SBD/Issue 93/Olympics

Olympic Notes: Anti-Olympic Activists Withdraw Lawsuit

In Vancouver, Gery Bellett reported anti-Olympic activists have "withdrawn their lawsuit against the City of Vancouver following amendments to some controversial bylaws that placed restrictions on anti-games protests and where they could take place." Univ. of B.C. professor Chris Shaw and Alissa Westergard-Thorpe "filed the suit in response to bylaws they claimed offended civil liberties and violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms." Shaw on Monday said, "The city has rewritten those bylaws. We see it as a good tactical victory and I think we've got most of the stuff we wanted -- about 80[%] of it." B.C. Civil Liberties Association Exec Dir David Eby said that the "most contentious parts of the bylaws, which outlawed any Olympic protests within a 40-block zone in downtown Vancouver, have been rescinded" (VANCOUVER SUN, 1/26).

SECURITY SYSTEM: In DC, Spencer Hsu noted Canada will spend close to $1B on security for the Vancouver Games, while "American eyes also will be scanning the land, sky and seas from south of the border." U.S. officials said that their security presence for the Games "will be understated and in support of Canadian forces," but the Games "will nevertheless mark the largest-ever test of North American security coordination for a major border event." U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA) said, "In terms of hosting the Games, they are Canada's Games. But the fact of the matter is security of the Games has to extend beyond the Canadian border" (WASHINGTON POST, 1/23).

Canadian Government Gives Priority Access To
Olympic Tickets To Politicians, Bureaucrats
PLAYING POLITICS: In Vancouver, Jeff Lee reported Canada's federal government is "using its access to Olympic tickets to give priority to politicians, bureaucrats and others who will get some of the best seats in the house during" the Games. Of the "nearly 1,500 tickets that the government has received, more than half will go to MPs, senators and bureaucrats who were able to put in their own orders in advance of the public." Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore said that "more than half of the $447,000 spent on the tickets will be recovered from MPs and senators who have to pay out of their own pocket." Lee noted both the federal and provincial governments "insist taxpayers are only paying for tickets used to advance government agendas, not for anyone merely to have a good time" (VANCOUVER SUN, 1/24).

RED HOT: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Reed Albergotti wrote Canadians are "clamoring to get their fingers inside commemorative red mittens before the Olympics." Some of the proceeds from sales of the mittens, which are sold by Hudson's Bay Co. and retail for C$10, are "going to benefit Canadian athletics and training programs." They are "so popular they're out of stock on the retailer's Web site, as well as" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/26).

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