Whistler hosted its first ever Poverty Olympics on Sunday, Jan. 31, as part of a province-wide journey emphasising the devastating reality of poverty and homelessness within communities throughout BC.
The 10-foot high Poverty Olympics Torch and anti-Olympic mascots, Chewy the Rat and Creepy the Cockroach complimented the mountain backdrop.
Ironically, the two skiers who were supposed to ski down Whistler Mountain with the torch (a plunger) found out minutes before the relay that they were being evicted from their accommodations for the Olympics.
In a surprise turn of events, Vanoc's Quatchi [TM] mascot defected and joined the inspiring Olympic Torch celebrations. Quatchi appeared in the crowd, and then collapsed in front of a mock Premier Gordon Campbell (see photos). Quatchi told the crowd that he was sick of the grotesque hype, militarization, and celebration of greed represented by the Olympics and the IOC.
Whistlerites had the chance to play "Slapshots To End Poverty" where they tried to get a hockey puck past Gordo the Greedy Goalie, who persists in blocking adequate welfare, minimum wage, and social housing construction.
In the end, Quatchi was able to rise again, and the three mascots celebrated with glowing hearts.
The event was brought to town by residents and activists from the Olympic Resistance Network, Whistler Watch, Streams of Justice, and the Citywide Housing Coalition.
Hopefully the message of the Poverty Olympics will resonate with some Whistler residents and their messages are carried forth during the arrival of the corporate Coca Cola/RBC torch relay that passes through Whistler on Friday, Feb. 5.