Friday, September 16, 2011

Were there really 928 cops at the Stanley Cup riot?

Documents released to me by the British Columbia Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General include an email on the morning after the Stanley Cup riot from a senior RCMP officer, claiming there were 700 police officers from various agencies in downtown Vancouver on June 15, 2011. Read the story here. The email was sent to the British Columbia government's deputy Solicitor General, to summarize the police operation on that horrible night.

This contradicts the official version contained in the provincial report by John Furlong and Doug Keefe (ghost-written by Stewart Muir), which said there were 446 police to start, but the numbers peaked at 928. The Vancouver Police review said 606 were VPD and 169 RCMP, most of the rest included 52 Abbotsford, 24 Delta, 20 each from New Westminster and the Transit Police, 16 Port Moody and 14 West Vancouver.

Asst. Comm. Craig Callens, author of the June 16, 2011 email to Clayton Pecknold, did not respond. Callens apparently forwarded my email query to communications officer Supt. Ray Bernoties, who distanced the RCMP from Callens's math by claiming Callens didn't include off-duty members or municipal cops. Bernoties also claimed Callens didn't intend to be exact and that the numbers in the VPD report should prevail.

But I never got answers to simple questions from Bernoties. Such as, did he actually read the Callens email that I obtained? As you can see below, Callens carefully accounted for the municipal officers (even though the individual force numbers were redacted). He even went so far as to show how suburban RCMP detachments sent reinforcements to the municipalities that were short their own members because officers had been dispatched to the riot. People in senior positions, such as Callens, don't make mistakes easily.

Other questions? What were the discrepancies (all figures, except for the total 700, were redacted)? How could a high ranking RCMP officer go wrong in such an important message to a top provincial official?

There is nothing in the Callens email to indicate his total of 700 officers was an estimate or inexact.

Is this a case of bad Mountie math or "move along, nothing to see here"?

I hope the Vancouver Police, RCMP and/or Solicitor General ministry will be transparent and publish a line-by-line list accounting for each and every set of "boots on the ground" to show exactly how many police were really on duty to quell the 2011 Stanley Cup riot.

Stanley Cup riot police numbers: the morning after

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Let the costs continue

The Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics ended more than 18 months ago, but one of the legacies includes costs to prop up the organization that is supposed to benefit from the $110 million, pre-funded Games Operating Trust. (There was no post-Games profit. VANOC claimed it broke-even, after a $187.8 million bailout from the B.C. and federal governments.)

The Pique Newsmagazine in Whistler revealed that the provincial government is spending another $6.2 million to help Whistler Sport Legacies, the society that operates the Whistler Sliding Centre and Whistler Olympic Park.

Those aren't the only dollars flowing to Olympic-related organizations after the Games. 2010 Legacies Now (rebranded "Lift Partners") got a whack of dough during the last fiscal year, which was the first fiscal year after the Games.

On page 137 of the Detailed Schedule of Payments for 2010-11 published July 18, it lists $10,581,300 in payments from the Community Sport and Cultural Development ministry to 2010 Legacies Now. When I asked, they told me it was for the following:

Participation ($5.4 million):

Supports programs that help train and certify community coaches and officials; that provide opportunities for individuals to learn sport skills (with particular attention to children and youth, individuals with a disability, First Nations, and lower income families); and that help to lower the cost of sport so that lower income families can participate (e.g contributions to KidSport and contributions that help keep sport membership dues as low as possible). Ideally, programming would ensure that the maximum level of any available federal matching funds is achieved. Much of this participation funding flows to Provincial Sport Organizations (PSOs – about 60 of them) so that they can provide support to community coaches, officials, and other volunteers.

High Performance ($4.1 million):

Supports programs that provide services and other support to BC’s high performance athletes and coaches; training support for upcoming competitions (e.g. 2011 Western Canada Summer Games, the 2011 Canada Winter Games; the 2011 North American Indigenous Games and other provincial or national competitions as required) and support the province’s high performance infrastructure such as the Canadian Sport Centre Pacific and the province’s regional centres. Programming ideally would maximize federal investment dollars including Own the Podium Funding. High Performance funding flows to PSOs to support the development of their athletes. Funding also flows to the Canadian Sport Centre Pacific and the regional sport centres.

Event Hosting ($1 million)

Supports the Hosting BC program that provides financial support to dozens of international, national and regional sport events held in communities large and small all across British Columbia thereby boosting economic activity, increasing the profile of sport and encouraging participation in sport. Funds also support larger international events (Whistler Bobsleigh/Skeleton World Cup, CONCACAF Olympic Women’s Soccer Qualifier).

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Gordo goes to Great Britain

By now you probably know that ex-British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell was appointed to the Order of British Columbia on Sept. 2. The deadline for nominations was March 12, two days before he handed the reins of power to Christy Clark and three days before he stepped down as MLA for Vancouver-Point Grey. The rules say sitting politicians are ineligible to receive the honour.

Campbell was announced in August as the new High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. His biography on the Canadian embassy's website, however, was prematurely uploaded (see below). Sept. 15 is the date of his ascension to the most sought-after appointment in the Canadian foreign service. Prime Minister Stephen Harper rewarded Campbell for his flag-waving and red mittens-wearing during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. The next Games are in London in 2012 and Campbell will have a front-row seat.

So you'd think he'd be a happier lad than he was in January 2003 when he had his infamous post-mai tai drive in Maui and visit to the drunk tank for an involuntary photo op. Campbell's mugshot on the High Commission website appears to be his passport photo.

Why not a welcoming, Canadian smile? Or is our man in London town practising his stiff British upper lip?

Biography of Mr. Gordon Campbell, High Commissioner for Canada

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