Oct 10 2009

Not Politically Correct About Vancouver Olympics

There’s politically incorrect and then there’s just dumb. You’d think a “New York-based political and media strategist” would have the smarts to avoid comments like this:

Forget the 2016 Rio Olympics – there’s a more pressing issue to address: Who is fighting to ensure that the immigrants of European descent are adequately represented at next year’s Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games?

I’m talking about the people who can be credited for turning the city from a giant wilderness into the budding metropolis of today. The place, and indeed the whole of my country, Canada, was pretty third-worldish until the English, French, and various other Europeans arrived and started planning and building infrastructure and government, and teaching the natives discipline, order, and capitalism…

It’s no coincidence that the best countries in the world are either European or founded by Europeans. Everywhere they go, European immigrants make things better – until they’re asked to leave, at which point everything usually descends back into chaos. Not that they ever get any thanks for it.

(For that matter, you’d think the Telegraph would know better than to print it).

I don’t know if Rachel Marsden is racist, as some have said. From what I can tell, she seems to simply lack knowledge of the history of how Canada and other former European colonies developed. For the millions of aboriginals in the Americas and Australia who were wiped out, mostly by disease (in many places, death rates approached 100 per cent), European immigrants did not “make things better”. Natives did not need to be taught “discipline” and “order”, as they already had these things in measures that were practical for tiny populations spread out over wide territory (police stations and legislatures don’t make much sense when most population centers are no bigger than villages). Certainly, Native economies were disrupted by the arrival of Europeans as well — though it should be noted here that in the early phase of colonialism, capitalism was not even practiced — European societies in North America could not have existed without generous subsidies from the heart of empire. And building cities out of wilderness isn’t a particularly European trait (has Marsden ever been to Beijing? Tokyo? Mumbai? Does she even know about the ancient cities of the Americas?) I could go much further into just how far off Marsden’s premise is, but fortunately, Jared Diamond already wrote that book in 1997.

Of course, today, we do have a prosperous, technologically-advanced democracy in Canada. But we have this in part because of the active participation of First Nations people in the development of this country, from the fur trade through Confederation to the present day. Our Native heritage and culture is also something that helps make Canada unique, which is why these symbols are so instantly recognizable internationally.

Certainly, European colonizers brought technology and their own culture to Canada (as have immigrants from the rest of the world in more recent decades), from which we’ve benefited. But would Canada really be better represented at the Olympics by a statue of a British soldier or French voyageur than by a piece of Native sculpture?

Granted, I was never that happy about the Inukshuk. Given that the Olympics are taking place on the west coast, a totem pole seems far more appropriate. Before the introduction of European metal tools, there were very few totem poles on the west coast and they were much smaller than the ones we see today. Now, these majestic artworks are distinct symbols of this region and our country’s heritage.

Canada isn’t all Inukshuks and totem poles. Maybe the graphic artist who came up with Miga the Sea Bear and Quatchi the Sasquatch could have thrown in Dudley Do-Right or Yvon of the Yukon. But picking at this as a sign that European culture is somehow being slighted at the Olympics seems a stretch. It’s not like the tourists coming to Vancouver are going to be unaware of Canada’s European heritage. Heck, unlike many North American cities, Vancouver is actually named for one of the first Europeans to visit the west coast. Thanks for dropping by, George.

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8 responses so far

8 Responses to “Not Politically Correct About Vancouver Olympics”

  1. Tripper523on 10 Oct 2009 at 10:17 am

    This Rachel Marsden must be one of these people who believes that as soon as you cross the border from the States there’s a huge wall of snow and that whale blubber is on the menu of our most prestigious restaurants fuelled by kerosene. The writer is definitely keyboard-challenged and has no knowledge whatsoever of Canadian history. It’s true that the European contribution has been great in developing this superb nation, but she makes it sound like our native population has been conquered in the last decade and are just now being assimilated into our mainstream multiculturalist society. Our aboriginal component is alive and well, as evidenced not only by their artsy craftwork, but just take a look at places like Caledonia. Our early British and French infrastructure has accommodated immigrants of many origins, and together has forged a strong and diverse nation of freedom loving people. Vancouver 2010 will surely be representative of that, showcasing the Canadian host at its best, as the world will soon witness.

  2. real conservativeon 10 Oct 2009 at 1:04 pm

    What did he say that was wrong? He misses one point though, a lot has happened since his forebears first came over here.

  3. carlon 10 Oct 2009 at 5:58 pm

    Remember something Tripper 523 Ms Marsden is canadian and she is not based in NY more she lives in toronto she is all yours

  4. carlon 10 Oct 2009 at 6:01 pm

    Remember some this tripper 53 and jnarvy ms marsden lives in toronto. She doesnt work out of NY since she was on fox . Shes all yours

  5. David Zeglenon 11 Oct 2009 at 6:14 am

    As John Ralston Saul has already articulated, if it wasn’t for the native populations of what is now Canada, the French and British would have died out a long damn time ago in the harsh and unforgiving climate.

  6. Susanon 11 Oct 2009 at 10:44 am

    You might recall Marsdens early foray onto the newspages as ultra-vixon the victim when she was caught out in her wild and invalid sexual assault accussations against UBC or SFU teacher and swimming coach Mr. Donnelly (sp?) and subsequently additional people as well. Donnely of course was unceremoniously fired by the media and the university but alas was eventually re-instated. Barbara Walters fired her researcher (another story there) from 20-20 early on and she´s gone all neo-con from there, blazing a trail across many newspapers. She certainly has rarely spoke of and never has been close on Canadian conservative issues.

  7. Earnest Canuckon 12 Oct 2009 at 11:29 pm

    Oh, you dunno Rachel, Jon? I append an old F’Book post of mine.

    As to the substance of this matter, two things.

    First, John Ralston Saul is a huge chump.

    As to 19th-cent. Europeans’ alleged inability to survive in a “harsh and unforgiving climate” exactly analogous to the climate of, um, Europe: oh, come on. Franklin’s disappearance and death were recorded, you know, written down in history, for others to learn from; the analogous misadventures of thousands of low-tech indigenes were not. Be honest: this kept their cultures static. Astounding as the tribes were, they weren’t geniuses, merely at home. As all Canadians now are, including Matthew Coon Come — but disincluding this nasty broad Marsden.



    Friday, 11 January 2008 at 01:55

    | Edit note | Delete

    Kidding!! I give you Volume Four of The Rachel Marsden Saga, aka Bitch’s Progress:


    It’s only Volume Four if you count by humiliated men. But the Saga is long, and could be subdivided in other ways. Only two of the four men — the journalist and the cop — actually romped with the harpy, for example (the coach and the professor passed).

    And Marsden’s 400 affectionate phone calls to the female ‘harassment officer’ who assisted her in the SFU debacle might require another chapter, or just an ironic footnote.

    You could also measure out Rachel’s days in aborted media gigs. This would make for a trilogy of firings, again depending how you count: shitcanned from the National Post, frogmarched outta Fox News, and now unperson’d by the Toronto Sun.

    It’s an epic of waste and viciousness, no matter how you cut it. And this creature’s repeated resurrections don’t speak well of our era. The Marsden Saga continues, in part, because our public institutions provide irresistible opportunities to opportunists like her.

    That is to say, every judicial and sub-judicial body that ever had the misfortune to encounter Rachel Marsden should have identified her hoaxes and scams at hearing stage. And then *turfed* the nutty broad. But no bureaucracy yet has been able to handle this one determined psycho.

    Why not? I’m starting to think, maybe because they can’t. Which would be bad news for the whole proposition that government can make our lives better. How many more Rachel Marsdens must be out there, milking every docile helping-hand agency for every drop, devouring resources and ruining lives, then moving on?

    Wotta mess. Mind you, I bet she’d be excellent deranged company; I have enjoyed a few women like her, while scrupulously not engaging in any sort of commerce with ’em. (Dude! That’d be like marrying Liz Phair!) You know something else funny about Rachel Marsden, though? She loves little baby animals. Loves’em! Hates the seal hunt! That’s going in the appendix, for sure.




  8. Earnest Canuckon 12 Oct 2009 at 11:37 pm

    Oh, a bit more — my friend K.P. commented on that post as follows (my apologies, btw, if these old links don’t work. Brilliant of Marsden, don’t you think, to confound such Webfolks as ourselves by going straight to the fountainhead of modern digital knowledge, and WikiFucking it?)


    This is where I say L. told you so.

    Volume 5.

    The founder of Wikipedia makes an utterly surreal decision and decides to date Rachel Marsden for a couple weeks. OK. So it doesn’t work out. OK. So our Canadian Press syndicates the article about how she is selling his sweaters, vindictively? Nasty, private, faux-incriminating IMs are somehow leaked to the most salacious gossip site in Silicon Valley? … Read more

    “No one stamps on a burning bag of shit these days”. In this case, not true. Jimmy Wales sure did.




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