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We were made for this by Steve Payne

Author says: what if demonstrations seriously disrupted the Winter Olympics? Please note that the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).

On 12th Febuary 2010, the Prime Minister of Canada became personally involved in the First Nations' demonstrations which were severely disrupting the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Ironically, many Canadians were displeased with the look of the new Olympic mascots (pictured, left) because they represented a minority population of Vancouver, being inspired by traditional First Nations creatures such as the sasquatch. And surely the protests were in stark constrast to the official image (pictured, below) "We Were Made for This".
Watch the Youtube Video

In which a wildcard finally emerges to break the deadlock
The first sign that the smooth operation of Games would be imperilled appeared the previous December at the Assembly of First Nations special chiefs assembly. Because Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl was presented with an ultimatum which warned the Olympics would face a prolonged campaign of disruptions unless the federal government immediately moved to resolve long-standing grievances. The chiefs had demanded the federal government commit to supporting major improvements to native education. Bill Erasums, AFN regional chief for the Northwest Territories, warning, "They have told the minister that he will have to work with the people ... [or] they will do it. There will be roadblocks, and other things".

Fortunately for the organizers, athletes were mostly unaffected because Security Forces had constructed a Baghdad-style Green Zone around the Olympic Village, but protestor's road-blocks largely prevented spectators from arriving in good time for the events. And worse, the Games were a media disaster, with televised coverage portraying a Government locked in a bitter dispute with "a country within a country". Because a terrible truth that had remained partially hidden for so long, was suddenly thrust into the public spotlight, and there was almost nothing the Canadian Government could do about it. That truth was the broad diversity celebrated by recent Canadian immigrants had never been extended to those that were here first, the First Nations. And the question was, did the Federal Government of Canada have the right to host the Olympics, because surely only an owner can invite guests to their property.

Luckily, a wildcard emerged to break the long-standing deadlock.

Because Head of Government Stephen Harper had been recently replaced by Liberal Party Leader Raymond Chan, the first ethnic Chinese to be appointed into the cabinet after winning the riding of Richmond in the 1993 federal election. Recognising that the history of the Chinese in Canada was every bit as horrific as their own tragedy, the Special chiefs accepted Chan's assurance this his incoming government would address the matters presented in the ultimatum.

Author says, the long-standing grievances are fundamentally the same issues in the United States (land rights etc). Education is a key point becomes it embodies the basic right of citizenship. The Promotional video (above) and strap line "We were made for this" would imply that Canada was a virgin land of snow and ice prior to European Settlement. First Nations do have a program of protests lined up for 2010, but not necessarily centred on the Olympics. So the twist here is a) AFN chose the Olympics as a catalyst for change, b) First Nations find common ground with the first Chinese Canadian PM who in this ATL is Leader of the Liberal Party when he was actually unseated in 2004 after a short period in Cabinet.

Steve Payne

Editor of Today in Alternate History, a Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting fictional blog.


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