No internal report for premier on Stanley Cup riot

Press secretary says verbal reports the night of the riot were sufficient

June 15 was the ugliest night of Christy Clark's young stay in the premier's office, but her staff didn't immediately document the Stanley Cup riot and its aftermath.

A Freedom of Information request found no situation reports were provided to or briefing notes prepared for Clark, Solicitor General Shirley Bond or their senior staff about the riot after the Boston Bruins beat the Clark-favoured Vancouver Canucks for the Stanley Cup.

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Although a thorough search was conducted, no records were located in response to your request, said the July 15 FOI response letter.

The Stanley Cup fan zone was a City of Vancouver event, but there were numerous implications for the provincial government from the shocking night of violence, vandalism, fires and looting.

B.C. Ambulance Service paramedics treated and transported the injured and the drunk. The province regulates policing and the distribution and sale of alcohol.

Downtown Vancouver includes provincial buildings, some of which may have contained staff or contractors at the time of the riot. B.C. Hydro, the biggest Crown corporation, is based near the Georgia and Hamilton epicentre of the riot and sponsored the CBC Plaza fan zone.

Rioters were seen around 11:30 p.m. on Howe Street near the provincial Robson Square courts and office complex.

Reports of the riot were carried internationally by major news outlets and social media, tarnishing the provinces reputation. It was the biggest news event in B.C. since the 2010 Winter Olympics ended. But Clark did not order an internal report nor did her staff do one proactively.

"The premier was receiving continuous updates by phone, from premier's office staff, during that time, Clark's press secretary Chris Olsen told the Courier. As she was in constant verbal communication with key staff, there were no situation reports or briefing notes required."

NDP Public Safety and Solicitor General critic Kathy Corrigan called it mind-boggling.

Either there was no briefing note, which doesn't make any sense at all, or the other possibility is there is a briefing note and you weren't given it, Corrigan said. There are briefing notes for every issue. You have to have an analysis of what happened. This was a very serious and complex incident.

Clark began to play catch-up on June 20 when she announced a joint provincial/civic review to examine city hall and Vancouver Police Department planning and the role of liquor in the riot. On June 28, she named former Nova Scotia deputy minister of justice Doug Keefe and VANOC chief executive John Furlong to conduct the independent review. The deadline is Aug. 31, but a publication date has not been announced.

Furlong's independence has been questioned because he is a director of Non-Partisan Association campaign chairman Peter Armstrong's Rocky Mountaineer tourist rail business. Vancouver Canucks parent Aquilini Investment Group was a key sponsor and supplier to Furlong-led VANOC. Aquilini-owned Rogers Arena was, by virtue of hosting Game 7, the biggest booze-selling establishment in the city on June 15.

Clark attended the championship game as a guest of Canucks Sports and Entertainment chairman Francesco Aquilini, whose Aquilini Construction and Development donated $25,000 to her successful B.C. Liberal leadership campaign.

2010goldrush@gmail.com

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