Hiding the True Costs of 2010 Security

Secret documents obtained by this reporter from the RCMP under an Access to Information request clearly demonstrate that the Mounties knew at least by July 2007 that the original projection of $175 million for Olympic security costs was wildly out of synch with reality. The estimate presented on that date almost two years ago was close to $466 million and did not include the budgets for the Department of National Defence or other key agencies.

In October 2008, then-Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparednes Canada, Stockwell Day, told the press that the cost range would be between $400 million and $900 million, emphasizing that the lower number was likely to be more correct. B.C.'s Finance and Olympics Minister, Colin Hansen, was quick to state that he thought the original security budget of $175 million was more likely. The released RCMP documents show that a July 6, 2007 meeting to discuss the burgeoning security costs was attended by then-B.C. 2010 Games Secretariat Annette Antoniak. At least by that same July, RCMP Commissioner William Elliot knew as well that the original costs would be "up considerably" from the original.

By November 2007, newly installed head of the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit (ISU), RCMP Assistant Commissioner Bud Mercer knew the tab would be over $490 million. ISU only released their estimate of $900 million overall with almost $492 for ISU alone in February 2009.

The documents reveal that RCMP staff worried about the media finding out noting that, "The worry is that if a media inquiry comes, we want to be prepared to soft-cell (sic) the numbers".

So there you have it: The original Bid Corp/VANOC number of $175 million a bad joke, the national police knowing for at least two years -and likely much longer - that the budget was unrealistic, senior provincial and federal ministers misleading the public about the true costs, and ISU members trying to hush it all up.

So much for Olympic transparency. So much for "peace, order and good" government and the right of citizens to know what that government is doing. Shame.
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