2010 Winter Games also influences how much the PM is willing to say without risking political implications for the Vancouver Games. Such is the world we live in today.
  15. I would agree with you Jeremie, if it wasn't the IOC itself that played the "giving the Games to Beijing will help to promote human rights and democracy in China" card. Both the host nation and the IOC trumpted that argument themselves 7 years ago now when they were awarded these Games. As far as western leaders making statements, I think most have. Canada's Harper did. Harper urges China to use 'restraint' in Tibet By the way, China nicely responded by telling Canada to "butt-out".
  16. And when the Olympics have left Beijing, I will still be able to march down a street in my city and criticize my government publicly, and you will not. Who really has strength? If it is so strong, why is it not able to withstand internal and external scrutiny and democracy? In 50 years or less, as the wealth of the citizens of China climbs, the Communist regime will crumble, just like every other similar regime.
  17. If China gets through hosting these Games with little upheaval despite what they are doing in Tibet and to their own people, how much more influence can any other nation have beyond that? If this doesn't get them to "play nice", what other big sticks can be held over them in order to bring about change?I see this this other way around. If China is allowed to host the world and everyone basically shuts-up about what is happening, the rest of us lose all credibility.
  18. Remember the Toronto 2008 bid that was recognized as technically one of the best Olympic bids ever offered to the IOC? And to think the Games would have been opening in Toronto in a few months had the IOC gone with the most stable and best technical bid. No nation that has a bid or future Games coming up is going to stir up this hornet's nest. Canada, Britain and Russia sure won't (too risky to their own upcoming Games). The US won't (Chicago bid). Etc. Etc. And folks, in a few months we will all be "ooing and awwwwing" at those remarkable venues in Beijing. As we all gawk with amazement, let's try to remember that only a totalitarian state with no internal opposition, free press, or need to compensate people fairly for their work (so much for that communist ideal) could accomplish what Beijing did. It's easy to build expensive venues on time when no one is allowed to object. The real accomplishments are for those Games that pull this circus off in a democratic and open environment where individuals and the media are allowed to question every aspect of venue construction and Games infrastructure improvement. When the "Free World" states host a Games, THAT is an accomplishment. As far as I am concerned, the IOC can wallow in the mess that they made for themselves by going to such a repressive regime. In the end, the Olympics are simply about money and power.
  19. I actually don't support a complete boycott; however, I believe that every attempt should be made to take advantage of the Games as a vehicle to ensure that the message goes out that the world is watching and we know that China is a massive abuser of human rights not only in Tibet, but amongst her own people. A show of solidarity and silent protest, or a complete boycott of the opening ceremonies will have a much greater impact. I just cannot envision anyone taking China seriosly, as thousands of performers dance and sing in the name of world peace and brotherhood during the opening ceremonies. And the IOC should stop whining about this. They knew exactly what the risks were when they awarded these Games to China. Did they quickly forget that Beijing lost the 2000 bid to Sydney because of politics and Tiananmen Square? The Olympics have ALWAYS been about politics.
  20. Photo evidence of Tibet horror comes to light GEOFFREY YORK From Wednesday's Globe and Mail March 18, 2008 at 10:23 PM EDT BEIJING — Gruesome new photos showing Tibetans shot to death in Western China have provided fresh evidence of a Chinese crackdown on Tibetan protesters as the Dalai Lama threatens to resign if the violence spirals out of control. The photos (many of them too graphic to publish) appear to show bullet holes in the blood-stained corpses of several Tibetans in China's Sichuan province. They are the first hard evidence that Tibetans were shot to death during the Chinese security crackdown in recent days. Nearly 100 Tibetans have been killed in the crackdown, including 19 yesterday, and hundreds more have been arrested, according to Tibetan activist groups. China says 16 people were killed by Tibetan rioters in Lhasa last week, and it alleges that the Dalai Lama has "masterminded" the violence. Read the entire article here: Photo evidence of Tibet horror comes to light And to think, in just a few short months we will be watching the opening ceremonies, as tens of thousands of China's youth dance and sing in a celebration of world unity, peace and brotherhood. Oh please give me a break quickly...
  21. I'm concerned about the situation in Tibet, but also it's clear to me that politically, culturally, and environmentally, and in terms of what's best for the athletes and the Games, perhaps Beijing was not the right choice. Not yet anyway. China seems to have been able to meet the deadlines for venue construction, and will most definitely put on a great show, visually spectacular. The Games have also brought major change to Beijing's infrastructure. But in terms of China's statements that by this summer pollution would be cleaned-up, and that the Games would push it to a greater awareness of human rights... pfffffff. Those promises have been not kept. And if the challenge was too great to begin with -- the promises should not have been made. Of course I would have loved to have seen the Games in Canada/Toronto this summer. That's a given. But that doesn't take away from what myself and others are stating here. And now France is stating that it may consider asking the EU to officially boycott the opening ceremonies (but not the Games) if the situation in Tibet doesn't get fixed soon.Here we go. The IOC loves stability. I'm sure they must be worried at this point. Here we go.
  22. ...and now we're hearing reports this morning that the IOC will definitely be changing the dates of some of the events depending on the pollution levels. And that the Games could even be extended if required in order to accommodate all of the events. Sigh. And every now and then, when on business in Toronto, I pass that big, unused piece of land that juts out into Lake Ontario that the Toronto 2008 bid had pegged as the centre of it's venue plan, with a wonderful stadium and aquatics complex, not to mention Olympic Village affording breathtaking views of the skyline of the city. And to think those Games could have been opening in 4 to 5 months, with relatively pollution-free air (compared to Beijing), moderate temperatures, no need to the air force to seed clouds miles away in order to prevent dust storms, and in one of the world's most cosmopolitan, multicultural cities. In a nation that for the most part, has an outstanding record on human rights. (Yes, there are blips -- but relative the the rest of the world, commendable.) It would have been so nice. Sigh again.
  23. Some of the interior shots resemble the interior shots of Montreal's Olympic Stadium. I suspect it's due to the rather tight roof opening, but it's very familiar.
  24. In the name of human rights? YES. Any legal avenue is right. And any nation that doesn't feel it can stand-up to scrutiny on the world stage shouldn't bid on the Olympics.
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