Canada's Hosting the Olympics? Really?
A short while back, it was mentioned that out of the kindness of our hearts, we'd be giving the homeless somewhere to sleep for the three weeks that the Olympics are in town. And if there aren't any rooms available, there are always jail cells either in town or at some friendly nearby community. That the folks in question are homeless at least partially due to a lack of funding for specific shelters and recovery clinics as an added burden to insane housing costs doesn't seem to have crossed anyone's minds just yet, but I'm sure we'll get back to concern for them after the streets are cleaned for the guests.
More recently, the City of Vancouver is putting through a bylaw allowing police to enter homes and seize any visible signage that is deemed "inappropriate" on 24 hours notice. The fun part is determining what exactly makes a sign "inappropriate". According to the Minister of Community and Rural Development (that would be Bill Bennett, his contact information is right here) it's all about the money:
"You've got the potential for some businesses to try and exploit the games logo without having paid for the rights to do that. I think its a reasonable thing for communities to want to remove those kinds of signs, and to remove them before the end of the Olympic Games."
So businesses that didn't pay for Olympic ad space can't display signs with any Olympic symbols on them? Well, that doesn't seem too unreasonable, even if the law was already in effect...
The Vancouver bylaw prevents anyone who isn't licensed to do so from carrying any signs or handing out any materials on or near Olympic venues or other designated city property.
Wait - any signs or materials? On all designated city property? Any exceptions?
In a news release sent out this morning, BCCLA Executive Director David Eby said the association is concerned about restricting signage that is deemed not "celebratory" in public facilities and even a city park.
What about for charity? Like for, say, Right to Play, a favourite charity of many NHL players?
For the last three Games, Right to Play has set up an unadorned information booth in the village to educate the curious about its programs and to recruit athletes for its projects. No sponsor logos, no offending literature, no misuse of the iconic Olympic rings, no clash of corporate colors. Just selfless human decency.
That wasn't good enough for VANOC and its sponsors. At one point in negotiations, Vancouver organizers insisted Right to Play dissolve its agreement with Mitsubishi. So, Right to Play tore up its agreement with the Japanese car giant, which was was creative enough to delay its sponsorship of Right to Play until after the 2010 Games.
Seizing the moment, VANOC then took dead aim at the the other corporations in partnership with Right to Play. At which point Right to Play balked. Understandably, they could not permit VANOC to axe its funding lifeline.
In other news, the Olympic Torch Relay is coming through my town on October 31st.
Anyone have a Right to Play shirt, umbrella, jacket, or any thing else they want on display for Hallowe'en? I want to see just how "inappropriate" I can get.