Sunday, February 3, 2008

Props Prepared for Poverty Olympics

The finishing touches were put on props yesterday for Vancouver's Poverty Olympics on Sunday. A garbage can was wrapped in newspaper articles about homelessness and displacement on the Downtown Eastside, some of which anti-poverty activists blame on the 2010 Olympics. Crawling over the garbage can were mice, rats, a bedbug, and sitting on top was a cockroach.


Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be better if the money used to organize the Poverty Olympics and to buy these props instead be used to feed the homeless? Every time there is a protest or a demonstration, I assume to some degree money is spent. Wouldn't it be better to take all that money and spend it on clothing/feeding those in need which would provide more immediate relief?

Rachel davis said...

I share your concern, but in this case, it's said that the Poverty Olumpics only cost six dollars.

Anonymous said...

I thought Bob Sarti was joking when he was on stage saying that the 2010 Olympics has a budget of 6 billion, and we had a budget of 6 dollars.

rachel davis said...

Could very well be, I wasn't there, so I didn't catch the tone, it was something I saw on NowPublic. You think it's just a joke he said? It's true , those kinda/ high quality plastic vermin look like they cost $6 right there..........

reliable sources said...

Bob Sarti, the Master of Ceremonies at the Poverty Olympics, was a Vancouver Sun reporter for decades and I'm sure he was conscious of tossing out a line that the media would repeat: "They have a six billion dollar budget, we have a six dollar budget." The Globe & Mail took the bait and then NowPublic picked it up from the Globe.

But there was no way that event had a budget of six dollars.

Poverty Olympics t-shirts with the Olympic torch on the front were worn by several welfare recipients in the march and by Jean Swanson. (See photo of Swanson on post, "A Game at Poverty Olympics: Stretching the Truth".) Somebody paid for that run of t-shirts and it wasn't those welfare recipients.

At the end of the event, Wendy Pederson was thanked by Jean Swanson for being the "uber" organizer. Pederson is paid a good salary for working for the Carnegie Action Project. She's not a volunteer. The Carnegie Action Project has a budget as they are operating on a grant, from VanCity if I remember correctly.

The supplies required to make the placards for the march were presumably provided for free to the low income participants. What regularly occurs before marches on the DTES, is that people are invited to make placards in a meeing room in an apartment building nearby, and the materials are provided.

Bob Sarti wore a rat costume with a cap with round black ears like the mouseketeers used to wear. Somebody paid for that. Maybe he used his own money.

The cockroach costume, Swanson announced, had been made at a Neighbourhood House. Again, somebody paid for those supplies. Maybe some of them were donated. Maybe the paint was already available in an arts and crafts section of the Neighbourhood House.

Also, a heap of sandwiches were served at the Poverty Olympics, along with coffee and juice. Those refreshments were made under the supervision of Carnegie kitchen staff, although it's possible that the Carnegie Association/Action Project contributed money toward the supplies. On the back of the Poverty Olympics programme, Catriona and Jacquie were thanked for the Cockroach cake. Those two women are union employees in the kitchen. So a certain amount of the labour time involved in the Poverty Olympics was that of City unionized workers. And we know who pays for that.

Also Ethel Whitty and Dan Tetrault were sitting in the crowd in the theatre during the Olympics, getting a combined wage of almost $200,000 a year from the City. [These two delivered a letter to a homeless man barring him from Carnegie after he was duly elected to the Board. A medal for hypocrisy anyone?) Tetrault raised concerns about the packed crowd possibly violating fire regulations. But other than that, these two were simply expensive props in the theatre. There were other employees around as well.

[It could be argued that the community center staff are supposed to support community events held in the Carnegie Center. But why are only left-wing groups permitted to hold events in the Carnegie theatre? No group with opposing political views has ever been allowed to hold an event there, to my knowledge. Only the NDP or COPE need apply. Excuse me, a UFO convention was allowed about 20 years ago; they have more tolerance for aliens than they do for Liberals or Conservatives.]

There is no way the budget for this event was six dollars.

Dag said...

I feel so used! I feel so cheated!

I stood in line for hours to get an autograph of the formerly famous Bionic Bob, aka the Six Dollar Man, and now there's a question of whether he's not really some cheap Lefty rat. I want my money back.

Yeah, the six dollars I think i donated. You remember, don't you? It had the Queen's picture on it. That was my money. I'd like it back. Bionic Bob can pay for his own publicity stunts.