Robertson's Riot: When all else fails, blame Vancouver's media

Post by Daniel Fontaine in


vancouver media.jpeg
City police take aim at Vancouver's media saying they helped "incite" Robertson's Riot

It likely wasn't a date you noted on your calendar, but earlier this week we surpassed the 100 day mark since Robertsons' Riot. There are still no charges laid against any of the culprits, nor have any politicians stepped up to the plate and accepted responsibility for the poor planning of Mayor Gregor's Fan Zone.

Just when you thought the issue of Robertson's Riot was fading from the news cycle, the Vancouver Police Department fanned the flames this week. Angry over what they see as unfair coverage, the VPD decided to distribute a blistering attack against Vancouver's media.

They issued a media release which points the finger right at local journalists for helping to "incite" Robertson's Riot. Here is an excerpt:

We are concerned about stories created that choose to inflame the rhetoric about the riot based on wrong information, as we were originally concerned by stories and reporters who beat the drum most loudly inciting crowds to gather in the first place.

The question I have is whether or not the Chair of the Police Board and Mayor of Vancouver Gregor Robertson supports the VPD's statement? Was he even briefed about it prior to it being distributed to the media?

Due to the fact Mayor Gregor appears to be in a political witness protection program, we're likely never hear to from him regarding what he thinks of the VPD's attack. However a tweet from councillor Geoff Meggs, the Mayor's right hand man, sheds a bit of light on what His Worship might be thinking. Meggs states:

@CityCaucus @MayorGregor media code of conduct proposal was least-reported recommendation of Furlong-Keefe. Also proposed after '94 riot.

Sure doesn't sound like Meggs and Vision Vancouver are distancing themselves from the VPD's statement. Quite the contrary. They seem a bit choked that it took so long for the media to finally begin wearing this one.

I must say it's a bit rich for Mayor Gregor to invite 150,000 people downtown without a proper plan, then blame the media for "inciting" the riot. But what I'd like to know is why the Mayor and the VPD aren't providing any concrete examples of specific stories they believe helped fuel Robertson's Riot? If they believe media outlets like Global TV and CKNW helped to incite a riot at the CBC sponsored Fan Zone, then why not show us the evidence?

CKNW radio was all over this story today as they wanted to find out more about just exactly who authorized that statement to be issued to the media. Here is what they posted online (it also includes a very interesting 49 second audio clip with the Chief):

Two days after an unattributed Vancouver Police Department memo accused un-named reporters of inciting Stanley Cup rioters, no one on the force is ready to take responsibility for it. Inspector Dean Robinson says talk to the Chief.

"I may as well refer you to the Chief's office, that's who has been doing all the business."

But the boss, Chief Jim Chu, had neither time, nor answers when asked by CKNW reporter James Lewis.

Despite repeated questions, Chu wouldn't say whether he had authorized the memo.

"The statement is written, and it's posted on our website, there's many versions of statements... sometimes I see them, sometimes I don't."

Two days after the riot, the chief told reporters his department was "fully transparent."

First the Mayor blamed a small group of "hooligans and thugs" for causing Robertson's Riot. Then he said it wasn't just the City's fault, but TransLink and the Province were also to blame. Incredibly, a few weeks ago he even had the audacity to blame the lone opposition NPA councillor Suzanne Anton for her role is fueling the mayhem on June 15th. (Update: one of our commentors reminded us that Gregor also blamed the NHL for the riot. Thanks George).

Now we find out that part of the PR strategy is to blame the media who reported about the Mayor's big frat party that went sideways.

When will Robertson understand that the public is still waiting for him to take some (not all) of the responsibility for what happened when Vancouver took a $1 billion dollar hit to its international reputation. To date he's done just a lot of finger pointing...and now Vancouver's media are his latest target of choice.

We're only a few weeks away from the intense heat of the 2011 civic election. Something tells me that despite my earlier predictions, the Robertson's Riot story may well remain an issue for some time to come.

- Post by Daniel. You can follow us on on Twitter @CityCaucus or you can "like" us on Facebook at


I think it has got to the point a full pubic inquiry their all bubbling!

Gregor Robertson forgets he used the media to sell the outdoor is a great link..excellent post by Bob Mackin.

September 24th/2011

This is insanity.

And inadvertantly hilarious as someone at VPD has seen fit to throw a hissy fit over coverage to date --and now crap on the media! And the department now won't be tranaparent and say who issued the release?!?!

This town is run by rank amateurs.

If the police department has started to sink to such desperation, perhaps its time heads did start to roll. Yes, there was media hype over the payoffs but that happens in every city. And if they're suggesting the media encouraged too many people to come downtown and celebrate, then by extension of that logic, the VPD should be condemning the mayor for inciting the riot.

Daniel, you are a beauty!! do you come up with this "garbage" ...."robertson's riot"...give me a break....there were so many variables and issues, (and cultural / societal values and accountability problems with our youth) ...the riot was not caused by anyone "political person, or VPD chief"...give your head a shake. And the media...sure they did not cause the riot - but absolutely some of the reporting and stories have been crap....just look at the hogwash you wrote here....that is the perfect example! ....
The riot was indeed caused by a group of youth, intoxicated, who started fires which led to continued having a country wide celebration in many cities- organized by many groups and advertised by many media....due to one group in one city being complete idiots - you blame the mayor....of course you do cause you are not a Vision supporter and so you write this garbage....I would love to see who you'd blame if the riot was in Victoria....what if it was in Sullivans high rise...would you blame him....this is laughable.....everything I read on here is slanted due to partisan still seems like a genuine "blog" site not an unprejudiced reporting venue with integrity...that is why I left for 3 years....keep up the good work!

Jeremy, remember 'Sam's Strike'? was that label accurate or fair? It depends on who you ask.

Who went on the various news outlets and said 'Come on down'? I recall it being Heather Deal and Gregor. Penny chimed in as well. The City's communications department used the media endlessly to get the word out that Vancouver was going to celebrate.

I think 'Robertson's Riot' is neither over the top or inaccurate. It was his party and therefor his aftermath.

There are many things in life that are 'laughable', and an inability to properly use punctuation is one of them.

I think that is the result of extensive Hollyhock education.

Here is a list of classes for September at Hollyhock:

1.Path of the songwriter.
2.Awakening Alchemical Healing
3.Sea kayaking Adventures
4.Hidden Treasure
5.The Ecstasy of Chant
6.Therapeutic Tai Chi
7.Social Venture Institute, taught by Joel Solomen himself..
8.Conscience Relationships
9.Guitar and Mandolin Acoustic Inspiration
10.Native American Mythology..

I kid you not!!

and this is where it all began..

within 48 hours of this post the Mayor got competitive with Mike Klassen, and decided bigger was better..

The restorative power of music (and chanting), efforts to maintain physical health, appreciation for our natural world, and understanding to be gained by learning about other cultures are easy to recognize... and require no faith.

Even if they are pretty much central to most religions.

Why I'll bet I could find similar courses offered at most any theological college with a bit of Googling. But hey, it's the day of rest and I've sinned enough this on that account this Sunday.

Your point about Hollyhock, if indeed you have one?

Q: What's the difference between circus clowns and the Vision city council?
A: The clown's bikes have three wheels.


Loved the joke. ahahahahhahahahah

this is a great link..


Once again ex-union boss Meggs demonstrates his complete disregard for the truth and disrespect to the voters in Vancouver. The Furlong-Keefe report did not make a recommendation that the media adopt a code of conduct. There were two media recommendations made and they can be found in the summary section. The 1994 riot report did contain a code of conduct recommendation but only in regards to "videotaping of large crowds". That has of course been rendered moot by social media and the prevalence of handheld wireless units with video and photo capability. Meggs willingness to tweet mistruths is truly astounding but is clearly a VV strategy designed to scatter blame and misinform voters.

The point about Hollyhock is this: that inside City Hall, the thinking is dominated by Hollyhock devotees. True and fervent believers, if you will. Who really don't listen to others outside their tight group---or belief system.

Now, I enjoy a good rolfing as much as the next person, but the "alternative" and fevered culture of the Cortes place puts into question what drives priorities at Silly Hall.

One has to admit that some of the seminars held at 'The 'Hock' come under the designation of "eye rolling' and that people with that much angst, time and money on their hands, cannot possibly be tuned into the reality of a typical fairly mundane middle class existence.

In other words, do they really relate to people who have to worry about things like whether they can pay the mortgage, keep a job, etc? Not exactly on the same esoteric and elevated plane, yes?

So when your mayor and some of his newly recruited staff who hold the place in such reverence, and have such a deep an ongoing attachment, perhaps it is not unreasonable to suspect their religious experiences in such an atmosphere interferes with and limits their ability to discern the real concerns of a majority of the electorate.

And I guess I shouldn't point to a less lofty reality and mention that the oh-so-clubby atmosphere that they operate within has very, very practical purpose. Green economy, indeed--It's a place where deals are done, networks built and money raised by arrivistes to support one civic party. i call that "access" and "bagmen". Someone is getting something from all of the hustle.

In saying that that, when it comes to where the elite meet to greet each other (rather smugly), pray someone tell me where is the difference between Hollyhock and the Vancouver Club?

I don't know about you all, but I can't stand it when my "betters" tell me--and don't ask--what's good for me...

Don't you all get it?? This wasn't anyone with the VPD blasting the media.

It has all the stink of Ballem ghost writing and forcing the release under the guise of the VPD. All in desperation to shield her BeanieProp hero, the only idiot in all of Canada that would hire such an incompetent as a City Manager.

Actually, I'm kind of on the same page as the VPD here. Certainly not the only factor but the media cheerleading was definitely a contributory factor to whipping up the mania of the whole affair. Just as Gregor breathlessly hoped for huge jubilant crowds celebrating his HappyPlanetness, the media breathlessly repeated it all, hoping to get part of the credit.

If things had turned out differently - i.e. we won the cup, and there was no riuot - it's likely that Gregor would have come off fantastically, image-wise. The media would have had the same risk/reward.

To pretend the media had NOTHING to do with it is totally ridiculous and shows your bias. And you shouldn't mischaracterize the VPD comments, they're not pretending media were the only factor, but they are being honest and saying, yeah, it was a factor.

Chu should have taken responsibility on June 16th and perhaps should have resigned.

@ George:

I'm not a fan of Chris Shaw's in any fashion, but his points are interesting.

What happened to the contigency fund money - was it spent on bike lanes?

From that blog post....

At a meeting attended by City Manager Penny Ballem, Chief Chu, and other city staff of the "Corporate Management Team" on May 27, the need to go to city council for money from the contingency fund was noted.

What we don't know is this: Did the money materialize? If not, why not? Was Chu forced to make do with whatever funds he could scrape together, thus leading to a vastly under-policed Stanley Cup final?

One rumour circulating at City Hall is that the contingency fund had been significantly depleted by the costs of the bike lanes and hence not enough was left for the VPD. This may not be correct, of course, but if there is anything to it, it could spell big trouble for Vision Vancouver in the November election.

Agreed on all points..
I saw the article and was intrigued...and like you I have heard those rumors..

The Thought Of The Day

'Would it be STUPID OF ME to ask the question... would it have hurt that much if the OVERPAID CROOKS inhabiting City Hall would have charged VOLUNTEER hours during the Playoffs instead of charging Million$ in OVERTIME instead...!? If it was all for the good of the city and for the good of sports...then why not?'

BTW, valid for all levels of government and the VPD, the Fire Services... everyone else seem to work with volunteers just fine, however only the 'executive directors' get to be paid 'charitably'...

As I said, STUPID QUESTION, considering that both Gregor (who bikes...) and Aufochs (who apparently walks) claimed ALL their Transportation Allowances! Plus, I still cannot believe we pay that woman to act as City Manager!

Whaaadafa'?... you'll say. I know, my point exactly. Until someone looks into this though...

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

We need a new corollary to Godwin’s Law: Let’s call it Klassen’s Law:

"As any online discussion of Vancouver Politics grows longer, the probability that it will devolve to arguing over Bike Lanes approaches 1."

Klassen Count on this post: 21 comments.

Funny, I haven't seen one post from Mike Klassen and 21 posts on this blog for bikes?

There are only 24 posts to begin with.

Vision's law - don't let a good argument stand in they way of facts.

And while on it, I do love how Meggs is 'trumeting' that Vision brought Credit Suisse to Vancouver, I would suggest, they as foreing investors look at Vancouver like most foreign investors, and the fact that BC is a recource based economy, of which Vancouver is the major city in the province... (as well, Pixar, which was first announced in May, 2009, meaning Disney was actively searching for space before then, bu hey, I digress).

And if Meggs' is claiming Credit Suisse and other office towers are 'green jobs', then our ancestors should be proud as office jobs have been around for centuries and how progressive of them to look to the future and think - 'green jobs', that is the ticket.

My Two Vision Kopecks on Credit Suisse @Fabula... earlier. As for Meggs... 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1... November 19th! LOL

The Thought Of The Day

‘When The Real Europeans will completely $$$ default in a few years, followed or preceded by Russia, the ‘chosen ones’ may be in dire need to have their monies secure… close to New York’s Wallstreet but as far away from the Greek, Basque and Gaul peasant fury. Now, the more you think of it, Hollyhock makes sense as the next highly gated, retirement kibbutz for bankers and investment sharks.’

The only problem. The Earth is round. And they could be reached from the other side… Duh!
In all fairness, I think Credit Suisse is more interested in the Basement and the Vault Suites and not in the Tower itself. Plus, now that they have the confirmation that a 1Billion dollars in PR & Tourism damages to the city and after more than three months after Robertson’s Riot no one has been in the least inconvenienced and the cherry on top of the cake, all of the major City Hall, Council and VPD chiefs incompetents kept their jobs. So… it’s looking Suisse… for Credit, eh!

Maybe would have been a good idea to do some research before drumming this non-story into the news. Start here:

Continue with the Bank robbing of Argentina, when truckloads of cash were moved under heavy security out of the country, in the middle of the night. Credit Suisse at the trough indeed. But this story might be too much for this blog…
Anyway, this is in no means good news, this banks only move to places where they can corrupt, speculate and rip major profits from the unsuspecting partners. Period.

As Solomon says in his speech, “if you can’t do it in places like [Vancouver] we have a real problem.”…ha, ha, ha

Not everyone is a born sucker, you know.

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

I absolutely cannot understand Vancouver anymore.

I just read a press release on AM 980 where the Mayor is now defending the police.
He's also trying to say the memo came out because of the pressure they are under.
Cut them some slack he said. (in his own words)

Who's responsible for the riot?
The rioters AND
Every group that benefited from 150,000 out of control idiots rampaging downtown.

A very,very long list.

Have we forgotten about the people who were terribly injured by this?

The bars,the restaurants, on and on and on.

Everybody who rubbed their hands together about the money they were making.

So, clearly, when reading this article that spells out requests for funding to pay for more policing, you must conclude that Robertson knew that trouble was brewing.

But, PropellerHead that he is, he just said party on, come one, come all, eat drink, be merry. Ignore the warning signs. Put on the blinders and if something happens use rule 101: Hide under the desk and have Penny blame someone else.

Check out!

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