The Vancouver Police Department further solidified its buzz-kill rep with its show of force in East Vancouver following Canada’s gold-medal men’s hockey win over the U.S. Sunday afternoon. Sidney Crosby had barely dropped his stick after his overtime goal when cops showed up on every intersection on East Hastings Street from Nanaimo to Renfrew. Some were in cars, and some were just standing on the corners.
There were no Olympics-related events scheduled that day at the nearby Pacific Coliseum, and the delirious throngs exiting GM Place were kilometres away, but that didn’t prevent Vancouver’s finest from glaring down the honking celebrants on the road and the clusters of flag-waving adults and kids on the streets.
Even an impromptu road-hockey game at the intersection of East Georgia Street and Garden Drive drew the attention of a police helicopter, which hovered overhead, returning repeatedly during the course of an hour.
Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu might be able to justify his nanny-state liquor-store closures by citing “family-friendly” platitudes, but nothing can justify the jackboot presence of police in a neighbourhood peacefully celebrating a national victory. Last week, the cops shut down a traditional Chinese new year lion dance at Nanaimo and Hastings.
What is worst is the assumption, based solely on geography, that there would be trouble there in the first place. I’m betting there were no stern-faced police stationed in Shaughnessy on Sunday.