Tea & Two Slices is a long-running local news round-up by NEEDS frontman and veteran dishwasher Sean Orr, who lives and works in Gastown, deeply aware of his privilege.
We’ve tried nothing and we’re all out of ideas: ‘It’s getting worse and worse’: DTES residents say neighbourhood is ‘falling apart’. Oh weird. It’s almost as though ignoring the root causes of structural poverty and trauma for decades is having an unwanted effect. It’s funny what a poisoned drug supply, the constant criminalization of poverty and being treated as disposable will do to a community over time.
Gone are the shouts of “kid on the block” and a sense that even a hapless lost tourist would feel safe. It’s now a free for all:
“You don’t rip off your friends. You don’t mess up the place where you live. You don’t hurt or take advantage of people who are weaker … there was a code. You look out for each other — it’s falling apart.”
Yeah, it’s bad. But people like Sarah Kirby-Yung and Michael Geller calling for social mix and more policing is just reactionary hyperbole. We need a New Zealand-style well being budget coupled with Portugal-style decriminalization. Housing first. Raise the rates.
If it were not for the heroes in the peer support community it would be worse: Drug overdose deaths in B.C. down month-over-month, year-over-year.
So what does the city do? Campers at Oppenheimer Park receive eviction notice. Cram them into SRO slums and the cycle continues. Trauma, self-medication, rinse, repeat. Indeed, First United Church executive director Carmen Lansdowne sums it up here:
The provincial government has opened 720 new social housing units in Vancouver in the past two years. But Lansdowne said that hasn’t kept pace with rising economic precariousness and the often complex social and medical needs of SRO tenants. “It can’t just be a housing-only approach. We have to look at poverty reduction — you can’t live on $720 of social assistance in Vancouver at this point,” she said.
This is such a gut-punching story. It’s Reena Virk all over again: B.C. family devastated after teen’s death from apparent overdose unfolds on social media. A heartbreaking mix of social isolation and untreated mental health exacerbated by poverty in the face of rabid determinism of upwardly mobile Gen X parents as documented in real time by youths desperate for attention and left bored and unfulfilled by a system that rewards viciousness over human compassion.
Speaking of compassion: Joe Oliver: Here’s a truth few dare to utter: Canada will benefit from climate change. Translation: Fuck the Global South. I got mine.
When he was CPC cabinet minister Joe Oliver called climate activists “radicals.” Now he’s unironically arguing we shouldn’t worry about climate change because a melting Arctic will be good for Canada. Shills for Big Oil like him are the extremists we should actually fear #cdnpoli
— Derrick O’Keefe ?? (@derrickokeefe) August 15, 2019
We can’t afford to fix flint water, but can afford Greenland?
We can’t afford Free college tuition, but can afford Greenland?
We can’t fix our roads but can afford Greenland?
We can’t help Puerto Rico, but can afford Greenland?
What a great idea!#GreenlandPurchase
— Ambassador Rob (@RobertoWinsSher) August 16, 2019
I can’t believe this is real: Environment groups warned saying climate change is real could be seen as partisan. So if Bernier came out and said that gravity was a lie could we drop him out of a window or would that be partisan?
Like, the Beaverton didn’t even really have to do anything on this one: Elections Canada concerned facts may interfere with federal election.
Protest in Vancouver mirrors Hong Kong as opposing sides face off. Every time I read an article on these protests, I can’t help but think that Red Scare sinophobia is playing a huge part. I’m not defending the Chinese regime, but in Vancouver the pearl clutching around money laundering and speculation has reached a fever pitch and where do you think most of that comes from? The free-market on steroids special economic zone of Hong Kong. I’m not one for conspiracy, but you know the CIA are just itching to co-opt any popular social movement in order to stabilize China.