One thing is becoming perfectly clear in all the hoopla surrounding the 2010 Vancouver Olympic bid. Nothings very clear. Murkiness abounds.
Larry Campbell, the newly elected mayor of Vancouver, ran on a promise to hold a referendum hes now recast the vote as a Vancouver-wide plebiscite on the bid. Finally! Now that hes won, the BidCorp and its supporters are circling the wagons. Preemie Campbell, The Niblet, Jack Poole and various other hangers-on are all saying the same thing, "The time is past to hold a referendum. Its too late."
While that statement may have a ring of truth to it, it sounds uncomfortably like some guy telling his girlfriend, whos just announced shes pregnant, that hes not ready for fatherhood and maybe they shouldnt have sex. Its only too late to have a democratic vote because the people complaining about it being too late are the ones who stubbornly chose not to hold one in the first place. Having engineered an intolerable situation, they shouldnt be crying its intolerable now. Power to da people.
Exemplified in this is the arrogance of business and government. Its an arrogance inherent in the human condition. Its paternalism run amok. "We know whats best for you," which is, after all, an insincere way of saying, "We know whats best for us and if you know whats best for you, youll just go along with us on this one and keep your mouths shut." The Olympics isnt about athletic excellence and its only marginally about national pride. Its about money. Money and commerce. Those things are all about power. And we all know what Orwell had to say about power. Oink,oink.
A spillover of this arrogance is playing itself out in the confines of Whistlers muni hall. The issue is the future development of the Callaghan valley which is to say, the future development of Whistler. Whistlers been promised delivered depending on who you ask 300 acres in the Callaghan as a land bank, one of our Olympic legacies.
One of the best arguments supporting Whistler embracing this gift is enabling the municipality to extend its influence over the Callaghan and shape future development in the area. If we dont do it, the argument goes, its up for grabs, which is to say itll be developed by someone who probably has no regard whatsoever for the kind of development we might like to see down there.
Any credence that argument may have had was called into question last Wednesday when The Province published a story concerning a leaked draft document prepared by the government. It outlined the governments possible strategy to buy the Squamish and Lilwat bands support for the bid. Included in that document was a plan for the "Transfer of Crown lands, including land next to the Nordic Centre, for a native-run hotel and golf course."