Photos: 2010 Poverty Olympics showcase homelessness in Vancouver
Hundreds of people gathered in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside on Sunday (February 7) to celebrate the 2010 Poverty Olympics.
With five days until the opening of the Winter Olympic Games, the third edition of the annual street-theatre event, held at the Japanese Hall, aimed to internationally embarrass the Canadian, B.C., and city governments into addressing poverty.
The message of the speakers and skits is perhaps best summed up by the "Poverty Olympics Anthem", which was sung to the tune of "O Canada" at the opening and closing of the event:
Our home on Native land.
A billion for security,
Instead of building homes.
Olympic spending has gone sky high
While thousands sleep outside.
From far and wide
Invite the world to see
A quarter million souls,
Poor and freezing cold.
Oh Canada, where is e-qual-i-ty?
Oh Canada, we are ashamed of thee.
Organizers want the provincial government to increase welfare rates by 50 percent and index them to inflation, the federal government to create and fund a national housing strategy, and the City of Vancouver to establish a moratorium on the conversion and closure of residential hotels which house low-income tenants.
Photos by Stephen Hui
Poverty Olympics torch parade.
Poverty Olympics torch.
Poverty Olympics Anthem.
DTES Power of Women Group performs Housing Hurdles.
Poverty Olympics banner.
Gordon Campbell and Stephen Harper in the Broken Promise Slalom.
Mr. Bid and Mr. Con Dough stomp on the community.
Jean Swanson's community efforts recognized at Poverty Olympics.
You can follow Stephen Hui on Twitter at twitter.com/stephenhui.