Thursday, September 27, 2012

Olympic Legacies?

An article in yesterday's Globe and Mail questioning the long-term benefits of Cultural Olympiads for local artists and arts communities. Apparently attendance at marquee galleries and museums in London plunged in the lead-up to the most recent Summer Games. And Robert Everett-Green does a good job documenting the wholesale negative consequences the Olympics and BC's giveth-with-one-hand-and-taketh-away-with-the-other approach to cultural funding has had on the Vancouver arts community, where we are down one regional theatre company, and where granting levels still haven't returned to pre-Olympics levels.

Meanwhile over at the Georgia Straight a Vancouver Olympics-related scandal of potentially momentous consequence. Investigative reporter Laura Robinson has uncovered that former VANOC CEO John Furlong, celebrated far and wide in this province and country for his stewardship of the 2010 Games, appears to have deliberately fudged key details from his personal and professional past, including when he arrived in Canada. In his 2011 autobiography, Patriot Hearts, Furlong claims he emigrated to this country in 1974, to take up a teaching position at a high school in Prince George. In fact, Furlong arrived in 1969 as an Oblate Frontier Apostle missionary, working at a Residential School in Burns Lake. Several former students at the school have signed affidavits testifying to Furlong's mental and physical abuse.

We'll see where this story goes, but kudos to Robinson and the Straight for breaking it. I guess the fact that Gary Mason co-wrote Patriot Hearts with Furlong meant that the Globe was not interested in pursuing questions about Furlong's CV.


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