If you want to know why the NPA has become nearly a nonentity in Vancouver civic politics, look no further than its mayoral candidate's response to the recent hockey riot.
Anton is acting like she's a stateswoman by signing a plywood wall at the Bay store downtown.
Others are left to question the role of the city and the police in this mayhem getting out of control.
The City of Vancouver—led by Mayor Robertson, the Vision-controlled council, and city manager Penny Ballem—created a partnership with CBC to allow a fan zone on Hamilton Street.
This enabled the CBC to broadcast pictures of fans celebrating outside the building every time the Canucks scored. This whipped up more enthusiasm for the CBC's money-making hockey broadcasts.
Then the City of Vancouver—led by Mayor Robertson, the Vision-controlled council, and city manager Penny Ballem—shut down the city's major boulevard to create more fan-viewing sites downtown.
These locations were allowed to get dangerously overcrowded.
Meanwhile, Robertson, in his capacity as chair of the Vancouver police board, watched as the department put much of its policing resources on Granville Street. This happened even though on Game 7, far bigger crowds were at the corner of Hamilton and Georgia streets. The riot began by the main post office building.
An effective opposition politician would make the case that the mayor and his cronies screwed up. And as a result, the city has received an international black eye, harming the tourism industry and undermining years of goodwill generated by hosting the Olympics.
In addition, an effective opposition politician would rightly ask if the mayor's decision to host such a massive street party, which led to such damage, creates any legal liability for taxpayers.
To press this case, an effective opposition politician would demand to see correspondence between the Vancouver Police Department, the mayor's office, and the city manager's office leading up to the decision to allow fan-viewing sites downtown.
An effective opposition politician would also demand the mayor, as chair of the police board, come clean about contingency plans in the event of trouble in the downtown core. (The Straight reported that Vision Vancouver councillor Heather Deal had told CBC Radio there were "contingency plans upon contingency plans upon contingency plans".
And if there weren't any contingency plans, an effective opposition politican would ask why not—given that there was a riot the last time the Canucks played in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final.
Instead, Anton has given Robertson a free ride to become the conduit for public anger, rather than being held responsible for any role he may have played in facilitating the riot.
Good opposition politicians, like good hockey players, aren't afraid to go into the corners to get the job done on behalf of their teams.
Unfortunately for Vancouver taxpayers, there aren't any of these people sitting on council right now. COPE is too busy making a deal with Vision Vancouver to hold the mayor accountable. And the NPA's sole member of council still acts like she's on the governing side of the chamber.
Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at twitter.com/csmithstraight.