It was just one week ago that people around the world were waking up to the news of the Vancouver Stanley Cup Riot. The downtown core was torn apart by a mob of hooligans, anarchists, teenagers, and thugs. A game 7 Stanley Cup final loss to the Boston Bruins was all that was needed for a crowd of over 100,00o people to turn on each other and the city of Vancouver. One week later; who, the rioters, looters, and nut jobs aside, is responsible for the Vancouver riot. In one corner you have Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu, and in the other corner you have Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. Let’s see what these individuals have to say for themselves.
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson has been in power as Vancouver Mayor since December 2008. However, if you saw any of the rioting last week, you know that power is something Mayor Robertson did not have last Wednesday evening. Vancouver was turned on its side and kicked repeatedly by rioters before Mayor Robertson showed up on the scene to talk to reporters. Why wasn’t Robertson in contact with any of the television stations in Vancouver via email or phone during the heart of the riot. Where was he watching the game and why did it take so long for him to issue a statement. Not only did Mayor Robertson not act quick enough but he ignored recommendations made after the infamous 1994 Vancouver Stanley Cup riot. One of the recommendations stated that vehicles, dumpsters, and other potential targets should not be near large gatherings downtown during huge events. If you’ve ever visited Vancouver you know West Georgia St. is a huge artery and busy traffic thruway in downtown Vancouver. The decision by Mayor Robertson to invite Vancouverites down to Georgia and Hamilton St. to take in and watch the Canucks game was made without due care, and common sense. People left downtown Vancouver early because they thought a riot was about to unfold. If average citizens can tell a riot is about to occur why didn’t Mayor Robertson see that. When the Sky-train and Canada Line were jam-packed all day long with people coming in to downtown Vancouver talking about rioting, where were the eyes, and ears of Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. This is not one of Mayor Robertson’s proudest moments in office, and it’s quite possible his handling of the riot could cost him a chance at being re-elected this November.
Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu started his first day on the job as Chief Constable with a fatal police shooting of a man August 14th, 2007. Chu has done an outstanding job as Vancouver Chief of Police, until last Wednesday. Vancouver Police knew about the large crowds that were present during previous Canucks game, and still did not anticipate a potential riot. With only hundreds of Police officers on hand they were quickly out numbered by the massive crowd. Riot Police weren’t called until it was much too late. Chu did call for more Police from Abbotsford and the Fraser Valley but by the time the officers arrived the damage was done, and the riot was flaming out. The only thing Chu did correctly was shutting down every liquor store an hour before the puck drop. The Vancouver Police should have swung their batons, knocked people over, and made sure the city of Vancouver was protected from such morons. However, with the Vancouver Police not having all the resources needed to do this, how could they take back the city and restore law and order. That blame falls on Chief Constable Jim Chu. Chu clearly dropped the ball.
On Sunday November 27th the Grey Cup will take place in the newly renovated BC Place Stadium. The stadium will be packed, and thousands of fans will flood into downtown Vancouver to celebrate and party. Vancouver Police and whoever is Mayor of Vancouver at that time should host another celebration downtown. You can’t move on from what happened last week unless you are accountable and action is taken against those who fudged up. Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu should both shoulder the blame for what happened. If these individuals are going to be in charge of such high positions they need to restore faith in Vancouverites. If Jim Chu and Gregor Robertson are still in their positions when the Grey Cup final arrives, will you feel comfortable coming down to Vancouver with your friends and family. Vancouver can’t begin to heal until Chief Chu and Mayor Robertson are on a platter.