A crowd on Sunday in Vancouver protested the spending of hundreds of millions of dollars on the Olympic Winter Games while still being home to one of the most impoverished communities in Canada. Dubbed the "Poverty Olympics," the crowd marched with signs like "Homes Not Games" to raise the public consciousness of the city's Downtown Eastside.
More than 200 attended the protest.
"Canada is a rich nation ... but you wouldn't know it in the Downtown Eastside," said [Robert] Bonner, a well known activist in the community.
The Games (February 12-28) have a mostly privately funded budget of C$1.7 billion but the government has spent C$580 million on venue construction costs and budgeted C$900 million for security.
A provincial auditor's report in 2006 put the real cost to tax payers at C$2.5 billion but Olympic critics claim it is actually closer to C$6 billion -- figures that Games organizers and government officials dismiss as too high.
Canada's New Democratic party estimates that 15,000 British Columbia residents are homeless, and many Poverty Olympics attendees said government at every level has failed to do enough to combat the cycle.
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