Green Olympics

Earlier, we reported some environmental groups were offered provincial-government purchased 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games tickets. But which groups actually used them? Well, here's the list - according to a Public Eye review of the government's 216-page report on integrated hosting and ticketing.

* Climate Project Canada outreach manager Andrea Foster (Vancouver Victory Ceremony featuring rock band Theory of a Deadman, $100)

Ms. Foster did not respond to a request for comment.

* David Suzuki Foundation senior marketing coordinator Ducan Owen, aquatic biologist Jeffery Young and team lead Jason Curran (Vancouver Victory Ceremony featuring Theory of a Deadman, $300)

Minister of State for Climate Action John Yap offered the tickets to a member of one of the foundation's partner organizations after he was forced to cancel a meeting with her. The partner organization wasn't able to use those tickets so they were passed along to the foundation, according to David Suzuki spokesperson Ian Hanington.

* ForestEthics climate director Merran Smith (Vancouver Victory Ceremony featuring country music singer Paul Brandt, $100)

Ms. Smith did not respond to a request for comment.

* Organizing for Change provincial lead Lisa Matthaus (Vancouver Victory Ceremony featuring Mr. Brandt, $100)

Ms. Matthaus told Public Eye she "got a call on the morning of the event that the minister was hosting a box at the stadium for the award's ceremony that evening. I had been trying to get a meeting with the minister for several weeks at that point and had been unable to - largely, apparently, due to the Olympic schedules. So I thought, 'I will take advantage of this because the environment needs every chance it can get.'"

1 Comment

I'm as supportive of Green causes as anyone, but $300 for tickets here and hundreds more elsewhere very quickly add up to thousands and then tens of thousands and... etc. And to achieve what? What would have happened if Ms Matthaus' meeting with the minister had had to wait another week? Did she really think that a rowdy victory ceremony with a rock band blasting out eardrums was going to be the most conducive setting to discuss serious environmental issues?

We were spending what (millions in the end?) on these tickets and VIP parties at the same time the Province was shutting down children's sports programs and cutting education services, or turning away desperate, exhausted parents, saying they couldn't afford afford a few hundred dollars for a weekend's respite from 24/7 care for an extremely challenging disabled teen, or a couple hundred dollars there to give a child with Down Syndrome access to speech therapy sessions.

There are hundred of other examples where a couple hundred dollars could have made a real and marked difference in the life of so many British Columbians facing enormous challenges.

And where is the long list of outcomes showing that BC taxpayers received any proven benefits that stemmed directly from these sorts of expenditures?

I wonder, did any of the invitees consider suggesting that the Province sell those tickets instead and put the money towards more worthy causes? Like even, say, restoring environmental programs that have seen such deep budget cuts.

Meanwhile, Sean, I hope you will continue to inform us on who else benefitted from these provincial handouts and what the total bills was. Perhaps even follow the recent example from Ontario's G20 summit security costs, and give your readers some examples of what else all that money could have bought us.

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