Olympics or Kandahar? 

News from VANOC

The federal government, this week, dismissed concerns that there are not enough troops to fulfill Canada’s commitment to Afghanistan and security for the 2010 Winter Games.

The discussion in the house came after Reuters news agency revealed a Feb. 5, 2006 briefing note which said Olympic security would be a high priority activity causing significant impact on domestic operation.

Defence Minister Gordon O’Connor pointed to the fact that there are some 50,000 army, air force and navy troops available in the country — quite enough to carry out both commitments.

The defence minister also denied, in an article in Le Devoir, that there was any link between commitments for the Games and the exit date for Afghanistan, 2009.

Security at the Games is currently budgeted to cost $175 million and will be provided through a number of agencies, with the RCMP co-coordinating the integrated security group.

B.C.-Canada House taking shape for 2008 Beijing Games

B.C. has signed a deal with Chinese officials to erect a 20,000 square foot pavilion to celebrate the province, Canada, and the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and Whistler during the 2008 Summer Games.

“B.C.-Canada Place was a major hit with the crowds at the 2006 Torino Winter Games, with more than 100,000 visitors lining up to learn about our province and our country,” said Premier Gordon Campbell.

“Our presence in Beijing during the 2008 Games will promote the diversity of B.C. and Canadian business, art, culture and sport to the world.”

The pavilion will be housed at the Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall at the city centre near the Forbidden City and the Great Hall of the People. It is also behind Tiananmen Square, which will host a massive party every night of the Summer Games. It is expected that hundreds of thousands of people will attend the area every night.

The $6 million pavilion’s external element was created by B.C. architect Bing Thom. The entrance will feature 13 curves made of wood and under them will sit a silicone based skating rink so visitors will be able to see skating even in the heat of a Beijing summer. Each curve will be decorated to represent a province or territory.

VANOC board’s term extended to 2010

The directors of the board for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Games extended their three year term to four years recently so that their tenures will carry them through the Vancouver and Whistler event.

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