Olympic Naysayers

Chris Shaw The outspoken neuroscientist-turned-activist uncovered money scandals, environmental disasters, and civil-liberties violations in his book Five Ring Circus. Fellow Work Less Party member Conrad Schmidt followed Shaw’s lead to create a documentary film of the same name. Where will you be during the Olympics? “Out on the streets working as a medic to keep protestors as safe as possible.”







 Susan Heyes It’s been a hard road for the local designer, who sued the city over Olympic construction—and won. The devastating impact of the Canada Line on her Cambie Street store propelled Heyes into the spotlight as a champion of small business. “I just keep reminding myself that David beat Goliath,” says Heyes of her five-year legal battle. The city is appealing her victory. Where will you be during the Olympics? “Maybe I’ll take a vacation with my daughter—I could definitely use one.”






Wendy Pedersen has fashioned herself the jester of the Olympic court. February’s Poverty Olympics, which drew crowds of 400 to see “Sweeping Poverty Aside” curling with “bailout” brooms, placed housing issues squarely in the public eye and earned a nod from the Wall Street Journal. “We’re helping our government get embarrassed in a bigger way,” she says. Where will you be during the Olympics? “I’ll definitely be at the Poverty Torch Relay and the Poverty Olympics.”






Am Johal Back during the bid process, Johal and a crew of activists and politicians pressured Vancouver 2010 into committing to additional housing and preserving civil liberties, a commitment that was eventually enshrined in the Inner-City Inclusive Commitment Agreement. He’s spent the last eight years trying, not very successfully, to hold VANOC to it. To date, Johal has made three human-rights complaints to the United Nations (the first ruling isn’t expected until April 2010). Where will you be during the Olympics? “I’m hoping to collaborate with artists engaging in activist work, and distributing information about the homeless.”





 Harry Bains  The former NDP Olympic Critic has been unpacking the Games’ initial $600-million price tag. While the media scoured the public realm, Bains drilled the ministers in the Legislative Assembly, unearthing an additional $30-million Olympic secretariat office here and a $10-million Own the Podium price tag there. Throw in a $900-million (and counting) security bill and taxpayers, he says, will soon be $7 billion deep. Where will you be during the Olympics? “I’ll be watching it on TV like most of us will be. Most of our favourite games, like hockey, you can’t even afford to go.”