Has Councillor Suzanne Anton lost it? I don’t know for sure but her recent email to NPA supporters seems to lean that way as she beats the drum of riots and violence in order to further her weak political ambitions.
Anton’s email reads less like a campaign note and more like one of those crazy screeds from the Unibomber, full of paranoid rants and visions of a burning city gone to hell.
“A riot exploded on the streets of Vancouver.” “Dozens of shops were destroyed.” “Livelihoods were turned upside down.”
Screenshot from Councillor Anton's hyperbolic email:
Slow down, Councillor! Yes, a riot broke out when too many drunks - many of them young, middle class males from out of town - stoked on beer and testosterone went on a rampage.
Windows were broken, some cars burned and the city was left with a nasty black eye. It was a sports riot like we’ve seen in many cities across North America and Europe.
The riot was stupid. It was ugly. It was also a bit ridiculous. But it wasn’t the end of the city Anton portrays.
There are many lessons to learn from this riot, number one being that Vancouver is like a lot of other North American cities, prone to unnecessary violence when drunk men and women gather in large numbers around sporting events.
But Anton doesn’t seem very interested in what really happened as she makes charge after charge.
Anton compares the playoffs to the Olympics and complains that unlike the Olympics, council never got the chance to see the plan for the playoffs, forgetting that the police had six years to plan for the Olympics but only about six weeks to plan for the play-offs.
She complains that the chair of the police board – the mayor – didn’t know the number of officers that were deployed on the night of the riot. But the mayor and police board shouldn’t know those numbers because, by law they aren’t involved in the police department’s operations.
She claims the police didn’t follow the recommendations from a report into the ’94 playoff riot, a claim that has already been discredited by the police commissioner.
After running through those charges Anton complains that the mayor didn’t give her solution the time of day. He cut her off after her allotted 5 minutes. Her solution is a city-initiated inquiry into the riots.
Councillor Anton, I hate to be the first one to tell you, but there already is an inquiry into the riots taking place. It was initiated by the province and the city and co-chaired by former VANOC CEO John Furlong and Doug Keefe, the former deputy justice minister in Nova Scotia.
Another inquiry that duplicates the work - and the cost - of the current inquiry?
Even as a piece of political gamesmanship, that’s pretty weak.
But then, come to think about it, weak is the word for Anton’s time on Council.