On Superpower Futures And Vancouver’s Inability To House Its People

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Prime Minister Photo-op: Justin Trudeau cooks s’mores on Nova Scotia working vacation. He could have come to BC to roast his s’mores. We have a really big campfire going on…

Nah, gotta make himself look more palatable to millennials: Justin Trudeau releases Spotify list in the chaos of B.C.’s wildfire crisis. This is the most carefully crafted ‘I’m not a neoliberal‘ playlist known to man. It’s really quite beautiful. It’s as though a curated cadre of Baby Boomers, Gen X-ers and Millennials got together in a Caribbean Queen of Patties on Bloor Street West and had an hourlong vape sesh where they policed each other’s tone saying things like “SJWs have gone too far” and “love trumps hate”. Drake is massive tax cuts for the rich. Robert Plant is the crushing of trade unions. Blue Rodeo is deregulation, privatization, outsourcing and competition in public services. Hans Zimmer is magically getting the socialists to vote for you because they are scared of Stephen Harper. Bravo!

Because social justice is a bad thing even though it brought you health care and the fucking weekend: Is Social Justice a Myth?

They say: let the market decide what’s best – laissez-faire. Wealth will eventually trickle down to us – their theory goes – but instead it’s gushing upward. Thatcher’s favourite economist, Friedrich Hayek, warned that policies aimed at sharing the wealth are a slippery slope to totalitarianism. But radical inequality is the real threat to freedom.

Speaking of radical inequality: How Climate Change Could Turn Canada into a Global Superpower. My first reaction is that this is pure fantasy. But that’s what we are lacking. Because of our collective denial, we don’t have the vision to imagine and prepare for the coming changes.

But here’s the thing: life won’t be all that pleasant for many Canadians. We will be under constant threat of flooding, wildfires, tornadoes, heat waves, infestations and other disasters. National economic gains will mask stark and growing inequalities. Waves of immigrants and refugees will make us intolerant of outsiders. Amidst the chaos we will turn to authoritarian strongmen like Donald Trump to lead us. Yet compared to the rest of the world, Canada could look like a progressive utopia.

Meanwhile: Petronas cancels $36B Pacific Northwest LNG project. “Anuar Taib, chief executive of Petronas’s oil and gas production division, said Tuesday the decision to scrap the project came after a careful review of changes in market conditions”. Watch for the BC Liberals to blame it entirely on the NDP even though they were warned countless times of said “market conditions”. It was a fantasy then, it is a fantasy now.

“Perhaps the surprise is that a politician will actually keep election promises”: Mike Smyth: Horgan’s 100-day plan is ambitious, aggressive. Oh, and by “aggressive” what they actually mean is ‘too far left‘.

“I guess some people just have to get up and whine every day, I don’t know.” — Rich Coleman, 2016, on Rich Coleman, 2017: B.C. Liberals waste no time criticizing new NDP government.

Gwyn Morgan: If they kill Trans Mountain, Canada’s rule of law is broken. Nicholas Ellan: “Canada’s rule of law has always been broken. The federal government has acknowledged its ongoing non-compliance. The courts have ruled on it. What will be newly broken is our ability to ignore clearly documented legal obligations to First Nations”.

Effective September 20, expect slumlords to increase rents by $100: B.C. government set to increase welfare rates and disability assistance. I know they have to do this slowly, lest the hordes of “nanny state” detractors rise up with pitchforks, but this is still not enough and they need to index the rates to inflation and cancel the bus pass clawback.

Meanwhile, in the city: Mayor Gregor Robertson plans news conference after giving exclusive to preferred reporter. Here’s Derrick O’Keefe:

Almost a decade after he was first elected on a promise to end homelessness, the mayor has an epiphany: There’s this false assumption that more supply will mean more affordability. But that hasn’t panned out in Toronto or Vancouver. We do need lots more supply, but if we don’t tie that to rents that connect to income, we’ll just be behind the eight-ball.”

This is too little, too late. It’s a small tentative step in the right direction, but fails to prioritize affordable housing for those most in need (housing is a human right!) and to challenge the rampant commodification of housing that is the root cause of the crisis. Just look at this cautious rollout, with developers’ incentives and sensitivities prioritized. There is no solution to this affordability emergency that doesn’t challenge the logic of the market and the class power of landlords and developers.

Related tweet of the day:

I organize with a tenant union and I’m a YIMBY. Both sides can do better. Kind of seems like on one hand he’s telling YIMBY’s to reject the free market and on the other telling displacement activists to embrace it.

Rebuttal: Dear YIMBYs: The brutal, unfettered market won’t stop displacement.

Run and hide: In British Columbia, real estate investors need to seek shelter. When the Globe and Mail starts saying things like this you know it’s a very broken market. Besides, we need to stop putting investors and their pursuit of profit on the priorities list.

I’ll just put this here: Median rent for 1-bedroom hits $2,090 in Vancouver: rental site. My friend Danielle: “This is on you Vision Vancouver. Good luck with filling the necessary low paying jobs. Bye baristas. Bye craft beer servers. Bye grocery store clerks. Bye dishwashers. Bye daycare workers”.

But landlords don’t have it so easy either: We Asked 15 Landlords How Many Times They’ve Had To Evict The Red Hot Chili Peppers For Playing The National Anthem Like Shit.

People Talk About Leaving Their Soul-Crushing Rat Race Jobs. Yeah? What about never joining in the first place?

Bonus: Xinona.

There is 1 comment

  1. Gregor and Vision have been given a free pass on housing for close to 10 years. Every few years he throws the populace a bone and they forget how terribly useless he actually is.

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