Dimitrios Kambouris, Getty Images Move out of the way because Beyonce is playing…
- Posted on Oct 5th 2009 2:00PM by Steve McLean
And while the likes of Broken Social Scene, K'Naan, Stars, Joel Plaskett, Steve Earle, Laurie Anderson, Martha Wainwright, Blue Rodeo, Iron & Wine and Corb Lund were recently announced as performers at the Winter Games-related Cultural Olympiad in January, you can be sure that Good won't be among those singing the praises of Vancouver's Olympics.
Good has been an outspoken critic since 2003, when city residents first voted in favour of the 17-day international sporting event, and his distaste has only intensified as the Olympics draw nearer.
"At the time, people were gripped with the usual Olympic fever," Good tells Spinner. "That was before the money started being spent and the problems started and the real economic and social ramifications of this thing came to light. Now that they we're coming up to it, we face a pretty bleak reality. We face the fact that we're billions of dollars over budget and the [International Olympic Committee] has called it the most expensive Winter Games that it's ever been involved in."
Good believes Vancouver's growing population of street people will be swept away by authorities so the city can live up to its UN-declared reputation as one of the world's most livable places, so it will be "out of sight, out of mind" as international visitors descend on the picturesque Pacific coast city.
"We can spend billions of dollars on this, but we have the highest child poverty rate in the country and we have the poorest urban neighbourhood in the country, which is a seven-minute cab ride away from one of the wealthiest," he adds. "As Dwight Eisenhower used to say during his presidency, 'For the price of one aircraft carrier, how many schools could we have built?' I view the Olympics in very much the same way."
Good says the games are also creating problems for Vancouver's middle-class, citing a friend who was renting a downtown apartment month-to-month [and is] being evicted so his landlord can sublet the place for $9,000 a week during the Olympics. He also says anyone who thinks the Olympics will have long-term benefits for them is dreaming.
"I don't even know where the concept comes from that the games are going to attract a massive influx of capital. Maybe for a couple of weeks at a retail level, but really it's only going to make a very small percentage of rich people wealthier and it's going to screw your average British Columbian over. It's just turned into an economic nightmare for people [across the province]. We're all going to be paying for this through our taxes for years."