VANOC Credited with Late Arrivals of Premier, Mayor and Four Host First Nations Leaders at Opening Ceremony
A VANOC bus carrying the city and province's leading dignitaries arrived nearly a half an hour late to BC Place and the result was that the premier, the mayor and the leaders of the four host First Nations were not there on the podium at the point in the ceremony where they were to have been acknowledged and where the First Nations leaders were meant to welcome the world to the Games.
Although there was no speaking role for the premier or the mayor at the ceremonies, they both missed a once-in-a lifetime media opportunity.
They were meant to be acknowledged and to revel in the world's attention. If only for a moment. "But a moment is huge, when you're talking about 3 billion people watching," a source said.
For the chiefs of the host First Nation, the missed opportunity was far bigger.
"Thee chiefs of the four host First nations were on the same bus and they actually had a role and were to be introduced. They're the ones that really "got screwed."
There was also another bus that was carrying Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the driver got lost and kept them late as well. Overall VANOC totally screwed up the bus system and delivered almost everyone late for the games. "Totally in John Furlong's lap," the source said.
The City has apparently had to fight relentlessly to get Furlong to include the mayor in VANOC events. Apparently, Furlong's alliances are with Premier Gordon Campbell and I'm told he would have wished the premier to have benefitted from the gold chip positioning NBC's cameras offered that night. But even Campbell lost out.
"It was just a fuck up. VANOC disorganization," the source said.
"You would have thought that for an internationally televised event, they would have been much more careful about getting the dignitaries to the event on time," another source said. "It was very disappointing that they all arrived late for this long-anticipated and important moment."
When asked how the chiefs had responded when they realized they were going to be late, this source said that they "couldn't have been more graceful."
The bus made a stop at a hotel. They were getting late. Very late. It perplexed the bus's passengers who nervously checked their watches as the time for the opening neared. Traffic delayed them further.
Inside BC Place, the ceremony began without them.
"They were supposed to be seated behind the Governor General and they were supposed to be introduced," another source said. "They were supposed to be on the podium at the beginning where they should have been seeing the camera focus on them. Instead, you saw a a young woman taking off her jacket and fixing her hair over and over. You were not supposed to see this girl, you were supposed to see Gregor and the other dignitaries."
At a dress rehearsal a few nights before the event, Mayor Robertson thanked volunteers and welcomed the world to the city. Afterwards, he introduced Premier Gordon Campbell, who did the same. But when it came to the prime time moment, fate couldn't have been kinder to Stephen Harper.
But Prime Minister Stephen Harper had arrived on time.
He stood before millions of viewers as Canada's political face.
He owned the podium.