Furlong doesn't get it. I doubt Closing Ceremonies will be more inclusive of Vancouver's Multicultural Diversity

I
don't think Furlong “gets it”.

Reflecting multicultural diversity isn't
about presenting stereotypes to the world or having “token heads of
state” – It's about how we as generations of so-called “visible
minorities” live our lives and make ourselves included in the
mainstream.

My God… even bagpipes weren't included
somewhere in the opening ceremonies, and our first Canadian Prime
Minister, first BC Premier and first Vancouver mayor were born in
Scotland. We have more bagpipers in Canada than there are in Scotland.
And the Chinese immigrants played major roles in BC history including
the railway, the head tax and chinese food restaurants.

Furlong
assures closing ceremony will reflect everyone

 

Visible-minority
groups, francophone leaders complained of opening ceremony snub

 

By Randy
Shore , with files from
Lindsay Kines, Vancouver Sun; with files from Canwest News Service
February 18, 2010

Vancouver
Olympic CEO John Furlong will not make changes to the closing ceremony of the
Winter Olympic Games despite complaints from leaders of the city's ethnic
groups about the content of the opening ceremony.

High-profile
members of some ethnic communities — including Sukhi Sandhu and S.U.C.C.E.
S.S. chairman Peter Kwok — had complained that the opening ceremony omitted a
crucial aspect of Canadian life, the culture mosaic and the role of immigrants
in Canadian society.

Sandhu,
an anti-racism activist and community volunteer who lives in Surrey ,
wrote to Furlong seeking a meeting with the Vancouver Organizing Committee to
air their concerns, but four days later Sandhu has no reply.

Sandhu
and others had hoped that visible minorities could be better showcased in the
closing ceremony.

Furlong
stressed Wednesday that the closing ceremony is already planned and that it
will leave little doubt about “who we are and who is here.”

He said
telling the story of a country made up of people from all over the world is a
complex task, but the opening ceremony did a good job of reflecting
Canada .

“We
feel like having a good cry,” said Sandhu. “We are surprised that it
takes this much energy to bring some common sense to people.”

“I'm
not going to call any more, I'm not going to beg,” Sandhu said.

The
opening ceremony included strong first nations participation both in the show
and the dignitaries box. Four local first nations chiefs sat as heads of state
to welcome the world along with Canada 's
Gov.-Gen. Michaelle Jean and Premier Gordon Campbell.

But the
show contained little to represent the country's other major ethnic groups,
critics said.

Canadian
Heritage and Official Languages Minister James Moore, Liberal leader Michael
Ignatieff and Quebec Premier Jean Charest complained that the ceremony didn't
include enough French language content.

Canada's
Commissioner of Official Languages Graham Fraser will be investigating the
complaints, but because his mandate only allows him to probe federal institutions,
he will confine his investigation to Moore 's
heritage ministry, according to an e-mail sent to Canwest News Service by
Fraser's office.

Fraser
will release a preliminary report on the level of bilingualism at the Games
following their conclusion.

The
complaints hinge on the $20 million in funding that Heritage Canada gave to the
Vancouver Organizing Committee for the opening ceremony, the most-watched
televised event in Canadian history.

“There
is an agreement between the federal government … and Vanoc that came with a
certain amount of funding,” said Robin Cantin, a spokesman for the
language commissioner's office. “And that agreement came with some
language provisions.”

Langara
College sociologist Indira Prahst will watch the
closing ceremony carefully for signs of respect to
Canada 's visible minorities, but
she is not satisfied with Vanoc's response to complaints.

“I
want to be blunt: This should have been addressed at the very outset,” she
said. “We should have showcased our diversity. Is this just a quick
response meant to pacify the community?”

“That's
really not enough,” she said. “I told Sukhi and the others that they
were unrealistic to expect major changes [to the ceremony] because there is so
much work, planning and technology that goes into it.”

“But
they could have a person from a visible minority speak.”

rshore@vancouversun.com

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver
Sun

 

http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/2010wintergames/Furlong+assures+closing+ceremony+will+reflect+everyone/2579637/story.html

 

More visible minorities at closing, VANOC
hints

Last Updated: Thursday, February 18, 2010
| 9:26 AM PT
Comments14Recommend22

CBC News

VANOC CEO John Furlong is hinting
Canada 's racial
diversity may be better represented in the closing ceremony of the Winter
Olympics after criticism that ethnic minorities were mostly missing from the
opening.

With its large South Asian and Chinese
communities, Metro Vancouver is one of
Canada 's most diverse regions.
Forty-one per cent of residents are part of visible minorities. But none of
that diversity appeared in the big show that opened the 2010 Winter Games on
Feb 12, critics say.

'We can't force ourselves on VANOC
if they don't welcome us.'
— Charan
Gill, CEO of Progressive Intercultural Community Services

Canadian-born Sukhi Sandhu wrote a letter
to Furlong, saying Olympic organizers missed an opportunity during the final
torch-lighting ceremony “to represent our nation's diversity.”

Sandhu said he and his family are proud
Canadians and excited to attend events at the Games, but he was disappointed
visible minorities were excluded from key roles during the opening ceremony.

“If I look at the eight individuals
who carried the Olympic flag and the final torchbearers, who are all rightfully
outstanding Canadians — no one is disputing that — however, out of
13 people there isn't one outstanding visible minority that you could think of
— David Suzuki, Donovan Bailey, Jerome Iginla or Daniel Igali,”
Sandu said.

Closing ceremony could offer more

It is not the first time the opening
ceremony has been criticized for its lack of diversity. Federal Heritage
Minister James Moore said earlier this week that “there should have been
more French.”

On Wednesday, Furlong defended the opening
ceremony but hinted the closing on Feb. 28 will be different.

“We did a very good job of showing
Canada and we
had a goal to tell a story, and at the closing ceremony … we will have a
very certain kind of celebration, and I don't think you'll have any doubt when
the ceremonies are over who we are and who's here.”

Sandhu said he doesn't want to just see
bhangra dancers or hear drumbeats. He wants to see accomplished visible
minorities represented in the closing ceremony.

“Our nation is a cultural mosaic, and
our diversity is our strength and frankly I am surprised in 2010 we need to
continue educating our leaders on this Canadian value,” he wrote.
“There is no shame or justifiable reason to not showcase this significant
part of our nation’s identity.”

His concerns are echoed by Peter Kwok, the
chairman of the immigrant services organization SUCCESS, which provides
services for new Chinese Canadians.

“You know we have Chinese New Year,
just a few days ago and when attending all those New Year's celebrations I have
been chatting with people and I've heard from quite a few people that they,
too, feel that it was a spectacular show,” Kwok said. “And they only
wish that they had a bit more portrayal of the multiculturalism in
Canada .”

Charan Gill, the CEO of the Progressive
Intercultural Community Services, an immigrant organization based in
Surrey , B.C., said he tried to reach out to VANOC to
encourage more visible minorities to get involved and volunteer for the Games
but got no response.

“We can't force ourselves on VANOC if
they don't welcome us,” he said.

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2010/02/18/bc-visible-minorities-olympic-ceremonies.html#ixzz0fuevX1Y4

  http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2010/02/18/bc-visible-minorities-olympic-ceremonies.html

   

Vancouver
2010 Opening Ceremonies: What's wrong with this picture?

by Todd
on Sat 13 Feb 2010 11:27 PM PST 

I watched the opening ceremonies of the
Vancouver 2010 Olympics, and something didn't sit right with me. 
Vancouver is always being
touted as a multicultural city.  It is the “most Asian” city in
North America .  It is the city with the most
mixed-race relationships.

It was very nice to see a welcome from the Four Host Nations of Lil'Wat,
Musqueam, Squamish, and Tseil-Waututh nations.  Four totem poles were
raised, and each host nation welcomed the world in their own language, followed
by English and French.  And then other First Nations groups from across
Canada , were
also recognized: from the North; the East; and the Prairies.  It was a
wonderful way to acknowledge and infuse First Nations culture into the Opening
Ceremonies.

I also enjoyed how the many regions of
Canada were represented during the
Opening ceremonies.  The prairies of W.O. Mitchell's “Who Has Seen
The Wind”… the snow of the north… the fiddling of the Maritimes,
Quebec and the
East.  The killer whales were my favorite part.  Projected images of
light, moving across the floor, punctuated by actual puffs of water, to
simulate the exhaling of the whales.  But during after the fiddling was
over, I asked myself – “Where are the Chinese fiddles or erhus that are
part of Vancouver 's
multicultural music scene, and it's cultural history of 150 years of
immigration.  Where is the erhu from Madeleine Thein's children's book
“The Chinese violin”

It was an exciting moment to recognize and identify each of the flag carriers,
as the Olympic flag was brought in.  Donald Sutherland, Betty Fox, Barbara
Ann Scott, Gilles Villaneuve, Bobby Orr, Julie Payette, Anne Murray and Gen.
Romeo Dallaire.  I was especially excited to see Betty Fox, because I have
personally met her many times, as I have been a member of Terry's Team since
1993 – cancer survivors who speak at Terry Fox Runs and at schools.

Then anticipation for the final torch bearer.  A silouette of a man in a
wheel chair! Yay! It is Rick Hansen – my favorite choice to be the lighter of
the cauldron.  Rick passes the flame to Catriona Le May Doan, who passes
the flame to Wayne Gretzky, who passes the flame to Nancy Greene Raine. 
All four stand, as the caudron rises from the floor.  All four light the
cauldron together.  Whoops, only 3 light the cauldron, because one pillar
didn't rise out of the floor.  Was this a sign?  Was it a symbol?

But, I also saw a lack of diversity in the flag carriers and final torch
bearers.  While recognize and admirer each of the chosen flag carriers and
final torch bearers for their individual accomplishments and contributions to
Canadian society.

But…. if all the flag carriers, and final torch bearers had been male, we
would hear women complaining.  If all the flag carriers and final torch
bearers had been Anglophone, then the Francophones would be complaining. 
And if all the flag carriers and final torch bearers were blonde, would
brunettes, red heads and black haired people be complaining?  Yes!

Part of the selling point for winning the Olympic bid, is that Vancouver
is a multicultural city, and Canada 's
“Gateway to the Pacific.” Politicians and VANOC have been proudly
telling the world that every athlete from every competing nation will find
somebody in Vancouver
that speaks their language, cooks their food and could welcome them to their
home.

And yes, David Suzuki, is a wonderful choice. He was the top living
“Greatest Canadian” in the CBC show and #5 overall.  Tommy
Douglas was #1 (whose son-in-law was flag carrier Donald Sutherland) and Terry
Fox was #2 (whose mother was Betty Fox, another flag carrier).  Wayne
Gretzky was #10.  Romeo Dallaire was #16, Bobby Orr #19 and Rick Hansen
#30. Chief Dan George was #80, Donovan Bailey #89, and Anne Murray #94.

There are many past gold medalists that could have been included.  Lori
Fung (gold LA 1984 Rhythmic Gymnastics).  Alwyn Morris (Gold & Bronze
LA 1984 Kayak-pairs) who had held up an eagle feather on the podium, Donovan
Bailey (Goldx2 Atlanta 1996 100m + 4X100 Relay), Daniel Igali (Gold Sydney 2000
Wrestling), Carol Huynh (Gold Beijing 2008 Wrestling), and Jerome Iginla (Gold
Salt Lake City 2002 Hockey).  Just the inclusion of one of these
medalists, or all of them, passing the flame onto the final four would have been
a tremendous inclusive moment.

Remember that Sydney 2000 chose Cathy Freeman, an aboriginal to light the
cauldron.  Atlanta 96 had Muhammad Ali.

VANOC opening ceremonies missed a chance to showcase the diversity of both
Vancouver and
Canada , and that we are just as
proud of ALL our Canadians too!

Maybe many people would have said “Who?” if Alwyn Morris had been
holding an eagle feather in one hand, and a torch in the other, if he had
walked into BC Place with the Olympic Flame – but it would have been both an
educational and a proud moment for all Canadians.  Morris is the first and
only Canadian aboriginal to win an Olympic gold medal.

It could have been a proper bookend to the inclusion of First Nations people –
in how we have overcome Canada's racist history of residential schools and
apartheid reservations, head tax and exclusion acts, internment camps and
property confiscation – not how we still portray First Nations peoples as
stereotypes in traditional costume, dancing and beating drums.

http://www.gunghaggisfatchoy.com/blog/_archives/2010/2/14/4455481.html

 

 

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