Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Welcome to Vancouver, Olympic visitors - here's what you need to know about our city!

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and BC Premier Gordon Campbell [with red mittens]

Bill Tieleman's
24 hours/The Tyee column

February 9, 2010

A Political Guide for Olympics Visitors

Welcome to Vancouver, where politics is always good sport!

By Bill Tieleman,

"If you don't try to win you might as well hold the Olympics in somebody's back yard."

- Jesse Owens, Olympic gold medalist

2010 Winter Olympic Games visitors: It's great you came to Vancouver in mid-February, or as we like to call it, "early summer!"

It's literally not possible to give you a warmer welcome to our back yard!

Not that it's a good thing, but your margarita has more ice than our Cypress Mountain snowboarding course!

So please return the leftover slush to your bartender -- it will be sent by helicopter up the hill.

To enjoy yourselves fully, you should know more about our politics.

First, you may have seen recent international news about a Canadian premier being forced to stay in the United States during our Olympics.

Please don't mix up our premiers! Rest assured that it's Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams from eastern Canada, who's having heart surgery in America, not our British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell.

Premier Campbell also visited the U.S. and was forced to stay there too, but that was for drunk driving in Hawaii a while back. He's fine now.

Oh, and especially for Americans, pronounce it preem-yurr -- not prem-yeer -- it's not a bloody movie opening!

Our zippy leader

Actually, you may have seen pictures of Premier Campbell this weekend being strung up -- something most British Columbians have been waiting years for.

The premier tried out a new 2010 "zip-line" that flies right over B.C. Supreme Court -- something Campbell has managed to do since the police raided the B.C. Legislature in 2003 -- but his ride may soon end when three former government aides finally face corruption charges -- after the Olympics!

Canada's prime minister, Stephen Harper, is also visiting. Harper will make a rare address to the Legislature Thursday in Victoria -- that's almost as unusual as him speaking in his own parliament in Ottawa, since he suspended it months ago.

The nice way to protest

No, we're not one of those tinpot dictatorships! We're allowed to freely protest "proroguing" on Facebook and anything else we want at the Olympics in specially designated "free speech" zones, if only we knew where they are!

And don't forget to visit some local politics sites. I highly recommend checking out the lovely Bloedel Conservatory, where rare birds and tropical plants are found.

If you're really lucky you can spot one of Vancouver's most highly endangered creatures of all -- the NPA!

The Non-Partisanus-Associatis once actually long ruled our entire city from its roost at 12th and Cambie but now, sadly, their numbers have dwindled dramatically and they must be preserved in the protective hothouse Bloedel environment, or Conserve-A-Tory.

The NPA used to soar proudly over our city but is now flightless, as it evolved to have just a stunted right wing! Indeed, only 50 of these once-plentiful birds were spotted at their last gathering.

You can occasionally see an NPA -- like a Suzanne Anton or Ian Robertson -- at City Council or Park Board, wildly flapping but getting nowhere. Warning: it may disturb children.

Have fun in Vancouver -- where politics is always good sport!



DPL said...

I guess I'm simply not "onside" Nor is anyone in our extended family. Can't wait till the circus is over and Gordo gets assorted
" made in China" junk torn off him. I do wonder just what all the stuff he wears cost us, as I rather doubt he bought any of it with his own money. Are we going to the city and the answer is NO, even though we have two places to stay, one in Vancouver and one in Burnaby. So for all the folks that figure this circus will bring us all wealth I suggest you are smoking something.

Stacy said...

That photo is making me nauseous.

Gary E said...

Careful Bill. You could get labeled a "whiner" by the prems new minister of propaganda, Mikey Campbell.
Just a thought but I wonder just what else this government is going to slash and burn in the next budget?
If anything more is cut from us underpaid taxpayers I will personally advocate a General Strike. With no letting up until things are put right.

Anonymous said...

At least Danny Williams has a heart.

BC Mary said...


Loved your humour, Bill. It eases the tension.

There's a one-line reference to BC Rail in the Speech from the Throne in today's Hansard ...

which I considered for its exquisite hypocrisy on my blog, if interested:


Bill Tieleman said...

Thanks Mary - yes the irony is simply too rich to believe! But rumours are that Kevin Mahoney, CEO of "BC Rail" or what's left of it - may become the new CEO of BC Hydro - heaven help us!

Don Power said...

I have a "modest proposal" to deal with the homeless issue during the 2010 Games:

"A 2010 Olympics Solution for Homelessness-Let Them Shovel Snow" http://bit.ly/d16xbn

Don Power

Stacey Robinsmith said...

What a pleasure to read! The humour is appreciated. I look forward to seeing how the BC Rail trial is postponed next because I honestly do not believe it will ever go anywhere or that any investigation will really take place. Much too complicated and tangled into too many levels of gov't to ever be untangled. We will stay on it though.

Anonymous said...

How about Translink buskers who have to pay to play? Fifty bucks for a licence, $110.00 to get from station to staion on Skytrain for one ninety minute slot per day, during the Olympics.
If there are 60 buskers that means Translink gets about $63,000.00.
oh let me entertain you!

Harmony said...

Applause, applause. Not a bad column, so rare. Glad to see you do actually realize what a joke our political arena is here in Vancouver.

Can politics be good sport when it's filled with poor sportsmanship? Scandals, lies and deceit, be it from Liberals, NDP or "one of BC's best known communicators, political commentators and strategists".

Ah, if only cheating were an Olympic sport all on it's own, then politicians everywhere wouldn't have to worry about looking bad with free tickets, they would be the stars of the show.

Anonymous said...

It looks like Harper is going to stick the torch into Gordo's ear!