Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Riot review was a VANOC reunion

The Sept. 1-published "The Night the City Became a Stadium," the fancy title for the Stanley Cup riot review, has John Furlong and Doug Keefe's names on it. It was ghost-written by Stewart Muir, whose wife is Premier Christy Clark's deputy minister.

Now we know that there was another ex-VANOC executive involved. Terry Wright of IPS Consulting was the executive vice-president for the 2010 Winter Olympics whose portfolios included transportation, accommodation and security. He worked closely with VANOC CEO Furlong. Wright also relied heavily on Vancouver city manager Penny Ballem and Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson for the vital people-moving plan during the Games.

Wright was paid at least $24,000 for his work on the Riot Review, according to records released by the Public Safety and Solicitor General ministry after a Freedom of Information request by me. Not bad for a summer job. Not bad when there are no Olympic gigs happening for either of them.

Furlong and Wright were both in Durban in early July for the International Olympic Committee's annual meeting and left off the coordination commission for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. The IOC traditionally appoints a top executive from the most-recent completed Games to the panel that oversees planning and organization of the next. There are no Vancouver 2010 executives on the 2018 checkup group.

There is a perception by anyone who observed the 2010 Winter Olympics that both Furlong and Wright owe a debt of gratitude to Ballem and Robertson for handling the urban domain so well during the Games (not to mention, being responsible for the in-receivership Olympic Village). VANOC sources have told me how Vancouver city hall did yeoman's work before and during the Games. One can reasonably question the independence of their review. Why would Furlong and Wright want to stand back and criticize -- without fear or favour -- those who helped them in the defining moments of their careers?

If Premier Christy Clark really wanted an objective investigation of the public authorities' role in the June 15, 2011 Stanley Cup riot, she could have easily hired a retired judge.

Vancouver Riot Review was a VANOC reunion

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