The Conservative Government of Canada had decided that it would be really nice if veterans of the war in Afghanistan were included in the torch relay leading up to the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. Let’s bring ’em on out and cheer them as they run through the streets carrying the Olympic torch! Forget about the injuries, the PTSD, the fallen comrades! Forget that we’re losing the warand will still be losing in 2010! Veterans are a national symbol, dudes – we’ve got to put them on display at every special occasion, even when the occasion has nothing to do with their military service.

There’s more:

The federal government is also pushing to have Canada’s French and English “linguistic duality” highlighted by the relay, going so far as to propose a list of 83 communities that could be part of the run — and provide a chunk of the roster of torch bearers, expected to number 12,000.

Both those proposals are put forward in an undated memo from the official languages group of the 2010 Federal Secretariat obtained by Ottawa researcher Ken Rubin under an access-to-information request. The proposals on the torch relay follow revelations last week in The Globe and Mail that the Harper government provided $20-million for the opening ceremony of the Winter Games to ensure the event “adequately reflects” its priorities and “to achieve its domestic and international branding goals.”

Dudes, there’s so much wrong with this. First, why does the Harper Government want to associate the Olympics with the war in Afghanistan? It blows my mind that they have no problem militarizing the Olympic Games. These are the same people who insist that the Olympics aren’t political. The war isn’t political, right? War isn’t contrary to the spirit of the Olympics, oh no. War = peace, didn’t you know?

Here’s a second problem I have with Harper’s approach: the French and English “linguistic duality” argument is fundamentally flawed as it ignores a whole bunch of Canadians who don’t identify as “English” or “French.” Way to whitewash the country’s diversity with old-school colonial labels, Stevie. No mention of Canada’s Native communities, to start, nor any mention of the many immigrant groups that have built the country. And third, all this talk of “domestic and international branding goals” is code for “making sure the whole world knows about Canada’s NEW Government and the great war we’re fighting in Afghanistan!”

We all know that the Vancouver Olympics are plagued with problems. To begin with, the activists supporting the no2010 Campaign have some damn good points to make about indigenous rights, poverty, and injustice. Check out the words of Zig Zag over at no2010:

The 2010 Winter Olympics, to be held in Vancouver-Whistler from February 12-27, 2010, is today a very real threat to Native peoples, the urban poor (many of whom are also Native), and the environment.

While cutting social services, healthcare, education, etc., the BC Liberal government is at the same time providing billions of dollars to construction companies & other Olympic-related industries. The capitalists are making millions, while the poor are literally dying in the urban & reservation ghettos.

The Harper Government, along with the Liberal Government of B.C., need to be paying more attention to these problems in Vancouver instead of pushing their pro-war and pro-business agenda at the Olympic Games.