Here it is:The Real Post-Riot/Uprising Report

What did people expect?  After the “independent” review was appointed … an establishment cheer leader and a former politician …  I told you then it would FAIL to get to the real causes of the riot/uprising or name those who should be held really responsible.

In my blog piece “The Riot: Establisghment Cheerleaders Won’t Identify Real Causes” here’s what I wrote months ago, in July:

“The problem is they  have a lot in common: they are or have been members of the public establishment, now investigating the establishment’s handling of a major fiasco; these are people who owe their careers, well above average incomes and comfortable lifestyles to the public trough, so don’t expect them to bite the hands that feed them.

“As a result, I regard these people as little more than ”cheerleaders” for the politicians and government bureaucrats who appointed them: they will NOT address the real reasons behind the rampage by thousands, and the millions of dollars of damage and thefts that shocked and embarrassed the city … again.”

And here’s what I predicted in August:   “officials will blame a small group of thugs, the government will vow to crack down in the future, and the media will call for stiff sentences to those apprehended.”

I believe that’s exactly why we got the puff piece report we did … condemning the rioters and drunks (which IS true) : but it FAILED  to really lay the blame with those who should be held responsible for at least contributing to, encouraging and facilitating the events that resulted in the explosive conconction that blew up in theirs and the city’s face.

But fortunately, the Harvey Keeping  it Real  Report on Fear and Loathing in Vancouver … based totally on my own observations, views and experience … and FREE to the all … will tell the world who else …apart from the drunks and thugs … are to blame:

* THE CANUCKS:  If every organization that puts on a parade or festival is required to pay for policing costs, the CANUCKS should too! After all, these multi-millionaire owners and players are making MILLIONS of dollars in BONUS $$$ on each and every playoff game … they DO bear responsibility for costs the taxpayers have been bearing to police the crowds.  (By the way, teams in the US DO pay a share of those costs.)

*  MAYOR GREGOR “GORDON” ROBERTSON  (isn’t he’s sounding more and more like slippery Gordon every day?)  he bears responsibility for ACTIVELY ENCOURAGING the crowds to come downtown, no doubt to to cash in politically on another “we are the world” type fun gathering.  It didn’t work ..and he should stop those feeble attempts to make it look like he had nothing to do with it, no involvement, blah, blah, blah.

* CITY HALL COUNCILLORS/BUREAUCRATS: who clearly FAILED  to alert or stop the “kumbaya” Vision council madness of putting up HUGE SCREENS in several locations downtown to help ENCOURAGE people to come downtown by the tens and hundreds of thousands to watch the games and “celebrate”.  Are they really so incompetent that they expected tens of thousands hockey fans (this was not a figure skating or luge crowd!) to gather without BEER … lots of BEER???  Without adequate thought/planning of what to do with an emotional, angry alcohol-fueled mob in case the Canucks lost such a critical game?;

* CBC : so caught up in hyping their own broadcasts and “community involvement”  attempt to bolster their own flagging local news presence, personalities and ratings  that they FAILED to realize or adequately prepare what would happen when the crowds got too large …and the Canucks failed to deliver on the ice.

* DOWNTOWN BOOZE PURVEYORS:  They should be SUED by the city and businesses  to recover costs stemming from their pushing the booze consumption to almost record levesl …apparently paying a lot more attention to how much beer they could pour down people’s throats and how much cash they could stuff into their cash registers than the impact  OUTIDE their doors of what they were doing inside;

* ANARCHISTS/THUGS: There’s no doubt there were people who were hoping to take advantage of any chaos they could muster … and took advantage of it when they succeeded.  They should be punished severely ..but, of course, under our court system will not be. (For show and politics, a few WILL be handed stiff sentences, but these will all be overturned on appeal and reduced to something truly meaningless.); and,

* VPD MANAGEMENT: You can’t blame city cops…they were just overwhelmed, understaffed and badly directed.  BUT Chief Jim Chu’s and his management team’s excuses don’t hold water (or beer): the city should have learned a lot better from 1994;  there were all kinds of signs early in the day the mob was forming, the situation was building; and those gathering by the tens of thousands were not the same mom, pop and kids’ demographics who celebrated the  Olympics, and the police brass should have known that and have been prepared; and,

BIG BUSINESS, THE PROVINCIAL AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS: for 10 years of reshaping our society into one where the rich are indeed getting MUCH richer, while the middle class are getting screwed (barely improving wages while rapidly rising taxes/fees),  and the poor are just left behind entirely. That didn’t start the uprising, but no doubt that led to many, many  normally restrained and civilized citizens  joining in … or at least cheering the others on from the sidelines.

Of course, the Harvey Report would require our civic, business, media and political leaders to self-examine, self-criticize and self-improve it will be ignored.

And this is also why Furlong, for leaving the Establishment off the hook, got the Order of BC … while I definitely will not.  🙂

Harv Oberfeld

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19 Responses to Here it is:The Real Post-Riot/Uprising Report

  1. Rob says:

    Having the Canucks pay for security cost makes a lot of sense – not to mention the bars etc… We’ve had similar problems in Halifax with huge fights etc… after bars sell $1 drinks to a bunch of 18 year olds… and the public wonders whos to blame.

  2. ron wilton says:

    You would have a lot more credence given to your analysis Harv, if you had only let ‘them’ pay you the $500,000.00 ‘they’ spent on those ‘other’ professionals.

    (Response: Maybe there’s a new political Law of Review Credibility in that?: ” The level of credibility decreases in direct proportion to the increase in costs.” ? h.o)

  3. 13 says:

    Harvey, you have nailed the reasons for the riot. I hope that your report hits the desks of each person or group that you mentioned. Im sure that they all have the ability to respond to your blog’

    Furlong and his buddy should do the honorable thing and donate their fee to African relief or Terry fox or any reputable charity

    Shame on them and shame on anyone that gives their report any credence.

    (Response: Of course, I would give any of them a chance to respond …and even better, apologize for their failures that contributed to the city’s disgrace. h.o)

  4. Wesley says:

    I don’t know how you can hold the Canucks responsible. They held their end of the bargain for all the real fans that came down, to see the game at Rogers Arena. These kinds of events are what make Canada such a great place to live. The people to blame, are the rioters, plain and simple. Its unfortunate that we are all being held accountable for the actions of ‘few’, but the blame isn’t on the VPD for trying, nor for the City of Vancouver for trying to do something for its citizens.

    (Response: The Canucks are pros at more than hockey: it’s a huge business that has the city, the media eating out of their hands, hyping their “product”. They benefit BIG TIME from all this: why shouldn’t they be responsible for the costs their “business” generates? And it’s not just a matter of blame. When any large group happening …likie the Pride Parade for example …takes place, the City charges them for policing costs associated with it. And ,as I said in other cities, the NHL teams DO contribute to polcing costs. Why should they get a free ride here? h.o.)

  5. Gini says:

    Your post-riot report makes 100% more sense than that of those two bozos, Furlong and Keefe, and we didn’t have to pay $200,000 to read it. It should be required reading for Christy, Mayor Moonbeam, Chief Chu, the Vancouver Canucks hockey organization and all the others mentioned in your report.

    Yes, Furlong has the ‘coveted’ Order of B.C., but it has been tarnished by many undeserving British Columbians, and now the most hated politician in BC history, Gordon Campbell has been nominated, along with his unethical, immoral cohorts, Kobell, Emerson and Aquilini. The award has become the equivalent of a bad joke, IMHO.

  6. Rocker Rich says:

    Well said, Harv.

    In all the post-report coverage, I’ve yet to see if the authors determined if anyone in authority, prior to Game 7, bothered to read the various post-riot studies commissioned after the 1994 mayhem.

    By and large, the city hall media has interpreted the report to absolve Mayor Gregor and city manager Penny Ballem of responsibility for the fiasco. To date, Chief Chu seems to be the designated fall guy. One wonders if he’ll push back at all?

  7. Diverdarren says:

    I don’t know why BC doesn’t just open up a Ministry of Public Inquires. Every time something
    happens in this town the public/ special interest group clamor for an inquiry to get to the “truth”. Riots, missing women, YVR tasering, ect-ect-ect.

    Report after report gets written, money gets flushed and the public is left shaking its’ heads asking “this is all there is?”

    If we had a government ministry running this we would know that our collective time and money were being efficiently wasted.

    I took a look at the Wikipedia for Order of BC recipients, not a lot of journalists. (not even Jack Webster) If your looking to get one Harvey, I suggest you either become a sport star, a super rich industrialist or a minority.

    (Response: Real journalists ask too many hard questions of people in power for those appointed by people in power to ever even consider them for an act of “appreciation”. LOL. As for inquiries, some are necessary, but I agree with you that too many accomplish little …except make lawyers very, very, rich …and give a platform for people to rant. The inquiry into the Picton women murders will be a perfect example of that ….and I blogged about that earlier waste of money: the police know they screwed up and supposedly have taken steps to prevent that from happening again. Everything else will just be politics and ranting by a activists out to score points (and funding) and lot of people who should have been there BEFORE their family members ended up on the downtown eastside. Politicians will promise action ..then do nothing. And lawyers will get much richer. h.o)

  8. Mo says:

    who paid for the Big-Screen TVs that so encouraged folks to pile into the downtown core?

    (Response: Taxpayers …as always. h.o)

  9. Ruaridh says:

    The whole sad saga is a reflection on the overweening power of communications and media consultants to modify, massage and redirect the messages. There is something unsettling about the inability of the city of Vancouver to face the truth.

  10. StandUpforBC says:

    Thanks Harvey. Excellent summation of who was to blame for creating and managing events that led to the riot.

    I’m pleased to see you list CBC. For weeks they beat the drum incessantly for people to come on down. I was sick of listening to them, it was as if nothing else on earth mattered. They implored people to come down to the studio to get signage, flags and so forth. Who paid for that? Taxpayers? Why? And who make money off the sale of those goodies to CBC? The Canucks.

    And yet, a day or two after the riot, one of CBC’s head honchos went on CBC Radio to be “interviewed” about the riot and specifically to bitterly and defensively (angrily even) claim the CBC was not to blame in the slightest. It was a stunning display of arrogance and obstinance in the face of criticism.

    Yes, the media has been shoving multinational sports corporations down our throats for a couple decades now. The CBC Radio news is one example, it often runs sports items on its newscasts, even though the sports news comes on just a few minutes later.

    I’m someone who used to have season’s tickets, but I’ve had it with pro sports and Olympic sports, which as far as I’m concerned is just another multinational sports corporation, only it pays their athletes peanuts, and expects governments (i.e. taxpayers) to foot that bill.

  11. Lynn says:

    CYA (Cover Your Arse) what the report should say on the cover.
    Again, another waste of money.
    What we need is leadership.
    Non medicated, organic leadership.
    The Moonbeam is responsible. Having a press op bragging about bringing in large LCD screens for the games is a message to the suburbanites : come on downtown!
    Throughout the game 7 series city hall was down sizing the number of folks landing in the downtown core. There was a hell of a lot more than they stated.
    We don’t need CCTV cameras. If they mayor can’t be a leader than step aside. Everything he mandated was done quietly with little oversight. He made the mistake, he must take responsibility. VPD takes it’s marching orders from the Mayor’s desk.
    The businesses down on Granville were revenue feens. They were being sited by the fire dept for over capacity. And business belly aches over too much regulation and red tape. THIS IS WHY!
    They cannot be trusted to exercise common sense.
    The Mayor cannot be trusted to lead.

  12. DonGar says:

    Thanks for doing what $500K of out tax dollars didn’t. Tell it like it is. You are so right about these two not wanting to bite the hand that feeds them. I have done government reviews and always told it like it was and covered points that were relevant but out of scope. They write the terms of reference to restrict the investigation and then after reviewing and watering down the report with lots of wiggle words and half statements they release it. But that’s when the press should be stepping up and asking all the hard questions. Perhaps someone will file a freedom of information request to get all the notes, interviews, surveys etc that went into the report. Now that would be some good reading.

    Great column from Mike covering number of points but his summation on the riot report is bang on.

  13. DonGar says:

    Tuesday at City Hall they review their own report on the riot. The report is on the Vancouver website Here’s a sample of some of the BS

    “Various key stakeholders in the community were also asked to meet with the City, or
    gathered spontaneously, to discuss the impact of the riot and the playoffs in general and
    build consensus on what could be done as a community going forward. In some cases, the
    Independent Review participated, to listen in and ask questions. Key stakeholder groups
    ? The Vancouver District Students’ Council – the Council hosted a youth forum to discuss
    the behaviours of the crowd on the night of the incident. Youth from across Greater
    Vancouver attended the forum, along with representatives from Vancouver School
    Board, Vancouver Public Library and the City of Vancouver.”

    (Response: I wonder if there is a university course on how to right that mumbo jumbo pablum? There is so much of it at every level of government: I liken it to treading water …. look like you’re swimming somewhere but really don’t make any progress in any direction. h.o)

  14. Mo says:

    RE #8
    Yes but who/which office was responsible for this dumb idea, which encourged drunken mobs to gather??

  15. D. M. Johnston says:

    This so called riot really is much ado about nothing – drunken lager-louts torched cars and were rude to police. The angst and finger pointing is almost embarrassing.

    Get over it people, we have far more important matters to discuss.

    Of course H.O.’s observations are dead on.

    My take on the riot is this; the Stanley Cup game was over hyped in a city which has a reputation of being bland and boring.

    Because of our rather silly drinking laws (demon rum vintage) many older teens and over 21’s got into the sauce early and drank plenty then took the train/bus to downtown Vancouver. With little more to do than watching giant TV’s, the now drunken idiots had nothing to do and when the Canucks lost (as I predicted) they took it out on the town.

    The police being understaffed and TV cameras blazing, the drunken mobs began a game of “can you top this”, by firing up police cars – all to the news cameras delight.

    In the end, bored with mayhem and a much larger police presence, the mobs decided to go uptown and break windows and loot stores.

    Thus was the Vancouver riot.

    What I see with the finger pointing is scared politicians, afraid that their pleasant little world come smack head-on into the reality of the day.

    My fear is, with the utter disdain of current politicians, the police and the law, I am greatly in fear of real riots – political riots and god help us if that happens.

  16. BG says:

    The Boston Bruins deserve some of the blame, that’s for sure. The Canucks and downtown businesses made alot of money attracting fans to the downtown core who then rioted when the Canucks lost. Why was an expensive report required? Waste of money.

    The Canucks should pay for security next time, in fact sports teams should pay their own way all the time. The billion dollar renovation of BC Place should not be paid for with tax dollars.

  17. cherylb says:

    You wonder why people are surprised when other people break the rules? We have our leadership to thank for it; not just here in BC and Canada, but everywhere. There is one set of rules for the “elite” and another set for the rest of us. Why should anyone play fair?

    To whit – rumours are surfacing that the Order of BC is using a little known, obscure rule to award the Order to Gordo, and they intend to carry it out. Regular rules are made to be broken in Liberal-land. How many nominations did they receive this year? They awarded 14. There must have been other, less constroversial nominees who were just as deserving. Could it be the one-fingered salute to taxpayers?

    Share this message. And please continue to share the petition link with all….

  18. cherylb says:

    Isn’t this an interesting and unsurprising turn of events in BC Liberal la-la land?

    For over 30 years people have been nominating other people for the Order of BC based on a well-publicized set of nomination criteria. Turns out this week (luckily for Gordon Campbell) that the commonly known criteria, in fact, isn’t the criteria; rather, it’s something else entirely. How fortuitious……

    It would be extremely interesting to know who nominated Mr. Campbell for this award, and how they knew he did, in fact, qualify, when anyone else would have read on the Order of BC website that he was ineligible.

    You might also wonder why the Order of BC people would go out of their way to say that nominees must not be currently elected people when that is apparently not true. According to today’s spin, nominees are allowed to be “currently” elected people at the close of nomination; just as long as they are not elected when the award is actually given to them.

    Who knew? Freedom of information request anyone?

  19. Jeana says:

    Haha, shouldn’t you be charging for that kind of knwoledge?!

    (Response: My free contribution to truth in the community. h.o)

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