City process regarding "internal" riot reviews is ass backwards
In the famous words of W.C. Fields "if at first you don't succeed, try, try again." That's probably the best way to describe NPA opposition leader Suzanne Anton's most recent attempt to shed some light on Robertson's Riot.
After having her microphone shut off and debate cut off the first time she dared question Mayor Gregor regarding his role in the riot, Anton tried one more time to get some answers. Yesterday she brought forward a motion to Council requesting the Vision/COPE majority re-consider their decision to keep the terms of reference for several internal reviews hush hush.
Mayor Gregor and his Vision caucus were clearly caught in a corner and had to support Anton's motion. If the Mayor had chosen to shut down debate one more time, it would have only provided the NPA with another two weeks worth of media headlines. This was a prospect the Vision caucus was not prepared to entertain after the Mayor's office bungled the PR on this issue over the last couple of weeks.
In regards to the motion itself, I must say I find it all somewhat baffling. While I understand Anton's intent in bringing it forward, it seems to me to be ass backwards.
Well before yesterday's debate City staff were busy "investigating" themselves to find out what went wrong in the lead up to and during the Game 7 riot. Regardless of what the motion says, staff had already provided themselves with a mandate and budget to undertake these internal reviews.
Is suspect the motion passed yesterday will be tossed in the City Manager's rubbish bin faster than you can say Robertson's Riot.
If the Mayor were truly interested in getting to the bottom of what happened, he should have followed proper process from the outset. This means introducing a motion to council which provides staff with the necessary mandate, budget and terms of reference to conduct the investigation. All of this should have taken place BEFORE the work got started.
Now we're in a position where council is debating a motion about the terms of reference for several reviews that are already taking place. It all looks so "amateur hour."
Most importantly, we still don't know who will be reviewing the actions of the Mayor's and City Manager's office regarding the riot. To this day, it remains unclear as to whether their actions leading up to and during the riot will be scrutinized. I'd say that's unlikely to happen even with the Furlong/Keefe review being conducted by the Province.
The decision by Vision to pass Anton's motion yesterday was all about pragmatic politics in an election year. It had nothing to do with a group of civic politicians concerned about a lack of transparency regarding this tragic event.
What their decision does indicate to me is that the Vision caucus is no longer prepared to blindly accept the advice of the Mayor's chief of staff regarding the riot. They clearly are feeling the heat and are beginning to take matters into their own hands.
By agreeing to support Anton's motion publicly, while ignoring it behind the scenes, Vision are hoping to put this riot into the history books. However, despite all the glowing front-page headlines some media outlets are providing them regarding their un-costed green manifesto, the issue of Robertson's Riot isn't going away anytime soon.
Just in case you're interested, what follows is a copy of Anton's motion:
1. The downtown fan zones for Stanley Cup viewing in 2011 were the responsibility of the City of Vancouver;
2. The riot which followed the conclusion of Game 7 caused extensive damage to businesses, great personal trauma, and damage to the international reputation of the city;
3. The City of Vancouver conducted an internal review and public consultation after the 1994 Stanley Cup riot;
4. The findings of that 1994 report provided many recommendations on how to prevent another riot during large events;
5. Peaceful large events occur regularly in Vancouver, and several are scheduled for this summer and fall;
6. Stakeholders from the general public, downtown merchants, youth, liquor related businesses, large event planners, media and transit should have the opportunity to provide their perspectives on the events surrounding the 2011 Stanley Cup riot;
7. An external review of the 2011 Stanley Cup riot is being conducted;
8. The Mayor has requested the City Manager to conduct an internal review of the events surrounding the 2011 Stanley Cup riot.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT staff be requested to report back with:
(a) The proposed budget for the internal review of the events around the 2011 Stanley Cup riot;
(b) Details of the recommended public consultation;
(c) Recommendations for establishing the independence of the review;
(d) Goals for the review; and
(e) A proposed timeline for the review.