The whole event has run the gamut from spectacle to pathetic farce: Vancouver Police Department chief Jim Chu and Vancouver's Gregor Robertson desperately trying to shift blame for the Stanley Cup riot away from their own culpability onto the backs of others. First, the riot was blamed on "anarchists." Alas for Chu and Robertson, some of the normally tame media are having trouble understanding exactly how anarchist mind control of drunks is supposed to work.
Now Chu is going after Robert Whitelaw, one of the contributors to the report on the 1994 report on that year's riot. Chu seems to be hoping that by slagging Whitelaw's contributions to the 1994 report, his own lack of any back up plan will be sidelined.
Here is a news flash, Jim: It's not going to work that way. You had no contingency plan. You just assumed it would all go well, in the process violating the first principle of war gaming. Perhaps this was because you really believed it. Perhaps it was because the city staff, read City Manager Penny Ballem (or the mayor) told you so. Maybe you didn't have enough resources -- money -- to pay for overtime. Maybe you asked and didn't get it; or maybe you forgot to ask?
Whatever, the whole thing went south on your watch and as the big dog of the VPD, the buck stops with you. You screwed up and the equivalent of ministerial responsibility applies: You have to resign.
For the moment, it's up to you how long you dangle in the wind. But in due course -- sooner rather than later -- the pressure from City Hall for you to fall on the grenade and accept your pension will become overwhelming. My advice: leave now while you have a shred of dignity left.
As for Ballem, my guess is that she will be up next on the firing block. How much her advice, or lack thereof, played in the fiasco will remain unknown until the Freedom of Information documents start to surface. But they will, and then it will be her turn to walk the plank.
As for Gregor: Gregor, you came into office by riding public discontent about the Olympic Villages screw-up. The riot of last Wednesday makes the Village seem merely a minor glitch compared to what the world just saw on television. If the NPA can't use this to retake City Hall, then they are dumber than they have any reason to be.
You might get lucky, but then again, you might not. Going back to Happy Planet might seem increasingly to be a better option because when Jim and Penny are gone, you'll be next in the public's crosshairs.
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