Mayor Gregor was very involved in the planning of the parade that never happened
If you’re wondering why I haven’t posted here in a few days, it’s because I’ve been wading through reams of riot-related documents the City of Vancouver posted on their website last Friday. There was certainly no shortage of material to read through as the freedom of information staff posted what they said was the first in a series of documents to be made available to the public.
A while ago I requested through the FOI office information related to the Stanley Cup parade that never materialized. As you are well aware, in the days leading up to Game 7 on June 15th, City officials were mum regarding whether anything was being planned if the Canucks won the Stanley Cup.
As a result, I thought our readers might enjoy seeing what was happening behind the scenes in relation to the planning of the parade route.
Much to my surprise, I stumbled upon a series of emails between staff which just happen to reference Kevin Quinlan, Mayor Gregor’s media guy. He’s also known as “Vancouver Kid”.
Most recently Quinlan has been responsible for the endless number of tweets about the Mayor’s every move. Just last weekend he was even tweeting about his boss delivering some compost…well you can just guess what the opposition NPA did with that tweet.
In an email exchange between City Engineer Peter Judd and Muriel Honey regarding the planning of the Stanley Cup parade and subsequent community celebration, it’s pretty clear the Mayor’s office are in the thick of things. Judd states:
Muriel, tomorrow morning I gather you have another parade meeting. Can you please let Kevin [Wallinger] know when that will be over so that he can set up a conference call with Penny, Fire, you, jerry, sadhu, quinlan etc. The usual suspects...
Also Kevin Quinlan wants us to explore what kind of event the canucks might participate in if they don't win. We are thinking the cbc area for some recognition and keep one or both of the big screens to broadcast that to a bigger crowd. That would mean closing hamilton and probably georgia but maybe midday on Friday not during the afternoon peak. Can you connect with the canucks and cbc please and see if they might be up for that. Thanks
According the independent Furlong/Keefe report, the Mayor’s office was completely hands off when it came to the planning and execution of the CBC fan zone. It would appear the same can't be said about the parade.
Now that I’ve been able to confirm the Mayor’s office staff were involved in the Stanley Cup parade planning, I’m even more convinced that Furlong/Keefe should have dug a little deeper.
How can it be that the Mayor took a hands off approach when it came to his hastily conceived fan zone? It simply doesn't make sense. After all, this is the same Mayor that signs off on the ordering of photo copy paper at City Hall to make sure it gets done right.
Another nugget of information contained within last week’s documents was an exchange between senior city management and union representatives. It relates to their concern the Mayor's fan zone might in some way impede Canada Post workers from picketing. Clearly this would have the potential of making the Mayor's union supporters a tad uneasy:
From: Muriel Honey
Sent: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 12:26 AM
To: Peter Judd, Penny Ballem, Jennifer Sheel, Murray Wightman, Mike Purdy, email@example.com, Wendy Stewart, Jerry Doborovolny
Just saw the local news - pickets at the Post Office, CUPW locked out. What impact will this have on set up and live sit if it continues? What is contingency plan? I won't be in the office tomorrow, but will be on cell.
Muriel Honey, Manager
Vancouver Film and Special Events
In response to that City Manager Penny Ballem sent an email to Honey and stated she was checking in the local CUPE rep to see if he has any advice:
I have a call in to paul faoro and will get back to you pb
Although it's difficult to determine which city staff sent this email, it would appear to be Ballem. She states:
Mike Jackson [CUPE outside workers rep] is going to talk to the postal union and try to get them to stay away from the areas we need to clean after so that there won't be any confrontation there...
It's kind of interesting that city officials appeared so concerned about a confrontation with unionized postal workers, but were oblivious to the fact a massive riot was just about to break out. Interesting priorities indeed.
If nothing else, these FOI documents provide us with a small glimpse into what were the real priorities of civic officials in the days leading up to Robertson’s Riot. There is obviously much more to come in Phase II of the release. You can expect they too will be made public late on a Friday afternoon.
PS The link to the FOI document has been quickly removed from the City's home page, but you can find it by clicking here.
PSPS I should also note this riot-related motion of council was adopted unanimously, yet was completely ignored by senior staff.