Mar 25 2007

2010 Olympics and the war on the homeless

Poverty and homelessness activists in Vancouver and cynical NDP and Liberal politicians should win the gold medal for agit-prop for their skill in turning the 2010 Olympics into a publicity magnet for their agenda.

There’s no doubt that homelessness is a huge and tragic problem in our rainy little slice of paradise. There is a very real lack of affordable housing in this city. Coupled with easy access to cheap and addictive hard drugs, a lot of people are falling through the cracks.

But those who criticize the Olympics for taking public funds away from social assistance programs like subsidized housing and treatment centres must at least have an inkling of the illogic of their official rhetoric. Funding for Olympic infrastructure projects can’t really be said to directly take money out of the hands of our most vulnerable any more than budgeting for doctors and nurses hurts students in our cash-starved schools and universities.

Governments have to balance a menu of priorities. Implying that our national and community leadership has launched a war on the poor because we’re putting tax dollars into city-wide improvements instead of more soup kitchens and government-regulated hotel rooms is just cynical.

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7 responses so far

7 Responses to “2010 Olympics and the war on the homeless”

  1. on 26 Mar 2007 at 8:59 am

    Really? Hosting a multi-billion dollar figure skating, luge, and curling party is of equal necessity to health and education?

  2. on 26 Mar 2007 at 4:38 pm

    The Olympics is hardly a “figure skating, luge, and curling party”. The world-class event could help our city’s tourism industry and generate publicity for our business community and the city and province as a whole worth more than the initial investment.

    While I personally could care less about the actual sporting events, the spin-off benefits are not anything to sneeze at.

  3. on 26 Mar 2007 at 8:55 pm

    Vancouver was already on the map as a tourist destination, the only blight being the homeless situation. If we spent the money on that, the ‘spin-off’ benefits would be just as great, as opposed to evicting 350 SRO residents, tripling the homeless population. Instead, we choose for the business class to benefit, while renters suffer enourmous property tax increases and a legacy of debt. The costs for the games has already gone up 50%. the convention centre has tripled in costs.

  4. on 26 Mar 2007 at 10:39 pm

    Well thats a bit of “logic” I have not heard before.each to his own I guess

  5. jeff stevinson 08 Dec 2009 at 11:05 am

    i am sick and tired of hearing all this about the Homless are they relly homeless or just lazy?

  6. Marlo Cottrellon 14 Jan 2010 at 8:34 am

    Considering that 40% of the homeless have mental health issues, they are not lazy! This article asserts that they are not taking funds away from the homeless, yet alot of these people had access and utilized low income housing before they were evicted all in the name of profit! The true measure of any society is how they treat there most vulnerable members and Canada and Vancouver has sorely failed them!

  7. Sarah Riverson 30 Apr 2010 at 5:37 pm

    For the most part “lazy” a huge burden to society,drug addicts and HIV infested hookers….not prostitutes,a huge difference.Hookers with diseases who don’t give a damn about spreading their disease all for the sake of their next fix.I for one am sick and tired of hearing about their bull….and tired of their burden..give them Vancouver Eastside and let them die there.

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