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