The years of 2004 to 2014 will be forever remembered as a time in British Columbia when nothing happened. The wind may have blown, the snow may have fallen, but in terms of human civic history, not a peep was heard. In fact, we’re not even sure if people live there. That’s because in the BC archives, not a single entry of information has been transferred or preserved in ten years.
This shocking piece of information came to light yesterday in a report by BC’s information and privacy czar Elizabeth Denham. As Denham tells us, all information regarding civic activity from the last decade sits in a warehouse: all 33,000 boxes of it. The price for archiving this information is $454 per box, and so far, no ministry in British Columbia’s government has expressed any interest in footing the bill. If Denham’s call to action goes ignored, these documents will probably never be properly organized and made accessible to the public, leaving British Columbians eternally in the dark about ten years of their history.
But how much really happened in those ten years?
As it turns out, a lot. Here’s a list of 4 events from the last decade of British Columbian history that future generations are doomed to never know about:
Oh yeah! That did happen, didn’t it? In 2010, the best cold-weather-loving athletes in the world came to Vancouver to compete in various sporting events against one another. And believe it or not, Canada actually did alright! In 2010, our home and native land won an astounding 14 gold medals, an all-time high for any country in the Winter Olympics ever. But despite the generally fun vibes of the whole event, not everybody was super jazzed about the whole hoopla. Several BC indigenous groups protested the games for taking place on land that technically doesn’t belong to the city of Vancouver at all. (This year, the city even admitted it.) But maybe that’s a piece of history the government of BC would prefer everybody to forget about…
You know what? That almost slipped my mind. In 2011 immediately after the Vancouver Canucks lost in the Stanley Cup Finals to the Boston Bruins, chaos exploded in Van City’s downtown core. Cop cars were lit on fire. Several stores, including a Chapters, were broken into and looted. (Vancouver rioters sure do love to read!) Police estimate that at least four people were stabbed over the course of the riot. 140 people were reported injured, including nine police officers, and by the end of the night, 101 people were arrested.
Peculiarly, chants to start rioting were heard during the first period of the game, before Boston even took a two point lead, which makes one wonder if the same thing would have happened if Vancouver had won the game. I guess there’s one thing Vancouverites love even more than hockey: breaking glass and lighting cars on fire.
3. Idle No More
Although it would be unfair to call this First Nations movement “history” at this point, Idle No More certainly made a splash across the country in 2013, especially in British Columbia. Although protests had to do with numerous Aboriginal-related issues, protests in BC primarily focused on the Northern Gateway pipeline. It is likely that 2013 only sparked the beginning of the anti-pipeline First Nations movement, and that we are yet to see the full brunt of this ongoing conflict. If we’re lucky, the BC government will begin documenting it before it’s over.
You know what they say: 73.6% of all statistics are made up, and that’s not to say that all polls leading up to the 2013 BC general election were fabricated, but somewhere along the line somebody involved had to have cut a couple corners. Despite the fact that every pre-election poll predicted the NDP winning over the Liberals by over eight percent, the BC Grits somehow managed to score a majority government.
The Liberal party got over four percent more of the popular vote than the NDP, and although there are a slew of theories of how a statistical fluke of this kind may have happened, the real losers of the election were the guys running the polls. And also the people of BC, who now have to deal with a mega corrupt government for the next few years.
So whether it’s the families of the Vancouver rioters, the province’s stats team, or the officials on top pulling the strings, somebody out there wants to keep ten years of British Columbia’s history in a dark warehouse away from the eyes of the people. Well, at least British Columbians have Wikipedia always handy to learn about their past. Say what you will about the reliability of the online encyclopedia, it’s probably more accurate than a BC election poll.