Vancouver mayor ducking riot responsibility: rival
Vancouver mayoralty candidate Suzanne Anton says Mayor Gregor Robertson needs to step up and accept responsibility for the mishandling of the Stanley Cup celebrations sites and the ensuing riot.
Anton, who is the only councillor not part of the mayor's coalition, says all the planning for the Stanley Cup Live celebration sites was handled through the mayor's office and never came to council for review.
"City council spent more time talking about homeless chickens than public safety around the hockey live sites or the final game of the series," adds Anton. "That tells you where the mayor's misguided priorities are."
She is calling for an independent city review of the whole process, and plans to file a motion on Monday afternoon requesting all documentation and correspondence related to Game 7 celebrations be made public.
"Gregor Robertson needs to take responsibility for this. You know people are starting to call it Robertson's riots," she said.
Dispute over causes
Mayor Robertson and Vancouver police have blamed the riot on a small core of anarchists and criminals who they say came downtown prepared for a riot, equipped with tools for smashing glass and fuel for starting fires.
But Anton says officers on the street were under-resourced and everyone seemed to miss signs that the crowd of more than 100,000 drunken youths gathering on the streets was going to be more than a family affair.
"I was down there myself on Wednesday night and you could see the people coming in. It was a different crowd. It was younger, the families were leaving on Wednesday night and there were a lot of young people arriving and many of them were drunk," she said.
"All of us are sickened by what happened," says Anton.
"Watching these people trash and violate our city made me sad and angry at the same time. But it's time to figure out what went wrong and how we prevent this happening in the future. We have to ask the tough questions because we need accountability here."
She says the rioting, looting and violence was a terrible black eye for the city, and with big events like the Fireworks and the Grey Cup coming up later this year, the city needs to prove it can handle them.
"We've got a reputation to rebuild as a city, and I think it started the day after the riot when Vancouverites showed up to reclaim their city,' says Anton. "But the mayor needs to take some responsibility and do his part."
Anton says the report from the 1994 riot sat on the shelf and that the recommendations in that review were not followed on Wednesday night.
The provincial government has already promised to launch its own independent inquiry into the riot.