BREAKING NEWS: Private taxpayer paid party replaces public Olympic celebration

Post by Mike Klassen in ,


Yesterday we asked why the City of Vancouver failed to hold any kind of public celebration for the one-year countdown to the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Sources at Vancouver City Hall now tell us why. Mayor Gregor Robertson had City staff busily working to stage an exclusive "invitation only" party yesterday at the tony Vancouver Club.

At this City staff-supported event held at the exclusive members only club, Mayor Robertson and his Vision/COPE council colleagues toasted IOC Chair Jacques Rogge on the taxpayer's dime.

In a twist that seems almost too absurd to believe, lone NPA councillor Suzanne Anton was not invited. Sources say that staff had been directed to only invite members of the governing Vision/COPE caucus to key Olympic-related events.

Meanwhile, to add insult to injury, the Vision/COPE councillors snubbed the annual Spirit of Vancouver 2010 countdown luncheon, held annually and always attended by representatives of City Council for the last six years.

The latter event has always been used as a way to raise funds to help support aspiring Olympic and Paralympic athletes. The absence of the Mayor or any members of his governing caucus at this event had tongues wagging among Vancouver's business movers and shakers.


Boy, there is sure no limit of arrogance coming from Gregor and the Vision/COPE team, is there?

I would say that I'm shocked, except I got the picture early on during the election campaign. The Vision/COPE candidates were extremely vicious in their personal attacks on Sam Sullivan, Peter Ladner and individual NPA candidates. It was downright childish most times.

Shunning Suzanne Anton is beyond childish and in very bad taste.

Gregor Robertson needs to remember that he's Mayor of ALL of Vancouver, not just the parts that voted for him. Continuing this vindictive stance that they started before the election will do a lot more harm than good.

And SHAME on Gregor for not inviting Suzanne Anton to the Olympic event! All of the other councillors should have denounced the decision to exclude her, but, we know they will do just the opposite.

I just saw this on the CBC News website about the province's various Olympic celebrations yesterday:

Provincial Opposition Leader Carole James of the NDP criticized the Liberals' arrangement to exclude the public from rejoicing at the event.

"You certainly would think if taxpayers are funding something, that it would be open to the public, that they would have an opportunity to be able to participate, to be involved," James said.

"You don't build support for the Olympics by shutting the public out, by not being upfront with them about the real costs of the Olympics," she said.

Outrageous! Only yesterday Gregory said that staff had no time to organize a celebration for Vancouver. Now we hear he's having private Olympic parties paid for with tax dollars? Why couldn't the public have been invited to that?

As far as Anton is concerned, she should be screaming at the top of her lungs about this. I'd be pissed if they held an event and didn't even bother to tell me.

Folks, this isn't what we voted for!

I am so sick and tired of this self-serving Council!! I wonder how much they've spent since they been in office???

Sadly, with a Vision/COPE majority Gregor will be able to do whatever he wants and be completely unaccountable to the public for the waste of millions of tax dollars.

This 500K private party is only the beginning. I wonder what other waste will occur, especially with Gregor's vision to make Vancouver the "greenest city in the World". I suppose the traffic congestion into the downtown core can be justified, even though there will be more pollution from idle cars.

In addition to this one, as part of Gregor's campaign to make City Hall decision making more "transparent and accountable", he has delegated the approval of all new staffing positions to the City Manager. Historically, any new permanent staffing position has required City Council approval. Haven't seen this in the news yet...

Wednesday's celebrations in Whistler and Richmond marked the beginning of a week of celebrations to commemorate the one-year-to-go-before-the-Olympics milestone. While the Province's celebration in Richmond marked the beginning of the week, Vancouver's main City-organized celebration marks the end on the 19th. Give this link to your sources at City Hall, they might want to come:

And yes, the public is cordially invited, unlike the Provincial Government's event in Richmond.

The Mayor very well might have mentionned this to CTV but you can tell from the way the segment was put together (quotes out of context, blatant rhetoric) what the intent of the piece was.

"In a twist that seems almost too absurd to believe, lone NPA councillor Suzanne Anton was not invited. Sources say that staff had been directed to only invite members of the governing Vision/COPE caucus to key Olympic-related events."

Somebody, please tell me this isn't true. I just do not want to believe it.

I don't know if this is true or not but I'm sure it never happened under the NPA administration - imagine - not inviting councilors from Vision or Cope! Shocking concept!

As a Vision/Cope supporter I'll be writing to the Mayor and Councillor Heather Deal, a personal friend, to inquire what is going on. Their behaviour is not what we voted for and will not be tolerated.

Just a thought on the supposed lack of an invite for Councillor Anton: The Vancouver Club event and the Spirit of Vancouver luncheon were held at the same time, noon on the 12th. The NPA and the Spirit of Vancouver committee have been very close in the past. It was only 3 months ago they threw a bash to commemorate Sam Sullivan's tenure.

Perhaps it was obvious and even discussed ahead of time that Councillor Anton was going to attend the Spirit of Vancouver event while the event that the Mayor organized was going to be attended by the other councillors. Given that the two events were held at the same time this would seem natural. I was just wondering if Mr. Klassen could specify whether sources said simply that only Vision/Cope councillors were invited to the Rogge event or that only Vision/Cope councillors were invited for overtly political reasons, which of course is intolerable.

I assume you will provide us with their explanation, once received.

Back to Bill Tieleman. Your response is disappointing.

I will not pretend to know all the things that went on during previous administrations, but I do believe that accepted City Hall protocol has generally resulted in ALL members of council being invited to Civic Events, regardless of political stripe.

I also believe that while partisan politics will continue in Vancouver, an increasing number of us would like to see a less partisan approach to municipal government. That is why we are impressed with the approach being taken by Obama in the US.

I would challenge the Mayor, who strikes me as a fundamentally decent person, to follow the lead of Obama and become more inclusive as we face the very difficult times ahead.

The bowl 2010 Abbotsford is the only Rah! Rah! I know of to support the winter Olympics.
And that is not even supported by the city, it is all done by private individuals.

Check out!

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