The Vancouver Scrum

On the move!

Agh! You’re still here? My new site and weblog, is now up and running; new posts are building up over there, never to be mirrored here. Go! What are you waiting for? All the stuff worth keeping has been migrated over to the new server, and I don’t anticipate making any more posts here.

Bloggers and webmasters: Update your links! Simply replace with in your blogrolls or bookmarks to point to the new site. Old posts will remain on this server for as long as the people at Blogger/Google allow them to remain; unfortunately, I’m not going to bother to come up with any way of converting permalinks on this blog to their corresponding posts on the new site. Yes, I plead laziness. I also realize the irony of switching away from Blogger just it starts to add features that the demanding blog nerds insist upon.

Thanks for reading and linking, and see you over at!

—Ian King, December 13, 2004

Saturday, March 08, 2003

It's all about the boots!

The Olympic scrutinizers were in town this week, putting the Vancouver bid for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games under the microscope, fending off the occasional anti-Olympics protest, and schmoozing with Vancouver politicians and luminaries. One of those pols was Premier Gordon Campbell, who made a blunder unnoticed by many, but what to any avid skier is an atrocity.

By G.D. Maxwell

Okay, now I’m worried.

Last week it seemed as though the whole Olympics thing was more or less in the bag. I was convinced, not to say fatalistic, the Games were ours to lose. Like most Whistleratics I talk to, I was already designing a Web site to sublet my suite for the run of the Olympics at a price guaranteed to support me comfortably in my retirement. With those wacky North Koreans threatening to launch the Nuclear Winter Games and the truculent Euros overreaching for five out of the next six Games, tiny, perfect Whistler seemed a pretty good bet.

Now I’m not so sure.

It’s not the length of the highway that’s got me in a lather after offhanded comments by the chief evaluation wanker. No matter how long the Sea-to-Sky highway is – and who’da thought Vancouver was too far away – it seems longer in the morning… after coffee… with no comfort stations… and a broken toilet on the bus.

Besides, like the man said, pump $600 mil into it and it’ll seem much shorter. Which brings up an interesting point.

When Nagano was going to get the Winter Olympics they needed faster transportation to and from Tokyo. So they spent a whole lot of dough for a high speed bullet train. Everybody was thrilled. But now, with such fast, easy, high speed access, nobody stays at Nagano’s hotels anymore. They come for the day and bullet home for dinner. The hoteliers hate it. Not that there’s any lesson we might take away from their experience.

No, the real reason I fear we may lose the Olympics can be laid at the feet of our very own Preemie, Slash Gordon. He was up Monday to ski with Big Jean, hobnob with the IOC, catch some rays and do some turns. I’m sure between gladhanding, musing about privatizing the liquor store and checking out some possible casino sites, he thought all was going well. Nice sunny day, everything spit and polish, no jackknifed tanker on the road, virtual demonstrators.

Yet, without even knowing it, he was probably responsible for scuttling the bid. The evidence was right there in the Vancouver newspaper, the tabloid one, not the other one. I can never keep them straight. Standing next to Big Jean, smilin’ his goofy smile – the one that always makes him look like he’s been drinking even though I believe him when he says he’s quit – flashing a meaningless and trite thumbs-up, decked out in comp ski suits that had to be some of the least colourful, least fashionable, most drab threads on the slopes, there was the coup de grace.

Rear-entry boots!

Old – is there any other kind – rear-entry boots. Looked like maybe Salomon SX-61s or Nordicas. Boots generally seen around Whistler at the compactor or along someone’s deck with pansies growing out of them. Someone once said, I think it was Toulouse, the best thing you can do with rear-entry boots is let your cat have kittens in ’em. But there they were.

From all reports, the IOC guys were pretty good skiers. Ditto, of course, Ken Read, Pod, Jose and the rest of the entourage. What must they have thought? What sniggers and jokes must have been floating around the bus on the way back to Van.

I am so profoundly embarrassed for Premier Campbell – and yes, I must fess up: I once owned a pair of rear-entry boots – I can’t bring myself to make fun of him. I feel a gushing wellspring of pity and empathy, much as I felt one day on a plane for an unfortunate woman who tucked her skirt into the top of her pantyhose and walked the length of the jet’s aisle with a tsunami of giggles swelling in her wake.

Something has to be done and I’m the guy to do it. Gordon’s, and by extension, all of B.C.’s, honour and credibility needs to be restored. Something dramatic is called for, something paradigm-shifting, something outside the box thinking, something envelope pushing. In other words, something Gordon would never have a hope in hell of coming up with himself.

And I think I know just what it is.

Legalize pot. Trademark B.C. Bud.

I know what you’re thinking. That’s my solution to everything. Whatever. But the arguments in favour of this bold, dramatic step are overwhelming, nay, irrefutable.

Let’s just examine the benefits of acting decisively. First and foremost, if Gordon gathers all the media around him tomorrow and says, "I’m legalizing pot in B.C.," everyone will forget entirely about his peccadillo in Maui… and his boots. Given the likelihood the US government would bar him from ever entering the United States again, he wouldn’t even have to show up in court later this month to hear his sentence. It’d be like those old Nazi war criminals; he’d just be sentenced in absentia.

Overnight, he’d be the darling of the world press. "B.C. Legalizes Pot" would push Iraq, al Qaeda, North Korea, and voter fraud in Florida off the front pages of newspapers around the world. Such a daring move would garner more publicity for our stoned mountain province than the Olympics ever could. All for free.

Not just free. Economically, legalizing the largest or second largest industry in B.C. would immediately lift us from the quagmire of being a Have-Not province to being the hippest Have-and-would-be-glad-to-share-with-you province. The potential tax revenue from B.C. Bud ought to warm the cockles of Gordon’s laissez faire, free-market heart.

Unemployed forestry workers would be employed. It’d solve the fast ferry fiasco. Instead of selling ’em for scrap, turn ’em into grow-ops… that deliver. Tourism would boom. Better still, tourists would want to come back again and again because they wouldn’t be able to remember whether they’d been here or not.

Of course, there would be some downsides. For one, I think legalizing pot is a federal thing. Who cares? So is Medicare but it doesn’t stop Ralph and Ernie from allowing private clinics. Besides, the feds would be glad to take the transfer payments.

The RCMP might balk at the whole thing. Might have to earmark some of the tax proceeds to their benevolent association, nudge-nudge, wink-wink.

The US would go ape-****. What with so many citizens lined up outside the B.C. border seeking refugee status or trying to bribe people going in to buy them some, they’d probably just shut us down. Like that’d work. Bush might decide to invade us. But we’d have a chemical weapon that would leave the troops giggling in their gas masks.

Clearly, these are desperate times calling for desperate measures. C’mon Gordon; do the right thing. Make us proud to be British Columbians again. Don’t bogart this opportunity.

Or at least lose the boots, dude.

(G. D. Maxwell is a columnist and feature writer for Pique Newsmagazine, Whistler's most-read publication; this information did not accompany the orginal posting. My apologies.)

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