The Vancouver Riot Blame Game

Posted: June 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

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.

  1. Doctor X says:


    Just an WEEI listener–who lived near Vancouver during 2011–who enjoyed your calls to WEEI. Yes . . . I am *basking* in the Bruins sweep of Penguins–something NO ONE predicted, not even the most drunk “homer!”–but I think WEEI listeners would love a call from you regarding hockey.

    Anyways, best wishes!

    • Hi

      How’s it going? Thank You for the lovely comment. I’m also quite surprised by the Bruins sweep of the Penguins. I don’t think any hockey pundits predicted that. I’m not sure that I will be calling into WEEI… Iggy, Chach, and Meter have all left the station, and as much as the Boston fans loved my opinions, and calls I think I’ve had my 15 minutes of fame on WEEI. Enjoy the Stanley Cup Finals. The B’s have a great shot… but the Blackhawks will be tough because they can skate, and hit almost as well as the Bruins. Bruins have Rask, and he is playing stupid crazy good so I think we will all see a fantastic series. Enjoy your weekend, go Red Sox!!

  2. Marco says:

    Har, I very much enjoy reading your blog and listening you on D & C. I’m from Boston and obviously a big Bruins fan. I think that rioting can happen anywhere, whether a team wins or loses. I think IMHO, that the situation would have been the same if the Canuks won. You’re delaing with (in your opinion, and I agree with you) a bunch of morons, and they probably would have rioted anyway, in their twisted way of celebrating.

    Our Mayor, Tom Menino did not open up the TD Garden for a viewing of game 7 because of what he feared could happen with a win, or even a loss. Many people were pissed at this, but in hindsight, he was right. There were too many logistics that could not be put in place given the time frame.

    Now, I look foward to hearing you on D & C talking about the Sox. Hope you have a great time here in August and look foward to seeing you on the D &C show.

    All the best!

    • Hi Marco I’m glad you enjoy reading my blog. I enjoy writing when I know people are reading what I have to say. People were headed downtown with signs that said Vancouver 2011 Riot so if they knew a riot was going to happen Vancouver Council, and Vancouver PD should have known. How does Menino keep getting re-elected? It sounds like everybody in Boston doesn’t like him? He sounds like a no fun, party-pooping Mayor. I guess he’s called Mayor Mumbles for a reason. Boston has one a ton of championships since 2001 so you and everyone knows how to party and celebrate without destroying the city. I think Menino should have allowed for a small celebration during game 7. I’m hoping to be on D&C next week so keep it tuned to Weei. I’ve really enjoyed talking to John and Gerry but I’m not going to call in if their still talking about Gerry’s lost sandals and about Mr. Bulger. Yes I do understand the magnitude of his capture but don’t they work for a sports station. Thanks for your support Marco.

  3. John S says:

    Why blame the Police Chief or the Mayor? Blame the people of Vancouver who were in the street causing this mayhem. Its so easy to blame the Police Department, remember what the cost of more Police would have been. Who would have thought that as many cops as were there would not have been enough. It was a freak’en hockey game for god sake not the over taking of the government. Blame the nut jobs on the street who were doing this. I can’t wait to see the total cost of this when its all cleaned up.

    • Hi John of course I blame the people who rioted. If they didn’t turn the city on its head I wouldn’t have a riot aftermath story to write about and nobody would be talking about any sort of riot. My story was posted to elicit opinion on who besides the rioters is also responsible. I’m talking about Mayor Gregor Robertson or Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu. I’d say both of them are highly responsible for what happened. The total cost hasn’t been announced yet but close to 60 stores were damaged and Blenz coffee shop still hasn’t re-opened. Some places still have boarded up store fronts. Thanks for checking out my blog John; I hope you enjoyed reading my story.

  4. Faith Longobucco says:

    I am from Boston and I agree, it could happen anywhere. It becomes more shocking because after the Olympics you think of Vancover as a laid back city. I was watching game seven and I said to my kid who was just walking in the door, look at all the class they have, so many people staying to watch the B’s celebrate, many with Vancover shirts on.

    I feel sorry for the B’s fans that get hurt and the Vancover people that are good and kind people. If I could sign the wall, I would sign, “Do not worry Vancover, we know it is a select few, and do not judge Vancover by it.

    Har I have enjoyed listening to you on WEEI, I wish you much luck with your career. After all beyond hockey we are Red Sox fans. Enjoy the game when you are in town.

    • Hi Faith I went down a few days later and signed the wall with my Mom. She was pretty upset by what happened so we went downtown together and their was not one place to sign the wall. Every spot was taken up. We went to Starbucks for a bit and when we came back new boards had been put up so we both wrote a really long message of hope. The city of Vancouver says the signing wall will be stored in a museum until they figure out what to do with the boards. Thanks for your kind thoughts, and comments. I really enjoyed talking to D&C during the finals. Thanks for visiting my blog.

  5. JR says:

    I live in Boston and as much as I didn’t like Mayor Menino’s decision to close down the street that the Boston Garden is on before game 7, it was the correct decision. There were only a handful of arrests the night the B’s won the cup…. that’s probably less than an ordinary Tuesday night in Boston. You should get your Mayor to call ours before your next big event, and same with your Police chief!!!
    We may not have the big party of fun they had in Vancouver, but it’s better than the riots that happened out there.


    • Hey JR If so many people don’t like Mayor Mumbles Menino and his whacky policies why does he keep running and winning? I don’t think Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson will be calling Boston anytime soon. He is too busy trying to find ways to screw the people of Vancouver. I don’t understand how 1.5 million people flooded Boston for the big parade and nothing got out of hand happend and nobody went nuts. I guess the people of Boston have had a lot of practice with celebratory parades in the last decade. Thanks for sharing your comments JR, take care.

  6. Kyle Ervin says:

    It could happen to any city in the world with gatherings like that. Add in that a group was planning to start it either way, added with the drunken people pissed about losing to Boston and it grew out of control. I don’t understand how people broke into O’ Canada chants when they were destroying such a beautiful city. I’m glad to say I’m on the east coast right now when people ask where I’m from because it does give the west a big black eye. No one after the display of the players/fans in the finals will be rooting for the nucks in the upcoming years. Biting? Diving? Getting dummied by a rookie that is 5’9″? Getting blown out in 4 out of 7 games? Having your entire city destroyed after a loss? Think about it.

    • Hey Kyle how’s it going? Did you hear about the Riot in Argentina this weekend? River Plate was relegated to a lower football division after a poor season so their fans rioted and 25 people were injured. It wasn’t as big as what happened in Vancouver, but it just goes to show a riot can happen anywhere. River Plate had been playing in the top football league in Argentina for 110 years until this weekend. Yah “Oh Canada” was being sung everywhere. I think it was just stupid people making more stupid decisions. It was definitely a pretty black eye for Vancouver. It’s going to take a long time for Vancouver to get its image back. Just today Mayor Gregor Robertson said, that Police Chief Jim Chu won’t tell him or anybody else how many police were on the streets during the riot. Robertson also said that it’s a police matter so he can’t do anything. It has been rumoured somewhere between 200-300 officers were on the ground, but nothing has been confirmed. It’s still front page news in this city. Thanks Kyle.

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