Councillor Louie's in-camera meeting revelation today creates more questions than answers. We've come up with ten.
It took a bit of coaxing, but Vision Councillor Raymond Louie has finally admitted publicly today that it was Vision Vancouver that actually put forward the original motion asking Council support the completion guarantee for the Olympic Village. An incredible admission given how much he and his colleagues have tried to spin out over the last week that they had nothing to do with the decision making process on this file.
If should be noted that CityCaucus.com readers found out here first that the motion was not introduced by the NPA.
What's laughable is the revisionist spin that's taking place surrounding who supported what, and when. Louie is now claiming to the Vancouver Sun that he moved the completion guarantee motion to 'trick the NPA'.
Louie now claims he didn't support the motion to enact a completion guarantee, nor did he think it was even good public policy. Rather, he wants the media and residents of Vancouver to believe it was all part of his master Machiavellian move to 'trap the NPA'. We think it might be someone else who will end up getting trapped on this one.
There are a number of outstanding questions Vancouver taxpayers should be asking Councillor Louie and his Vision Vancouver colleagues. We polled our CityCaucus.com staff at the cappucino machine this morning, and here's 10 questions they believe need answers:
- Does Louie support the Vancouver Police Department expanding their ongoing Olympic Village leak investigation to include the person who also recently leaked copies of the June 2007 in-camera minutes?
- If Councillor Louie moved the completion guarantee as part of his in-camera poker game with the NPA, why does the Vancouver Sun report: "Louie said that at the time he didn't understand the importance of the completion guarantee, which he claimed was "downplayed" by staff..."
- Was Louie's motion part of a plot to 'trick the NPA' as the Sun reports, or was Louie simply oblivious to what was happening in that meeting? Sounds more like an attempt to suck and blow simultaneously.
- A report outlining the completion agreement was posted on the City of Vancouver's website in April 2008. If Councillor Louie and his Vision colleagues were so outraged at the completion guarantee, why did it take them over 266 days (the April '08 release of the financial statement to last Friday) to speak up about it? What could explain why there were no news releases or media conference last spring when this information became public as part of the City's financial statements?
- Why did it take Jeff Lee's investigation for Councillor Louie to finally reveal to the public what role he played behind the scenes during this completion guarantee debate?
- Why has the Mayor not yet released all the minutes from the in-camera meetings that took place on the Olympic Village project? And why must the public continue to read about them when they are strategically leaked to select members of the media?
- Why did Gregor Robertson appoint 'Mayor Meggs' rather than Councillor Louie to be the point person on the Olympic Village file? Surely appointing a seasoned councillor who has been there during the life of this project would make more sense?
- Why is the public not being notified of what guarantees the developer has put forward as security against the loan?
- If the Councillor was so concerned about the financing of this project, why did Louie not move a motion at the in-camera meeting in June 2007 to have the deal cancelled or remove Millennium as the developer?
- Why is Mayor Robertson now musing that he might put a swift end to the barristers investigation into the leaks at City Hall when they are continuing unabated?
Despite what you might have heard, the decision to commit the City to building the Athletes Village happened a long time before the June 2007 in-camera meeting. In fact, it happened in 2003 when 'Mayor' Meggs was then Chief of Staff to former Mayor Larry Campbell. That was when the City accepted $30 million from VANOC to complete the Athletes Village project.
As we previously stated, the first casualty in this battle has been the truth. We at CityCaucus.com applaud Jeff Lee and the Sun for investigating the Louie story further, and helping to provide to the public with a different perspective on this emerging story.
Although she's a rookie, perhaps it's time for the Mayor to move decisively and remove political scrapper 'Mayor Meggs' from this file and put a more moderate councillor such as Andrea Reimer on this post. Only then will temperatures begin to cool on this, and we might actually begin the process of putting this project back on track.