Controversy rocks lead-up to 2010 Olympics
Real News // November 26, 2008 (Video below)
2010 Olympics promotional train tour becomes target for protests across Canada
With more than a full year before the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics begin, the games have already encountered stiff opposition. A range of groups have expressed their disagreement with the way that the Olympics are being run on Canada's west coast. Their concerns include: environmental destruction, the rights of low or no income residents, lack of transparency and consultation in decision making, and development on indigenous land that has never been surrendered to Canada. Olympic sponsor Canadian Pacific Railway ran a promotional tour, known as the Spirit Train, across Canada which became a target for activists countrywide. One group went as far as to occupy the train tracks, thereby temporarily postponing the train while en route to its Toronto stop. The Real News spoke to Angela Sterritt who provided background information on the various reasons why the Olympics have created such a backlash. One of the major issues being raised by activists is the construction of Olympic venues on indigenous territory that has never been signed over to the Government of Canada via treaty or otherwise. The Real News also spoke to Leah George-Wilson, Chief of the Tsleil-Waututh nation, who is supporting the Olympics, to get her response to the points being raised by the protesters.
Angela Sterritt is a grassroots organizer, artist and writer from the Gitxsan Nation of Northwest British Columbia. She currently works as a support worker in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside Women's Centre and is a member of the Olympic opposition group, the Native 2010 Resistance. Angela recently completed a nationwide speaking tour of Canada regarding the 2010 Olympics.
Leah George-Wilson is the Chief of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, located in North Vancouver, British Columbia. Chief George-Wilson is a Co-Chair of British Columbia's First Nations Summit, a forum for issues related to treaty negotiations in the province. As Chief, Leah represents her nation as a member of the Four Host First Nations Society, a group made up of leaders from the four indigenous nations that will be hosting the Olympic Games on their lands.