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B.C. Premier Christy Clark during a meeting with the Editorial Board at The Globe and Mail on June 24, 2011. (Peter Power/The Globe and Mail/Peter Power/The Globe and Mail)
B.C. Premier Christy Clark during a meeting with the Editorial Board at The Globe and Mail on June 24, 2011. (Peter Power/The Globe and Mail/Peter Power/The Globe and Mail)

Christy Clark wants 'core' instigators of riot locked up Add to ...

B.C. Premier Christy Clark, who vowed last week to charge and publicly castigate anyone involved in Vancouver's Game 7 riots, differentiated Friday between a "core" group of instigators and a "group of people around who were maybe at that stage in their life when they were most likely to make a colossal, irreparable mistake."

The former group, she clarified in a meeting with The Globe's editorial board, is the one she hopes will be locked up.

"When I say I want them to see the inside of a jail cell, in particular that's the group I'm talking about - the initial instigators of this."

Amid the furor and fallout from the Stanley Cup riots, many have voiced concern around the vigilante postings outing alleged miscreants online - many of them minors. While Police Chief Jim Chu originally pointed to "criminals, anarchists and thugs" as those behind the mayhem, those who've been charged or come forward have been largely students and young people working in the Lower Mainland.

Ms. Clark clarified that what she's really concerned about are repeat offenders who may have been involved in other acts of public disorder.

"We've often heard from law enforcement over the years that they see the same faces, they believe some of the same people are involved in these events. … We see them active in Toronto, maybe they were the people who were around trying to cause problems at the Olympics, maybe some of them were active as far back as the APEC protests," she said.

"If that's the case, I want to know that those people are going to see the inside of a jail cell. … People need to see charges brought, charges approved where appropriate, and they need to see it go through the justice system, the court system, as quickly as possible so that we can see some convictions."

Ms. Clark spoke to The Globe during what she called a "whirlwind" tour that took her from a premiers' conference in Yellowknife to Ottawa, where she met Prime Minister Stephen Harper for the first time since May's election gave him a majority government.

She said the meeting, just under an hour, went well - focusing on job-creation and what she'd like to see as an increased emphasis on Asia-Pacific trade.

"We have a lot in common in our agendas. … It was a great meeting," she said. While Mr. Harper's government came under fire in the past for cooling Chinese business ties due to its reservations over the country's human-rights record, Ms. Clark said there's now common ground on investing in the Pacific Rim.

"The fastest urbanization in human history is happening in China now. … That's where the future opportunity lies. The entire world is trying to find a way to be a part of that growth. We are perfectly positioned for it."

Ms. Clark added she has no plans to try to cool Vancouver's housing market by discouraging foreign investment. And despite reservations from many - hinted at earlier this month by Bank of Canada head Mark Carney - that the West Coast is in the middle of a real-estate bubble, she cautioned against stoking fears around foreign buyers.

"I think we need to be cautious about bringing in policies that scare away people who want to make an investment in British Columbia," she said.

"It is a cause for concern for a lot of citizens. I hear about it a lot. I certainly heard about it when I ran in the by-election in Point Grey" - the upscale Vancouver neighbourhood near UBC where Ms. Clark eked out a narrow victory in May.

But "we've always said we are open and welcoming to people from other countries. So I think we have to be cautious about any changes with respect to that."

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