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More Inconvenient Facts The Govt. Didn't Want You to Know

The RCMP developed a “proactive communications strategy” in 2007 for communicating the true costs of 2010 Olympic security to the public. A document released to this writer under Access to Information showed that the RCMP and the Integrated Security Unit (ISU) had at least this long ago identified significant "gaps" between their estimate of 2010 security costs and those put forward by the 2010 Bid Corporation in 2002.

Bid Corp's original numbers were promoted by both federal and provincial governments as being accurate until October 2008 when then-Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada, Stockwell Day, admitted that the final tally would be somewhere between $400 to $900 million.

The 125 pages of released documents include an email forwarded to RCMP Inspector Hefferman for review by the Protective Policing subunit on June 29, 2007 prior to a Security Committee meeting.

Hefferman writes: "The deck was approved by Mr. Robert Jorssen (CMO Pac Region). In view of the significant number of gaps and estimates of low reliability, the deck focused on providing a financial update with insight on changing cost drivers and related implications and pressures on the $175 million initial operating budget.” The term “deck” appears to refer to the revised analysis.

In addition to coping with the rapidly expanding costs, ISU seemed obsessed with managing the media, addressing their concerns in a document about “Media Lines." The points contained in this document include the following proposed talking points that are worth quoting in detail to give the flavour of just how contrived the deception was:

“Communications are coordinated through the 2010 Security Communications Working Group.

As Canada furthers its efforts to finalize the costing to provide security to the Games, it may wish to consider identifying a target date for public disclosure of validated security costs.

In the meantime, the RCMP has an internally prepared Communications Strategy to respond should news of the escalating cost estimates reach the media.

Key media lines of response would include:

-The original security cost estimate of $175M was established in Budget 2001 and it was always expected that as the Games drew closer, a more refined estimate would be developed as a more accurate view of security requirements became known.

-The original estimate was based on a low level of threat and the associated deployment of resources.

-A significant increase in accommodation costs at Games time, as well as other inflationary pressures may have a significant impact on the security budget.

The RCMP is in the preliminary stages of updating its estimate for the provision of Security and the current high level numbers represent very rough estimates at the high end - taking into consideration that there are still many unknowns - and will require a much more thorough analysis.”

The effort to develop “a communications strategy to announce the total security budget” was set in motion on April 7, 2007.

The costs detailed in the documents were subsequently released to the public in February 2009. The cost estimate at that time through 2011 was estimated at $497.8, million, a difference of $322.8 million from the original $175 million. Military costs were not included in the nearly half billion dollar ISU budget.

One document, “Security Cost Estimates 2008-2011, Summary of Gaps” includes a graph that illustrates how the gaps in a number of estimates varied from the original Bid Corp budget.

On July 13, 2007, an RCMP document on letterhead prepared by Inspector Alain Duplantie, Director of Corp Services and Finance, V2010 Security, and Robert Jorssen, CMO Pacific Region, and “recommended” by Marty Muldoon, Executive Director Financial Management. and Assistant Commissioner Roger Brown, Protective Policing on July 16 noted that:

“A significant increase in accommodation costs at Games time, as well as other inflationary pressures may have a significant impact on the security budget.

The RCMP is in the preliminary stages of updating its estimate for the provision of Security and the current high level numbers represent very rough estimates at the high end - taking into consideration that there are still many unknowns - and will require a much more thorough analysis.”

The documents which include handwritten notes on a power point presentation print out dated November 6, 2007 by Assistant Commissioner Bud Mercer (head of ISU). Assistant Commissioner Roger L. Brown, and Robert Jorssen show that by this date the projected personnel for ISU had grown to 6,797. An earlier power point presentation by Brown and Jorssen (July 5, 2007) showed that the projected operational period had grown to 82 days with the peak period being 22 days long.

Other documents noted the need for “Various staging area (sic), bases, search sites” for a cost of $500,000. Quest University was to provide 480 bed for ISU personnel.

Once again, here in their own documents, we have evidence that the government had lied to the public about 2010 security costs and had virtually conspired to hide the real numbers. Who’s to blame? Is the RCMP/ISU doing what they are told by the politicians, or are the politicians giving the orders?

Say what you want about the RCMP and their usual habit of obsessive secrecy, at least they released the documents (unlike a number of other federal and provincial agencies.)

So if I had to guess who’s really to blame, I’d put my money on the politicians. And, I’d blame a complacent citizenry that let’s this nonsense go unchallenged.
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