Report from the road – Langley and Surrey

February 4th, 2010-->

The Torch Team met at Langley City Hall at about 8:00am on Tuesday, and soon a reporter and photographer appeared. Just as Calvin set out, the rain picked up. The truck-noise was tremendous.langley.JPG


Traveling in the road is difficult, but sidewalks meant tree-overhangs and work crews. A couple times we got around obstacles by lifting the gurney off the curb into a car-lane and quickly rolling around an obstacle, then lifting it back up onto the curb. An official bicycle lane makes all the difference. When Trish took over Tuesday afternoon, the rain stopped and a bit of sun appeared off and on. She had nice big bike lanes, mostly, but also some loooong steep hills. The old steel hospital gurney and torch are probably close to 200 lbs, so moving and steering the whole assembly was a serious workout.


She fielded media enquiries, did a video interview on the street, and stopped to admire the Olympic logo on the Surrey City Hall. On Wednesday the team completes the Surrey leg, cross the Fraser, and moves into New Westminster.surrey2.JPG

Poverty Olympics torch rolls through Surrey

February 3rd, 2010-->

Read the accompanying article in the Surrey Leader

…Protesters pushed the 10-foot wheeled faux torch through Surrey along busy Highway 10 Tuesday afternoon to highlight what they say is the province’s inadequate response to homelessness and poverty amid the lavish outlay of billions of dollars for the 2010 Olympics.

“They need to shift their priorities,” said organizer Trish Garner.

“We really want the government to put as much energy and time and public funding into ending poverty and homelessness as they have done into the Olympics.”

First Story in from the Langley to Vancouver Torch Walk!

February 3rd, 2010-->

From the Aldergrove Star:

With drivers buzzing past on their morning commute, Calvin Baird pushed the 10-foot poverty torch along the Fraser Highway.

The torch was making its way through Langley on Tuesday morning to Surrey, as it winds down its province-wide journey.

The purpose of the relay was to emphasize the devastating reality of poverty and homelessness within communities in British Columbia. The group’s slogan is ‘End poverty — It’s not a game.’

“You have 3,000 people without basic shelter in Vancouver alone, and thousands more around British Columbia,” Baird said.

“We have the greatest show on Earth in Vancouver, while thousands of people are sleeping out in the winter cold and rain. (And) child poverty is the highest in B.C. What has any kid done to deserve a home full of cockroaches and bed bugs?”

 Read more and see the great photo of Calvin and the torch here!

Photos from University of the Fraser Valley Torch Relay Event

February 3rd, 2010-->



Photos from Chilliwack Torch Relay

February 3rd, 2010-->



100 Mile House Torch Relay Update

February 2nd, 2010-->

On Saturday, 50 people turned out in the snow in 100 Mile House for the Poverty Olympics Torch Relay. Organizers brought a burning barrel and firewood came from a co-op farm, and they set up a canopy shelter beneath which a barbeque kept the homegrown baked potatoes hot! Between the warmth of the fire and the hot potatoes participants kept themselves warm.

The bright red canopy, a banner and picket signs made the event very colourful. Lots of traffic went by with plenty of horns honked in support.

Creepy the Cockroach turned out. Music was planned but the cold and wet made this impossible. Nevertheless, spirits were high with plenty of discussion about poverty in 100 Mile House counterpoised by the extravagance and wild expense of the winter olympics in Vancouver.

The 100 Mile Poverty Olympics Torch Relay event got a mention in the Globe and Mail!


Facts About Poverty in BC and Canada

February 2nd, 2010-->

Raise the Rates has prepared a new brief for the Poverty Olympics highlighting poverty statistics and the cost of living in BC and Canada.  Read it here.

Report and Media Coverage of Torch Relay Launch

February 2nd, 2010-->

This report summarizes the highly successful press conference launching the torch relay on January 17, and includes a sample of links to media coverage from this event.

Poverty Olympics Torch Relay Protest Arrives in Chilliwack on Monday

February 1st, 2010-->

From the Chilliwack Progress: 

Here’s a chance to meet anti-poverty mascot Itchy the Bedbug in Chilliwack’s downtown core on Monday.

The community is one of dozens in the 2010 Poverty Olympics torch relay launched last month by Vancouver activists.

The protest is highlighting poverty and homelessness across B.C. with the slogan, ‘End poverty — It’s not a game.’

In Chilliwack, the Poverty Olympics protest is set to start at about noon near the clock tower at Five Corner on Feb. 1, said organizer Trish Garner.

“B.C. wins gold for having the worst poverty rate in the country, the lowest minimum wage, and the highest child poverty rate for the sixth year in a row,” she said. “It is inexcusable that the government refuses to take action.”

Read more here.

Poverty Olympics Torch Astounds Whistler – Quatchi Defects!

February 1st, 2010-->

quatchi-collapses.JPGThe 10-foot Poverty Olympics Torch came to Whistler Village on Sunday, accompanied by Chewy the Rat and Creepy the Cockroach.


In a surprising turn of events, Vanoc’s Quatchi [TM] mascot joined the “once in a lifetime” incredibly inspiring and truly remarkable Torch celebrations. The Torch and mascots are building the really quite extraordinary public hysteria surrounding Vancouver’s 3rd Annual Poverty Olympics on Sunday, February 7th in the Downtown Eastside.

Besides the giant torch, the days wonderfully awesome events included Whistlerites making “Slapshots To End Poverty”–trying to get the puck past Gordo the Greedy Goalie, who persists in blocking adequate welfare, minimum wage, and social housing construction.

The day’s mascot drama began when Quatchi appeared in the crowd, and then collapsed in front of Gordo. He said that he was sick of the grotesque hype, militarization, and celebration of greed represented by the Olympics. He was comforted by activists from the Olympic Resistance Network, Whistler Watch, Streams of Justice, and Citywide Housing Coalition.


In the end, Quatchi was able to rise again, and the three mascots celebrated with glowing hearts.

Please join the Torch Relay this week as it visits Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Langley, Surrey, New Westminster, North and West Vancouver, Coquitlam and Burnaby, concluding at the Poverty Olympics in Vancouver on February 7.  Find out more about the relay here.