It is all of a piece, anyway; so far the Olympics have succeeded mostly in disillusioning Canada and driving it apart. For the first time now, the English-speaking are beginning to say out loud that maybe everybody would be better off if Quebec just took a walk. Those from outside La Belle Province are especially unhappy about having their tax money go to pay for the greater glory of Montreal and Quebec. Originally, the Games were budgeted to break even at a cost of $310 million. But there was a slight miscalculation of about 500%, and everybody is going to have to dig deep to pay off losses on what has become a $1.5 billion boondoggle. Souvenir salesmen have even had a hard time peddling Olympic trinkets to their out-of-province countrymen, and under pressure of the Olympics, the unions and the languages have made unbecoming noises. Air controllers want French spoken at all Quebec airports, and ethnic-related tensions are involved in a potential TV technicians' strike that could, if it takes place, black out television coverage of the Games.
The opposition party, the Conservatives, have leapt on the Taiwan issue. In Parliament one day last week, Diefenbaker and his successor as party leader, Joe Clark, took on Trudeau. "The world has moved on since the right honorable member was prime minister," Trudeau retorted archly.
Across the floor, Clark shouted back. "Yes, it has. In his day commitments were honored."
But the government remained unyielding. After a full day of sessions on Saturday, Assistant Undersecretary of External Affairs, Andr� Bissonette, announced, "We are not prepared to allow the public proclamation in Canada of anyone under the name of the Republic of China."
On Sunday, with a heavy heart, the 61-year-old Killanin announced that the IOC had capitulated to Canada. He said that the decision to go on with the Games was made in the interest of athletes from all over the world who had been preparing for the Olympics, in some cases for years. Accusing the Canadian government of a breach of faith, he thundered, "The whole world is absolutely fed up with politicians interfering with sport."
In an attempt at a compromise, the IOC made a last-minute suggestion that the Taiwanese march in the opening ceremony with a plaque bearing the letters IOC instead of their national flag. Taiwan refused. "We will not give up our principle," a team spokesman said.
The Taiwanese have endured a number of reversals in the past few years, suffering the enmity of everybody from the United Nations to the Little League, but they have just gone on about their business. This time, though, they have a lot of friends. "Of all the raw deals we've had, this one tops them all," said Thomas Hsueh (pronounced Shea).
He is the captain of the ROC yachting team, and as he spoke he was sitting, in of all places, the Olympic Village, in the appointed office of the Republic of China; a sign on the door so designated it. Hsueh's credentials list him as from the Republic of China. All official material makes similar references to just such a place. Private citizens call him up on the phone and apologize for their government; athletes stop him to commiserate.
Hsueh and a handful of other team members carry dual passports (Hsueh went to the University of Colorado and lived for many years in the States), and they had come quietly into the Dominion before all the hell broke loose. On Friday the bulk of the team was stopped by Canadian orders in the U.S., and the athletes were scattered about, awaiting word. The largest contingent found its way to Boston, where, coals to Newcastle, they were provided with a tour of Chinatown.
In the face of the China crisis, the IOC would not even bother to discuss the African demi-crisis when it boiled over late last Friday. It came as something of a surprise, since the New Zealand matter had been broached a few days earlier in Mauritius at the annual summit meeting of the Organization of African Unity, there eliciting only the rather mild opinion that the 48 member states might "consider" boycotting the Games.