Vancouver House guest list: You decide.

After our successful complaint to the OIPC the City releases the full Vancouver House Invitation List

Last spring we filed a freedom of information request for the guest lists at the failed Vancouver House venue located at LiveCity Vancouver during the Olympics. We had heard that average visitors were continually turned away because of nightly "invitation only" parties staged by the City. We had also heard that the parties were geared to groups friendly to Vision Vancouver, and that the goal was political outreach.

GlobalTV’s Marisa Thomas did a great story on the guest lists, which were blacked out by the City’s FOI manager. The City argued that because the lists were only invites and we couldn’t be certain people actually attended the party, that they didn’t have the resources to call everyone back to see if they attended. If that excuse sounds like a groaner to you, you’re not alone.

Just last week after a mediation by B.C.’s Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC), it was decided that the full lists of names should be released. Those lists are now presented to our readers. It is just the outcome of one of several complaints we have either already, or intend to file with the OIPC over City of Vancouver FOI decisions. We intend to open up "the sealed fortress" at Vancouver City Hall.

So to our readers – you decide whether these parties were going to achieve the stated objective of Vancouver House, which was supposed to be a place to sell Vancouver to the world and to woo business. The City is now "shopping around" this FOI doc to other reporters. They’re tagging onto it an explanation as to why there doesn’t seem to be any business focus to these parties which were meant to grow Vancouver business. Apparently it’s because all the business party lists are considered "competitive" and private.

Really? Metro Vancouver Commerce – the hosts of the business program – includes Surrey, Richmond and several other regional municipalities. We’re not sure why those lists cannot be released as well.

We’re not entirely sure how having night after night of events featuring political friends and pals like FD Element are going to boost anyone’s fortunes other than Gregor Robertson and Vision Vancouver. Did Vancouver House attract Tom Cruise and other opportunities as the Mayor suggests?

I’m sure our wise readers can help us answer that. Please leave your comments below.

UPDATE: Too funny. Just after we post our story about getting the Vancouver House guest list "unveiled," The Province‘s Michael Smyth blogs about BC Hydro’s "hidden" Olympic party guest list. As we know now thanks to our experience with the OIPC, and the work of others like 24 Hours‘ reporter Bob Mackin, you simply are not allowed to hide guests to parties paid for by the taxpayer. Mike Smyth I hope challenges this with the OIPC.

Come on, guys. You only make things worse in the public mind when you hide stuff like this.

– post by Mike

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  • James

    Don’t forget Mike that Gregor’s chief of staff would not reveal who he spent $650 tax dollars wining and dining in New York because the information was deemed competitive in nature. Apparently he was trying to woo some NY businesses to set up shop here and therefore could not let the public know who benefited from this largesse.
    What on earth is going on at this city hall these days? A sealed fortress is a truly a good description.

  • Max

    Any chance Britnay Jang is a relation to Kerry Jang?

  • douglas

    Attached below is the explanations posted on City of Vancouver’s Website as to what Vancouver House is . As someone who favours a greener economy, I largely support the message contained in the COV website. So why was Vancouver House not used to promote this message?
    The guest list is public service-slanted, with athletes and p.r. cronies attached.There are a scant few local developers (notably Acquilini and Gillespie) as well. So where’s all the green investment going to come from? Where are Vancouver’s green capital innovators? (Azure Dynamics, Ballard Power, Lignol Biofuels…etc etc)
    BC is home to innovators in hydrogen battery technology, electric vehicle production, renewable bio-fuels, geo-thermal, and the list goes on. I do not see representatives from one of these aforementioned ‘green companies’ on the list.
    Visitors should be
    a) be out-of-towners in positions that can promote our technologies when they return home and
    b) local technology companies who can promote those local innovations
    Looks like the target audience got missed entirely!
    Vancouver House
    Vancouver House was the City’s home during the 2010 Winter Games, telling the story of Vancouver Green Capital and leaving visitors with an understanding of why Vancouver is a magnet for sophisticated human capital as well as being an idea capital.
    What is Vancouver Green Capital?
    Vancouver Green Capital is the City of Vancouver’s business brand for economic development. It is part of a strategic effort for the City to leverage the once-in-a-lifetime economic development potential of the 2010 Games.
    The Vancouver Green Capital brand is at the heart of the creation of a robust, long-term economic strategy that will guide the City’s pursuit of economic opportunities around the world.

  • Inside da Hall

    I loved the special night dedicated to the labour unions that donated so generously to Vision Vancouver. The last time I checked, unions didn’t create jobs, they killed them. So much for Gregor trying to pass this off as a promotion of business. What a joke!

  • david hadaway

    Here’s a quote I picked up by Mitch Daniels, governor of Indiana;
    “We believe it wrong ever to take a dollar from a free citizen without a very necessary public purpose, because each such taking diminishes the freedom to spend that dollar as its owner would prefer. When we do find it necessary, we feel a profound duty to use that dollar as carefully and effectively as possible, else we should never have taken it at all.”
    Now this was at CPAC and it’s unlikely that we have much in common politically but I can only wish that a similar respect for the effort that most of us put into earning the money we pay in taxes will one day arise here.

  • chris (one of many)

    Wouldn’t it have been something to see a list of names (with the description – taxpayers being soaked for our parties)
    A group of average citizens could have had a bone thrown at them.
    After all, we’re going to be paying for years for a shindig that most of us got nowhere close to.

  • Glissando Remmy

    The Thought of The Day
    “Thanks for the List. I know why they didn’t want to release those names. They didn’t want to embarrass the campaign donors, or let us find out who those Corporate Beggars really are.”
    Not only that IMO, these people were the only ones that probably showed up on Saturday, but I am pleased to announce that Saturday’s event was a total Bust.
    Forget what the VANOC spin doctors are telling you, the ‘First Anniversary’ since their last ‘Hard On’…off the public purse ended in premature ejaculation. You know that feeling…
    ‘Post Coitum Omne Animal Triste Est’
    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

  • Bill McCreery

    The “Vancouver Green Capital brand” is a hollow effort to convince local voters that Vision is doing something, when in fact they’re doing nothing at all except currying favour to get themselves re-elected for another term to repeat the charade. The attendees confirm this loud and clear.
    This together with Vision’s other equally hollow “Vancouver, the world’s greenest city by 2020” gimmick are no more than that. In addition, Vancouver in comparison to many other cities around the world, who are much further advanced in their green agendas than we are, is very arrogant and offensive to our sister cities in trying to make this claim.
    This is not the Canadian way, nor is it the Vancouver way. Canadians do not set out to be the best. But, we do set out to do what we decide to do damn well. And, quite often we do succeed, even occasionally at being at or near the top. Vancouver did not set out in 1973 to be the ‘world’s best’ most liveable city, but by rigourous hard work, and identifying and sticking to our principles we have achieved something quite special here which the world comes to study.

  • Alex

    Mike, why don’t you just admit that after all the work you had to do to get the documents, there still is no story here… So Joel Solomon is on the list but so is Sam Sullivan. Think how many Vision people are not on the list… You conspiracy theory did not prove to be true.

  • douglas

    I agree its not a conspiracy theory. Its an incompetence theory.
    City of Vancouver designates a place where it can trot out admirable green agenda, in a place designated to promote the city to corporate interests and promote our green corporate leaders to other potential customers (see COV website : purpose to promote the city as “a magnet for sophisticated human capital as well as being an idea capital.”
    Do you invite those people who are taking the steps to change the face of industry towards a greener, sustainable agenda? Where on the list are those idea people? We are home to fuel cell innovators, electric and hybrid vehicle innovators, software innovators, fuel -from-waste innovators.
    Instead, the sophisticated human capital trotted out for COV events are who? City Council and Park commissioners, a couple of friendly developers, a photographer, a pr company.
    What a missed opportunity.

  • Max

    Agreed Douglas.
    As well, BC is home to one of the largest wind turbine manufacturers which has been gaining international recognition. (located in Surrey area)
    I attended a VEF conference a few months back, they hosted a panel of ‘Super Angel Investors’.
    Green tech was number 3 on their respective lists of importance as far as an investment opp.
    It will be interesting to listen to what Robertson and Johnston have to say about Vancouver and clean tech at the upcoming VEF event on Feb. 22.
    Robertson is providing opening remarks while Johnston is on the discussion panel.