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At the Senator

THE PUNDITS’ PONDER

would have gone into the fetal position and started beating ourselves up saying, “oh woe is us, the Brit- ish and the Americans think we’re a failure.” In fact, the reaction was quite the opposite in a lot of ways. It was a shrug of the shoulders, or in some cases a response of, “well who the hell are you to criticise us you British bastards? We’ll see you in 2012.”

MS: It was giving them the middle finger. The other thing I find interesting is the lack of political personalities involved in this Olympics versus, specifically the last two. If you look at the Montreal Olympics, there are towering figures that come out through this, Drapeau and Levesque in particular, and in Alberta, certainly Klein.

RS: Yes.

MS: This was their signature. For Klein, certainly, it was a major lift for him, subsequently running one year later for the legislature, and then ultimately becoming premier. A signature piece of the Klein story was the success of the Olympics. Just as the failure, or perceived failure, of the Montreal Olym- pics played so poorly for the legacy of Drapeau. What I find interesting in this Olympics is that Vancouver’s mayor Gregor Robertson is on no one’s radar. No one knows who he is.

CR: What’s surprised me about these Games is that we’ve intentionally made them small. Unlike the kind of big dreams of Montreal and Alberta, where we wanted them to look like every other games that had occurred. Think of the opening ceremonies by comparison. There’s been a humility about the Van- couver Games. It was going to be smaller. It was going to be a little bit more humble. I mean, even the Prime Minister essentially discouraged politi- cians from attending by saying that everyone had to pay their way full freight. These Games reflect a little bit of the grumpy, parsimonious Canada that didn’t want them in the first place and didn’t want the cel- ebration and the big hangover that came afterwards. It has been the technocratic Games.

MS: I don’t get that at all. RS: I don’t agree with that. CR: Well, that’s how I see it.

MS: Walking through the lobbies of buildings in Ottawa, there are televisions set up. Across from my office there are actually bleachers set up for people to watch large screen televisions. What I find sur-

38 Politics | Canadian Edition

prising is how the Games, from a Canadian stand- point, is now about more than just hockey. In truth, if we win a gold medal in hockey, I’m happy.

RS: Yeah.

MS: That’s all I really care about. What I find inter- esting is that average people on the street are talk- ing about the skeleton and the two-man bobsled.

RS: The flip side of it is that the television numbers for hockey are staggering.

MS: For everything it’s staggering.

RS: Yeah, but hockey’s something else. 21 million Canadians watched at least part of a hockey game this week. It wasn’t the gold medal match. 21 mil- lion people. 2 in 3 Canadians. It’s a staggering, staggering number. The other observation that I’d make is maybe personal, but with political implica- tions, it’s about social media. The proliferation of news and that primary news is being disseminated through Facebook and Twitter. It’s faster to find out if Canada just won a medal going on to Twitter or Facebook than it is going to the Globe and Mail or Toronto Star’s website. It’s by definition quicker to update social media, but it’s become a trusted source for primary news and reporting on what just happened. That has implications.

MS: Something else that’s really shocked me and I don’t know if this is simply a function of security, but I would have thought that all sorts of third par- ty action groups would have been making noise, but it’s been relatively quiet.

RS: What do we make of the whole issue of French in the opening ceremonies?

MS: It’s the Vancouver Organizing Committee. It’s important, I think, to distinguish who had control over what, and in truth, I think if I were the politi- cians, I would have wanted more control over the entire show from beginning to end.

RS: It looked like a presentation on Canada in the language of an Australian, and the experience of an Australian. It was how an Australian would see Canada. That opening ceremony didn’t speak to my Canada and I thought the lack of French was inappropriate for a bilingual country. I’m not blaming the Harper government for that. It wasn’t in their control, and it would have been inappropriate in some ways for them to be in control. Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69
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