On City Hall Still Kissing Developer Ass and Bad Things Media Companies Do for Clicks

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.

What housing crisis? Rents to double at new Vancouver development to replace Oak Street apartment building. Council passed this last week by a vote of 5-4. Only Swanson, Boyle, Fry, and Hardwick voted against it. The NPA and the other two greens voted for the demoviction of 60 affordable-paying tenants in Marpole. Their disdain for the working poor is showing.

And this is not a one-off thing. It’s part of a larger pattern of our City Hall favouring developers. Check the date, folks. It’s 2019 and I just wrote that our City Hall favours developers. What the fuck are we even doing?

Vancouver Tenants Union member Sara Sg reflects:

Council discussions on projects like 8656, 8636 Oak st., and almost any other demoviction that we’ve been to council for since last November, has been an exercise in a multi-player game of language manipulation, until hegemony is reached and the path back to maintaining status quo in favour of landlords, disrupted momentarily by passionate appeals to rationality from class conscious tenants, is perceived.

It feels like the arguments are carved out, the roles are predetermined, and half are fixed into their roles, while the other half play the game of musical chairs to see which role, which argument fits them this time around.

Where was the mayor on such a close vote?

B.C. raked in $115 million in vacancy tax from about 12,000 homeowners. Yup, that’s 12,000 people that would rather have an empty home than rent it out to ease a full-blown rental crisis. I always used to think it was hyperbole to say that property is theft, but maybe not.

How do we have a system that is still so fucking bad at distributing resources that this is even remotely acceptable? There are currently more than 66,000 empty houses in Toronto: report. Remember when Daily Hive wrote about getting bottle service in the club and how great it was to be in the real estate game and now they want us to take them seriously?

You can blame it on foreign buyers jacking up prices and unaffordability all you want, but Canada’s housing problems extend well beyond that. Investor speculation and short-term rentals are the main culprits behind high vacancy rates in Canada’s largest cities.

What does this even mean? ‘You can blame unaffordability on unaffordability but it’s more than that’? And how is “investor speculation” and “foreign buyers” mutually exclusive in any way? Maybe if you’d been paying attention for the last decade it would sound like you’re weren’t writing your article with a piece of wet salami.

Obviously, speculation is bad. We knew that following Expo 86, for fucks sake. It’s clearly a lot bigger than that. I mean, even back in 2017 we were talking about how the 2 richest Canadians have more money than 11 million combined. And today, mainstream media is running headlines like the following: Billionaires hurt economic growth and should be taxed out of existence, says bestselling French economist. It’s pretty clear what we need to do and has been for a long time.

Speaking of disgusting inequality: Suspend UBC’s partnership with Amazon Web Services. The guy that just slashed health insurance for 1,900 Whole Foods workers and who provides logistical support for concentration camps wants to come to UBC. Tell them no.

Meanwhile, in PoCo: PPC ousts candidate who asks Bernier to denounce racism in its ranks. Well, it’s pretty obvious where they stand on that issue then.

And while there’s been a revolt growing in PostMedia newsrooms over that xenophobic trash they published the other week, the Globe and Mail are like, hold my yellow vest: Press freedom applies to everyone – even The Rebel. Giving a Ezra Levant column space following the debacle at the Sun can’t be a mistake. They knew this would generate outrage, and therefore clicks. I don’t even want to link to this. In fact, don’t even click on it.

Well done, Vancouver Island! Liberals replace election plane damaged after media bus drives under wing. And yes, it was the left wing of the plane, which is weird because they don’t usually destroy the left wing until after the election.

‘I’ve done nothing wrong’: B.C. man handed five-year ban at U.S. border. Yeah, I mean I could go on about how this guy is upset that he’s banned for 5 years while there are children in cages, but I was really distracted by the slick drone footage CTV used at the 1:17 mark.

Two iconic West Van buildings to make way for condos. Time to put Pink Palace in the Lexicon!

Global News: Asian giant hornets confirmed to be buzzing in B.C. for very first time. What are the chances this story will attract xenophobic comments on “Asians invading BC”?

There are 5 comments

  1. Sorry, Sean, I’m confused. Are you in favour of Asians moving to BC (i.e. comments about them “invading BC” are xenophobic), or opposed (foreign buyers are responsible for unaffordable housing)?

  2. God I bet you think you’re being so clever. Yes I’m favour of Asians MOVING here and not just treating our housing as safety deposit boxes. I’m in favour of regulations on the movement of global capital, which you have automatically equated to be Asian. There’s lots of Americans, Russians, et al using our housing market as investments. You’ve set up a pretty classic false dichotomy. Also, if you’d been following my posts over the last 5 years you’d know I don’t think “foreign buyers are responsible” solely for unaffordability and that I lay the blame pretty squarely on decades of failed local policy. The 93 Liberal government abandoning the national housing plan, The CMHC and their mortgage policies, bare trust loopholes, zoning and the single-detached home being a sacred cow, money laundering and Godon Campbell’s Business Corporations Act, an unregulated real estate industry, stagnating wages, very little net gain of social housing, short term rentals, fixed term leases, demovictions, and just in general a system that incentivizes speculation so again, nice try.

  3. For Council? With Patrick Condon as agent and with half a decade of public vitriol attacking and insulting … well pretty much everybody? Last on the ballot. Last.

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