Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ah, The Sweet Smell of Integrity

It’s hard, when looking at local, provincial, national and international political behaviour, not to be deeply cynical about human nature. The failure of the Copenhagen Summit is but the latest example of our short-sightedness as a species. But occasionally, something happens that confirms the human capacity for principled and honourable choices. Two such examples are to be found in yesterday’s Globe and Mail.

Entitled “The day the music died,” the article tells of two defections from the opening and closing 2010 Winter Olympics to be held in British Columbia. The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, led by conductor Bramwell Tovey, has decided not to be part of the opening ceremonies because it was asked this week to prerecord its music that would then be mimed by other performers during the spectacle. Seeing this as a gross public deception, Mr. Tovey compared it to Ben Johnson’s victory in 1988, winning gold but later stripped of the medal when he tested positive for steroids that enhanced his performance.

The second defection is by Terry Dove, a performer who auditioned to march and dance in the closing ceremonies. An enthusiast of the Olympics, his ardour has been diminished by the recent treatment of those who oppose them for a variety of reasons. One such person, Marla Renn, faced a long delay and intrusive questioning at the Canada-U.S border, simply because she is known as an anti-Olympics activist.

Both Tovey and Dovey have made very difficult choices here, ones that I think we would find hard to make were we in similar situations. God bless them for their integrity, something the modern Olympics lost many years ago. They are real heroes in my eyes.

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