Massive Garbage Rally Talks Olympics

About 2000 people filled a hockey arena in the Northern Ontario town of Earlton, in protest of Toronto’s proposal to send its garbage to the abandoned Adams Mine near Kirland Lake, Ontario. Sunday’s protest was probably one of the largest protests to have been held in Northern Ontario; equivalent to having several hundred thousand people demonstrate in Toronto.

Jack Wilkinson, president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture warned that Toronto should take seriously a threat from the Adams Mine Committee that it will campaign against the city’s bid for the 2008 Olympic Games, if Toronto City Council votes in favour of the proposal early this week.

The opponents plan to depict Toronto as unworthy of Olympic status. In fact, the plan is to open a permanent office to lobby against Toronto’s ability to host the Games with any environmental integrity. There will be depositions to the head of the International Olympic Committee and its powerful environmental advisory group. The theme would be that Toronto is such a poor manager of its waste that it ships it north and contaminates another community.

This is a very critical time for Toronto’s bid. A sustained bout of negative public relations could threaten the whole deal.

This summer Toronto needs the approval of the federal government to make the bid on behalf of Canada and it needs approval from the Ontario government for a $5.2 billion improvement to the waterfront. And the International Olympic Committee is announcing its short list of candidates the end of August.