British Columbians are understandably embarrassed and disappointed by last Wednesday night’s activities. It should have been a celebration of the tremendous effort by the Canucks in their playoff run. It turned into a shameful display of behaviour by people bent on violence.
The vast majority of citizens gathered and dispersed peacefully, but sadly they also witnessed the mayhem. There were also Good Samaritans there: People who had the guts to stand up for what is right and citizens who showed up the morning after to help with the clean-up.
These people deserve our thanks. They are the ones who will define our city and our province.
The police and firefighters had a very difficult job and their hard work is appreciated. The clean-up crews and businesses have all worked hard to restore the downtown core.
Based on the Olympics, Vancouverites hoped and expected we were past the type of destruction we saw in 1994. It’s very disappointing. We will work with the City of Vancouver to review what we can learn from this.
I want to be very clear: This is not who we are. We will not let this band of criminals define us.
None of us want to live in the kind of society we saw last Wednesday night. We are going to send a strong message of deterrence: If you played a part in this, we have a mountain of evidence and that evidence will be used by authorities to support criminal charges.
Members of the public can help the police and Crown prosecutors by submitting any photos, videos or other evidence they may have.
Vancouver police are asking people to email their photos and videos to firstname.lastname@example.org, or post information through Twitter at #VPD.
Citizens have also come together to create their own social media sites to share information and images of troublemakers. The police will monitor these sites closely as part of their efforts to gather evidence.
Criminal charges will be pursued wherever possible and appropriate. If you are responsible, we will hold you responsible. Your family, friends and employers will know. We will ensure we have the resources to do this. You will not be able to hide behind your hoodie or your bandana.
No one wants this to happen again. We will not let the behaviour of a few disgrace the City of Vancouver or British Columbia as a whole.
This is not who we are.
Premier of British Columbia