Statement issued jointly by the YCL-LJC CEC and BC Provincial Committee
The YCL-LJC re-affirms its opposition to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games being held in Vancouver and Whistler starting this February, and expresses solidarity with the cross-Canada youth resistance to the Games. The Games are a massive party for the wealthy on the backs of the poor. They should be opposed by all progressive youth and students.
The 2010 Olympics are not just a bad decision by a bad government. They are part of the continued corporate offensive, led by the BC Gordon Campbell’s Liberal government on behalf of the capitalist class, against the working class, the youth, and the students. The Harper Conservatives use of the Olympics as an excuse to prorogue federal parliament further exposes this corporate circus.
These governments have no mandate to host a sports event claiming to be about peace and friendship. The Harper Conservatives are at war in Afghanistan. The preparations for the Games have left thousands of BC resident’s homeless and many criminalized by various bylaws and Olympic "security." The goal is to untruthful present Canada as a society without poverty. To the contrary, working class families, including unionized workers, are under attack.
Bill 21 forced striking Paramedics back to work without a negotiated collective agreement, attempting to legislate "labour peace" before the Olympics. Many Olympic projects are P3 privatization scandals. Workers must now pay billions of dollars for money wasted on the Games while public services suffer further cuts. The Games are too expensive for most workers to even attend.
The tokenism in Olympic advertising (such as the Inuit inuksuk mascot) fails to obscure the anti-First Nations nature of the Games. The Games will be held on unsurrendered Aboriginal land, where no Treaties have been signed. Olympic security costs are reportedly over $1 billion, while one in two off-reserve Aboriginal children live in poverty. Aboriginal nations, including First Nations and the Métis people, face a racist colonial legacy, including the highest rates of poverty and unemployment in British Columbia, not addressed by the Games.
While global warming is causing international alarm, the Olympics have destroyed forests, fish and wildlife habitats. The Eagle Ridge Bluffs was ruined for an unnecessary highway. We salute those who opposed this injustice, particularly sister Harriet Nahannee who died from pneumonia caught while unjustly jailed for protesting.
Any opposition to the Olympics is being met with harassment, intimidation, threats of violence and arrests. The Vancouver/Whistler area has been transformed into a militarized police zone, including 4,000 US and Canadian troops, to suspend the people’s democratic rights to protest, freedom of speech, expression, and association.
The Olympic Games have transferred billions of dollars from the working people of BC to corporate coffers. The immense public debt generated by the Olympics represents money that should have been spent on people’s needs, like job creation, more accessible education, housing, health care, libraries, child care, and affordable transit.
The YCL-LJC calls for participation in demonstrations being planned in the lead up to, and during the Olympic Games. Provincial infrastructure development must honour aboriginal nation’s right to sovereignty and self-determination. We demand that recreation, leisure time and a democratic culture including sports is a right – not a privilege. Women’s participation in sports should be encouraged, not excluded. Sports should cherish human qualities of fair-play and cooperation and promote peace, internationalism, solidarity – not militarism, elitism and consumerism. We fight for this better future and call for all like-minded youth to join the struggle!