With just two years to go before the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, the Poverty Olympics were held on Sunday. Participants marched up Hastings St. to Carnegie Center on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside carrying an Olympic torch and a banner in which the Olympic rings were handcuffs. Inside the Carnegie Center theatre, a packed audience watched as medals were awarded for such games as: Welfare Hurdles, Bed Bug Broadjump, Buy-athon, and Poverty Line High Jump. 

But another game was clearly being played here: Stretching the Truth.

Jean Swanson (photo above), representing ‘Raise the [Welfare] Rates’ and the ‘Carnegie Action Project’, told the crowd that one reason the Poverty Olympics had been organized was to draw the world’s attention to the fact that: “People in Canada, like people in poorer countries, have to search through garbage for food and things to sell. In Canada. So they can survive.”
Swanson deserved a medal, at least a Silver. She must have spent years in training to stretch the truth that far.
Nobody in Vancouver needs to go through garbage as a means of survival. Bill Simpson, a homeless man on the Downtown Eastside, says he doesn’t get welfare, has no source of income, yet never goes through the garbage. He eats at the charity places, the Salvation Army and churches which offer free food on a daily basis.
To read the rest of this original article, go to Downtown Eastside Enquirer
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