Standing under the clear night sky in the middle of the Olympic Plaza, I look up at the Calgary Tower, with the torch flames brightly lit.  The atmosphere, reminiscent of the 1988 Calgary Olympics… yet something felt different this time. Perhaps it is my age.

I still have my red Olympic candle torch from when my native Calgary hosted the 1988 Olympics; I remember proudly holding it high.

Tonight, people were holding up their mobile phones, or plastic Coke bottles that lit up and screamed ‘made in China’ ( I’m guessing). There were many paper Canadian flags, and unfortunately many larger and plastic Coke flags. Now, I’m wondering how many of these flags will end up in landfills, as I already see many sadly making their way to the ground.

The monitors light up and you can feel the energy rising in anticipation of the Olympic torch arrival, bringing its legacy and dreams back to the Olympic Plaza, on route to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. The countdown begins and I am overcome with emotions as I glance up at the tower, with its flames illuminating the black sky, the crescent moon keeping a close watch. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… ok… um.. er…

Where is it? Where is the torch? Nope, not yet… that was the countdown to the Coke song… Coke = Happiness. Insert confusion here. That’s almost cruel. As I listen to this song, my thoughts turn back to the plastic coke flags waving around me and I look around at all the Olympic clothing, and my mind begins to wander further.

The 2010 Olympics have many things that as a Canadian, I feel ashamed of. Firstly, those damn mascots.  They clearly do not represent Canada, but they look like some Pokeman animation critter created in a technological world in a far off land. Whomever designed the mascots knew very little about the pride Canadians have and they failed us miserably in transferring that spirit to the mascots… gone of the days of the friendly Heidi and Howdy!

Secondly, The Hudson Bay Company sourced their Olympic sweater design from our native Cowichan Indians. Now the contract was not given to the native Canadians, but The Hudson Bay Company felt they could produce these in China with a lower cost of production.  Keep in mind that these jackets retail for $350.

So hanging in every store (heritage HUDSON’s Bay Company) across our nation, are NOT the jackets that have been mastered over time, by passing down traditions from generation to generation. Instead, the stores are filled with garments that are made in polluting factories in China, where the over worked employees are unknowingly subjected to toxic chemicals.

The Bay sacrificed our nations pride to ensure their profit margin stays healthy. A huge injustice.  What about our native Indians?  This contract and the sweater design was rightfully theirs, The Bay modified the pattern slightly to remain “above the law”. This is truly a shameful way to make a buck (no pun intended)… off the backs of our Bucks!

Now the irony of the sweater story is that the tags that the Hudson’s Bay Company felt justified in hanging on their Olympic clothing is a COMPLETE INSULT TO ALL CANADIANS. And I quote directly from their tags,  “ We were made for this. Each piece of Official Canadian Olympic Gear celebrates the rich fabric of Canada and its people. It is inspired by our climate, our land and our history. And all that has made us who and what we are today”.

The Olympics are all about coming together, supporting and encouraging our dedicated athletes. This is a time for Canadian patriotism and pride.

It seems like the Olympics have become a celebration of the most powerful Corporations, who have no regard for the people or our planet. When you hear our Canadian Anthem, proudly sing it out loud.

Say no to the Bay’s Olympic gear, and the corporate advertizing that is being forced upon us. Sorry Coke, and sorry to the Hudson’s Bay Company… the Olympics are not about you. It’s ALL about our amazing athletes, about fair team play and about coming together to stand up for what we believe in.

After the prolonged and disappointing countdown to the torches arrival, I turn my back on the celebration and decide with a heavy heart to leave.  I peer up one last time to see the Calgary tower burning brightly and wonder when it will light up the night sky again.

Jennien Yarmie

Director Elemental Imports .

The 2010 Olympics – Made in China

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