City of Vancouver Reveals Plan to Do Nothing to Prevent a 2012 Stanley Cup RiotPosted: March 30, 2012
Following the 2011 Stanley Cup Riots and the arrest and prosecution of several of the thousands of rioters, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson has announced a bold new plan to keep the same thing from happening again: no more “big” celebrations. Robertson’s message?
If you want to get drunk, do it at a pub, bar, or restaurant.
Robertson has pledged $100,000 to help enable small, community-based fan sites (and is prepared to add to the budget if required), as well as a plan to keep drunk people from getting on transit (? I guess they should be driving?) and to keep people from smuggling booze into the downtown core. Also, liquor stores will be shut down early.
Robertson’s plan is insane. I think the only bill the city should be footing is the police bill. They shouldn’t be paying for TV screens or community centre costs or whatever. They just shouldn’t.
An interesting fact that seems to be left out in the city’s plan is that people go to bars to watch hockey games anyway. The best times I’ve had watching hockey have been at bars with friends. The best example for me is the 2010 Gold Medal hockey game. Me and some friends went to a restaurant, drank all their beer, and went outside after the game. We joined hundreds of thousands of other hockey fans in the street. It wasn’t planned or carefully laid out or part of the city’s grand plan: people just gathered. That’s just how these kinds of things work.
The city, for some reason, purposefully underfunded the VPD last year and while they want to blame the riot on a “few hooligans”, the fact is that the police were unprepared for what went down. Blaming it on exterior causes is stupid, especially because they shut down liquor stores early last year too, and the riot still happened. The only difference is that they’ll be toughening up alcohol checks, which is kind of a moot point because people will still be getting drunk in bars with no place to go after the game, regardless of whether or not the Canucks win. People will flood the streets and a lot of them will be drunk.
If alcohol is the problem, suspend liquor licenses for the day. Obviously the financial implications of such a ban would be huge and it’s something the city would never dream of doing and it’s something that wouldn’t work. Since we can’t ban alcohol, toughen up police presence and actually toss people in jail this time. It’s been almost a year and the prosecution of 2011 rioters is proceeding at a snail’s pace. Increase funding and toughen up the punishments. Don’t fund small community-based events and just encourage people to go the bar instead. You’ll just have a riot on your hands.