Olympic-size protest

Campus group organizes a week of events to raise awareness about the National Olympic Resistance Network

Fraser MacPherson, Olympic Awareness Week event organizer and ArtSci ’12, says the group’s goal isn’t to stop the Olympics.
Fraser MacPherson, Olympic Awareness Week event organizer and ArtSci ’12, says the group’s goal isn’t to stop the Olympics.

Queen’s will join other universities across the country next week to raise awareness about the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, event organizer Fraser MacPherson, ArtSci ’12, said.

Olympic Awareness Week, which runs from Nov. 16 to 22, aims to educate the Queen’s and Kingston community about the negative issues surrounding the Winter Games, he said.

The week is run by Resist2010, an Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) working group, which is part of the National Olympic Resistance Network.

MacPherson said one of the issues the group wants to raise awareness about is the unresolved indigenous land claims in British Columbia.

Land that Aboriginal peoples haven’t ceded is being used for Olympic construction projects, he said.

MacPherson said the group also wants to protest the treatment of Vancouver’s homeless people in preparation for the Games.

Vancouver implemented Project Civil City, which is an initiative in the downtown area that looks at “solving homelessness and improving public order,” according to the city’s website.

“They’re cleaning up in a way that involves clearing out people who are homeless,” MacPherson said.

One of the events planned is a protest on Nov. 21 in front of the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) on Princess St., he said.

“We’re also in opposition to the corporate nature of the Olympics,” he said, adding that the RBC is one of the major sponsors of the 2010 Olympics.

RBC has a large investment in the oil sands in Alberta and the bank has been criticised by many groups nationally and internationally, MacPherson said.

The group will read a death-in at the protest.

“It’s a eulogy for all of the things that British Columbia has killed for the Olympics,” he said, adding that he thinks the Sea-to-Sky highway constructed between Vancouver and Whistler has caused ecological damage.

MacPherson said he thinks Kingston is a good place to raise awareness because it’s one of the celebration cities of the Olympic Torch Relay.

The relay is where the Olympic torch makes pit stops in various Canadian cities.

“Our goal is not to stop [the Olympics] from happening; it’s out of our control,” he said. “The goal is to be in solidarity with the activists in B.C. We want people to be aware of what’s happening and that things need to change.” MacPherson said the Kingston community has so far been supportive and receptive of the group’s efforts. Last year, the group organized a protest at an Olympics event and received positive feedback about it, he said.

“We’re really excited about this week and the opportunity to engage the community.”

For a list of events, please see resist2010.opirgkingston.org.

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