Thursday, June 23, 2011

Exclusive: Vancouver cops feared Stanley Cup riot during Olympics

By now you've heard various apologists for the Vancouver Police Department's action or inaction on the night of Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. The spin is that a riot was inevitable -- whether the Canucks won or lost. I don't buy it. But let's say it was. Could the damage to property and people have been minimized? Certainly.

During the 2010 Winter Olympics, Vancouver was in an El Nino winter and the days were unseasonably warm and dry. The days were short -- the sun did rise and set on schedule. There were groups of cheering, red maple leafing-wearing drunk teenagers and twentysomethings roaming the city, late into the night. Some were pukers, some were pugilists. If you watched the CTV version of the Games, you didn't see this.

After crowds swamped downtown Vancouver on Feb. 19, 2010, the VPD was worried about a 1994 Stanley Cup-style riot breaking out during the 2010 Winter Olympics. It appealed for help from the RCMP. "The VPD has assessed this evening and has drawn heavy parallels to the atmosphere that spawned the Stanley Cup riots in 1994." To prove it, here is the briefing note I exclusively obtained.

Vancouver Cops feared Stanley Cup riot during Olympics

The big difference about Game 7 of the Stanley Cup on June 15, 2011? It was not a national security event. Perhaps if it had such resources, proper precautions would have been made and law-abiding Vancouverites would not feel so humiliated or let-down. For instance, the Duke of Connaught's Own at the Beatty Street Armoury were neither tasked to help nor did they see fit to assist the civil emergency unfolding across the street from their big, heavy green doors. (They were holding a Stanley Cup party.)

Another big difference is personnel. The VPD is led by Chief Jim Chu, who answers to Police Board Chairman/Mayor Gregor Robertson. Chu is under fire for confidently saying there would be no riot. Robertson is also criticized for inviting tens of thousands of people downtown, yet producing no evidence that city hall had a proper security and safety plan for the ad hoc Stanley Cup finals viewing events. They both have blamed anarchists, but shown no proof that the red, white and black A-in-a-circle crowd was responsible. The rioters and looters were predominantly wearing blue official licensed merchandise bearing a certain stylized white-C logo.

Olympic Premier to Olympic Ambassador

The 34th Premier of British Columbia is set to become the next High Commissioner of Canada to the United Kingdom, according to a Canadian Press report.

Gordon Campbell, who was hounded from office by a tax revolt last fall, is expected to be appointed to the highly coveted job any day by the Prime Minister's Office.

Campbell was known for wearing red Olympic mittens and waving the British Columbia flag during the 2010 Winter Olympics. He'll be Mr. Canada during the London 2012 Olympics, hosting Team Canada at the Canadian embassy across from Trafalgar Square. He'll also be charged with ensuring Canadians in the U.K. are kept safe during those Games.

So, Londoners, who is Gordon Campbell? For one thing, he was loved by the business lobby (particularly those in construction) and loathed by common people (his popularity fell to just 9 percent). If you happen to see him near a luau (not that there are many in your area of the world) or the sale of a railway, approach with caution.

Here is a Gordon Campbell timeline.

1948: born Jan. 12 in Vancouver to Dr. Charles and Peg Campbell
1969: earned English degree on scholarship at Dartmouth College
1972-1976: executive assistant to Vancouver Mayor Art Phillips
1976-1984: real estate developer, SFU MBA student, campaigner for downtown stadium
1984: elected alderman in City of Vancouver
1986: elected 40th mayor of Vancouver
1988 and 1990: re-elected Mayor
1993: elected B.C. Liberal leader
2001: led Liberals to landslide win over NDP
2003: convicted of impaired driving in Hawaii; successful campaign for Vancouver 2010 Olympic bid; RCMP raid B.C. Legislature
2005 and 2009: Liberals re-elected
2009: announced Harmonized Sales Tax
2010: B.C. hosts Olympics; HST introduced; anti-HST petition forces Campbell to call referendum; BC Rail corruption trial begins and ends with surprise plea bargain by ex-ministerial aides Basi and Virk; Campbell resigns Nov. 3.

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