“Every absurdity has a champion to defend it.” ~ Oliver Goldsmith aka “The day politicians closed a bridge to do yoga.”
It was hot yesterday in the suburbs.
So hot that when I first heard the Burrard street bridge was being completely closed for 7 hours on the first day of summer to do yoga.…I went and poured a glass of ice water to make sure I wasn’t suffering the first signs of heat stroke.
The timing of the announcement was interesting for poli-geeks still actively discussing the revelations brought to us by Rob Shaw of the Vancouver Sun, that the government not only misled the public in the health firings debacle, but misled the RCMP as well:
“RCMP officers were blindsided by the B.C. government’s claim that they were investigating eight fired Health Ministry researchers, and never conducted a criminal investigation because the ministry never provided any evidence of wrongdoing, internal records show.
Mounties weren’t warned that Margaret MacDiarmid, who was then the health minister, would announce she had sent the case to the RCMP at the Sept. 6, 2012 press conference where she announced the employee firings, newly released emails show.
Despite claims from MacDiarmid’s ministry that its had “provided the RCMP with interim results of an internal investigation,” RCMP emails show the ministry simply gave “high level explanations of the allegations,” and that “the province’s investigation had not reached any conclusions that could support a criminal investigation.”
RCMP investigators tried five times over almost two years to get more information, but received none of the reports the Health Ministry had promised into what it had publicly billed as one of the biggest privacy breaches in B.C. history.
The Mounties closed the file on July 16, 2014, and informed the province. But it wasn’t until seven months later that the government publicly admitted it no longer expected police to pursue the matter.
The records, obtained by The Vancouver Sun through the federal Access to Information Act, show that the B.C. government repeatedly pointed to an RCMP investigation over several years, while at the same time doing virtually nothing to inform police about the case and failing to provide any evidence of a crime.
“Despite inferences in the media that the RCMP has undertaken an investigation or received information from the Province, this has not been the case,” wrote Const. Dean Miller from the RCMP’s Federal Serious and Organized Crime section, in a late 2014 report. “No tangible evidence or reports related to the allegations have been handed over. As such, no investigation has been initiated.”
NDP critic Adrian Dix said the documents “show a government that not just misled the public but misled the police. And it’s a very serious thing.”
The government “smeared” the reputation of the researchers by repeatedly lying about a police probe it knew did not exist, said Dix.
One of the researchers, co-op student Roderick MacIsaac, committed suicide after he was fired and it was suggested he was under police investigation.”
It’s disgusting and horrific. And while the government has apologized to the families and is in the process of dealing with the resulting litigation, saying sorry just doesn’t cut it. The sorry’s don’t mean anything in this case-they ring hollow as one man’s family will never get their loved one back.
But it’s business as usual. The Clark administration has had a pattern of incidents of wrongdoing that seems to always end up with apologies that in one case, seemed insincere and forced.
Ethnic-gate, the health firings deception and obfuscation, and lets not forget the recent allegations of intentionally deleted emails relating to the highway of tears missing and murdered women...and the removal of penalties for those in government who mishandle information like that. All examples of how far government will go to get the job done, or ” win at any cost”.
But I digress.
On the heels of the latest revelations that cross a line of human decency, in my opinion, the premier goes onto happily announce the closure of the Burrard Bridge for not one, not two, but seven full hours in both directions, on a Sunday morning to honour and celebrate the International Day of Yoga.
Happily supporting this idea? The city of Vancouver and the city of Surrey. And let’s not forget Lululemon, who will no doubt reap the immense advertising opportunity to no end to sell more yoga pants to women Chip Wilson thinks shouldn’t be wearing them.
Imagine the flyover image of people getting their zen on in the middle of the Burrard Street bridge, sun in the distance, beautiful Vancouver…all eagerly aided by our premier and two local mayors.
It’s not enough that Vancouver has so many incredible places large enough to host an immense yoga event, like Spanish Banks, Kits beach, Stanley Park… all locations where you can often find people actually practicing yoga.
But no, somehow the Burrard street bridge made perfect sense… hmmm…when was the last time I saw someone doing yoga on the bridge? Oh, never? Mmm… I can visualize it now… breathe in deeply…just ignore the asphalt and oily smell… breathe out… don’t slip off your mat, that residue won’t come out of your yoga pants! Yep. Sounds like a zen-like location to me!
While the point has been made cities often enact road closures for major events like marathons and the Vancouver Sun Run, those events are long-standing events that bring not only British Columbians into the city,but people from around the world as they compete. Those runners bring their spending dollars with them into the city as they arrive early and often stay to enjoy the scenery.
One yoga event announced only two weeks before the actual event? Not even comparable.
Bob Mackin sent out a couple of tweets last night that shed some light on the relationship between Lululemon, their founder Chip Wilson and some recent lobbying registrations. Click on an image to see full size.
It’s just so ridiculous I can’t even laugh, but what makes it more so is that there is another day long event already planned that is officially being presented by the International Day of Yoga, Vancouver Committee, and endorsed by the Consulate General of India!
“Raniga said that she had originally booked her all-day session at Robson Square, but was subsequently told she could only have it for two hours, so she had to book the Plaza of Nations.
Asked if she believed the hours were cut back because of the province’s yoga session on Burrard Bridge, Raniga said she didn’t know.
“I was approached by the consul-general of India months ago asking if we could put an event together for yoga day. So we’ve been working very closely with the consulate on this,” she said.
She noted that, unlike the Burrard Bridge session, the Plaza of Nations event is booked for the whole day. “They’re doing it on a bridge. We picked a venue that allows people to come out and be in yoga and not just do the practice of yoga, but really embrace the whole aspect of yoga. Also, we’ll have some discussion on lifestyle.”
Closing down an entire bridge in the city of Vancouver for seven hours…. all for a one hour yoga session… under the premise of deepening economic and cultural ties with another country all while an official event endorsed by the consulate and the Vancouver committee for the IDY takes place not that far away.
Well done. Two mayors and the premier upstaging an official IDY event elsewhere – gives a bit of perspective on this, doesn’t it? Did Robertson or Hepner send greetings to the Consulate endorsed event? Hmm? ( I hear crickets chirping but my garden window is open so…)
If it were me, I’d be passing over the corporate driven event on the Burrard bridge and heading over to the Consulate of India endorsed event being presented at the Plaza of Nations. It looks like the organizer has been working very hard on that,for some time, and is truly honouring the practice and lifestyle of yoga. http://www.theprovince.com/health/Welcome+summer+with+free+yoga+workout/11105784/story.html
Lululemon must be howling with glee at this one. Good grief.
Only in Vancouver….
Enjoy your day – I’m off to get my zen on in my garden. At no cost to taxpayers, anywhere.
** Update: June 21st is also National Aboriginal Day…. what has the premier planned for that? http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100013248/1100100013249