Friday, June 17, 2011

Government sanctioned riots

House party gone wrong   
It's a common plot devise in Hollywood movies. The teenager's parents are away or on vacation, the teen has the big house to him/herself, invites friends who invite their friends and so on. The teen provides the house, the toilets, the entertainment, and before you can say: "Animal House" a mini-riot ensues. Drunkenness, drugs, police, the home is trashed.....you get the picture. That is just what happened the other night after the hockey game, except this party was held on behalf of the citizens of Vancouver.
The government of the City of Vancouver in its wisdom, announced (via Mayor Robertson) that the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs will be a community affair, funded by local taxpayers (because the city is flush with oodles of cash?), and presented for "free" to one-and-all in the downtown city core. Forget that a hockey riot had occurred in 1994, trust the City Council, this time it will be different, just remember that the 2010 Winter Olympics were a blast. The estimated price of this event will be half-a-million-dollars, chicken feed for all the good press vibes it will attract. Interestingly, I found this police report from 2010 that estimates that just the additional police presence, would cost almost $1 million. OK, lets forget that, for the moment because the City of Vancouver will set up "two giant TV screens mounted on flat-deck trucks that are expected to lure fans to the free, family friendly events." There will be sanitation costs, lots of port-a-potties, and on and on, come on down it will be fun. Lets not be too concerned that local business will be disrupted for many days, even weeks, lets just look at the benefits that will accrue, lets just look at one side and forget the other.
If this scenario sounds familiar to Canadians, let me cast your mind back just one year to Toronto and the G20 riots. This was to be a great boon to the city of Toronto, touted by all levels of government, attracting all sorts of media and prestige for the city. Well, businesses and individuals are still trying to recover damages from that mess.
Both of these events were effectively government sanctioned riots. Government officials set the location, set the time, provided the amenities, and invited the mobs and rioters; "bread and circuses" comes to mind. But even more obvious for me,  was the timeless essay written over 160 years ago by Fredrick Bastiat that should be required reading for anyone in government: That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen.
By the way, there was an event almost totally ignored by the media during these really important Stanley Cup Finals. There were no invitations issued by government through official announcements, the media seemed to be totally oblivious to it, so barely a mention. In fact the media was busy, all over Anthony Weiner  who "tweeted his meat" (more bread and circuses). But this gathering was potentially world changing, or not, depending on your belief in conspiracies. It was the Bilderberg Forum of 2011 in St. Moritz Switzerland. Apparently only bloggers and conspiracy theorists are interested in this, no riots there.  
  

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