According to this article, the Calgary Police Commission determines its annual operating budget three years in advance. I suppose it makes sense to engage in such long-term planning, as trends in crime prevention are fairly predictable. It’s not like they’re going to get to 2011 and find out that Canada has passed a law to replace all firearms with swords. The status quo is just fine.
Since they plan their budgets three years in advance, one line item – “Playoff Hockey Crowd Control” – must be planned based on the Commission’s belief in how good their beloved Flames will be 36 months from now. After all, no one saw the Stanley Cup run that happened in 2004, and because of it, the city almost ran out of cash. Now, as the Flames are grasping for a playoff spot, the Commission is admitting that they didn’t exactly bet the farm on these Future Flames, either.
If the Flames repeat the magical run of 2004, when they lost in game 7 to Tampa Bay in the Stanley Cup final, city police would end up blowing their entire budget for 2008. That means the department would be short some $2 million dollars. Alderman Gord Lowe says when your planning budgets three years in advance it’s difficult to factor those kinds of things in.
I have a theory on this, after the jump.
January 2005, some conference room in Calgary
Alderman Lowe: Ok, what’s the next line item? Are we close to being done yet?
Comptroller Richards: Well sir, we need to decide if we want to allocate force security funding for any sports-related celebrations.
Alderman Lowe: But for who? What team?
Comptroller Richards: I have an idea. We can determine what teams could win titles in 2008 by flipping through the channels on the television.
Alderman Lowe: That’s brilliant, Richards!
Comptroller Richards: (scans 80 channels, doesn’t find a single damn hockey game in the middle of January) Hmm, I guess the Flames disbanded. No need to add extra funding, Alderman!
Alderman Lowe: Great!
You see? I blame the Lockout. And by Lockout, I mean Gary Bettman.
So what does this mean for the playoffs?
If you are a taxpayer of the city of Calgary: You better damn well root for Vancouver to win out and sneak in to the playoffs (along with Nashville). Otherwise, get used to carjackings and robberies.
If you are a policeman of the city of Calgary: What, you thought you would see OT money for crowd control? Then how would we pay for the crowd control swords? You’re screwed either way.
If you are a criminal of the city of Calgary:GOOOOOOO IGINLA!!!!
If you are Ottawa: You see, bandwagon jumpers? It could be worse. You could be Calgary.