rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Gregor Robertson's riot, part one

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca in its summer fundraiser today for as little as $5 per month!

Last Friday, the City of Vancouver released the first batch of documents requested about the city's preparations for the Stanley Cup playoffs and the ensuing June 15 Stanley Cup riot after the final game. These documents were released in response to Freedom of Information requests that various persons, including me, submitted after June 15. This first release (one more will follow in late September) can be found at: City of Vancouver FOI page or the Information Releases section of the City Notices and Publications page.

Keeping to the now cliche government standard for the release of bad news, the first dump of documents was on a Friday afternoon when most of the mainstream media have gone off for the weekend.

Here is what we know from the documents obtained so far:

On April 19, 2011, the Vancouver Police Department's Chief Constable, Jim Chu, gave his report to city council on policing for the Stanley Cup run. Chu, who may not know what an anarchist is or isn't, at least did his job that day. Chu noted that he did not have funds in his budget for the event. His conservative estimate of $1,296,549 for policing was based on, "...expected minimum cost of the deployment. The costs may rise based on fan reaction; however this cost may be reduced should one or more of the series end in fewer than seven games." Chu had the number of games right, but it is now pretty clear that he and the city planners flubbed the fan reaction part of the equation. That part alone could have sent the estimate considerably higher.

At a meeting attended by City Manager Penny Ballem, Chief Chu, and other city staff of the "Corporate Management Team" on May 27, the need to go to city council for money from the contingency fund was noted.

What we don't know is this: Did the money materialize? If not, why not? Was Chu forced to make do with whatever funds he could scrape together, thus leading to a vastly under-policed Stanley Cup final?

One rumour circulating at City Hall is that the contingency fund had been significantly depleted by the costs of the bike lanes and hence not enough was left for the VPD. This may not be correct, of course, but if there is anything to it, it could spell big trouble for Vision Vancouver in the November election.

We'll have to wait and see what the next batch of documents reveal, but given how generally secretive the city staff and politicians are being about it all, it's hard not to suspect that they are hiding something and that the worst, for them, is yet to come.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.