Vancouver riot review: John Furlong's balancing act
"Given that the NPA is already in campaign mode and attacking Gregor Robertson, with Suzanne Anton calling the riot 'Robertson's riots', it is problematic for me that Furlong would co-chair an external review that will report back on Aug 31, just when the campaigns are going to be in full force."
No effect on the elections? Jim Green comments...
Jim Green, the former city councillor and mayoral candidate who worked with Furlong in the Olympic planning, agreed that Furlong is close to the NPA and the B.C. Liberals, but said he was confident that Furlong’s NPA connection would have little or no impact on the outcome of the review, and little political consequence for the mayor.
“(Clark) is very political with her appointments … She has a tendency to appoint people who are close to her,” he said.
“But having said that, Furlong’s going to have to be the most objective guy on earth in the review, or he’ll get everyone in trouble, including the premier.”
Although Green was “not impressed” with Furlong’s jabs at the mayor, he also expressed respect for the former VANOC CEO, and said he would bring appropriate credentials to the review.
“Sometimes we had strong disagreements, but I always had a lot of respect for him. How do you go from running The Arbutus Club to running the Olympics? I have utterly different political alliances and opinions, but I think he might be the right guy for the job.”
Furlong: open admiration for former premier Gordon Campbell
Despite his attacks on the mayor in his book, Furlong is fawning in his praise of Canada's new High Commissioner to Britain, B.C.'s ex-Premier.
"Gordon Campbell never insisted on centre stage . . . Gordon never once asked to be accorded any special favours as the lead politicians in the host province. He went way up in my estimation."
Campbell clearly relished his role at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games and Harper chose Campbell to represent Canada in time for Campbell to particpate in the London's 2012 Summer Olympic Games.
Above: Gordon Campbell (left) and Mayor Gregor Robertson (right) at Canada Line opening ceremony
Although Campbell and Robertson reportedly enjoyed a friendly relationship during the Olympics, Christy Clark's relationship with Robertson has been unclear. Earlier this month, Gwyn Morgan, a senior advisor to Clark, blasted the mayor in a column that appeared in the Globe and Mail:
"...it was decisions made by the mayor and civic officials that created an anarchist's dream scenario of overwhelming numbers, booze and fan disappointment."
When asked if Clark had appointed Furlong to the riot review to position him to damage Robertson's political career, Woodsworth answered, "A lot of Vancouver mayors have gone on to become Premier."
Green agreed that the B.C. Liberals view the mayor as a threat.
“If I were any Liberal, I’d be very worried about Gregor,” he said emphatically. “He’s very smart. If he were to run for Premier, he’d probably have huge support from the NDP.”
However, he disagreed that Clark is overly concerned with the mayor at this stage, saying that her immediate concern was B.C. NDP leader Adrian Dix, who will be facing her in the next provincial election.
Luge death: CBC investigation
As Furlong works on reviewing the riot, it's worth noting that he was the subject of an investigation himself by the CBC's Fifth Estate report for the death of Kumaritashvili.
Screencap from YouTube