On Sympathies for Landlords and the Many Things We Find in Bike Lanes

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.

This $5M Chandelier Under a Vancouver Bridge Will Start the Class War. A tone deaf, let-them-eat-cake, beacon of opulence beloved by our turncoat mayor. A glorified pigeon roost and giant spinning middle finger to everyone struggling to carve out a living in this dystopian fishing village-cum-playground for the elites. But even though I love elevating things into the realm of semiotics (the Otter, the Chowder Rat, and you know I love anything that contributes to Peak Vancouver) the Class War started a long time ago, and not by us.

It began with “austerity”. It started with neoliberalism. It started with the invention of the police. It started as soon as productivity leap-frogged wages. It started when the federal government ended all new federal funding for social housing. It started with our addiction to debt. It started when we began giving corporations endless tax cuts. It started with CMHC tinkering and sub-prime mortgages. It started with Expo 86. It started when the BC Liberals froze the minimum wage, froze welfare rates, and tore up health workers’ contracts.

Class war is every dollar laundered, every dollar in an offshore tax haven, every bank bailed out. Class war is everyone who has ever been evicted. Class war is student loan debt. Class war is Residential Schools. Class war is every art gallery, cultural space, studio and music venue that has been forced to close. Class war is every fare hike, every time they fix the price of gas or bread. Class war is every union that gets busted, every locked out employee. Class war is overseas outsourcing, child labour. Class war is every racist insult hurled at an immigrant, every refugee denied entry to Canada. Class war is every for-profit prison, every person still in prison for selling weed. Class war is every child in poverty, every empty food bank, every senior who dies alone. The class war is here, but we’ve already lost.

And now for some memes…

Exhibit B: It’s No Surprise that Canada’s Life Expectancy Has Plateaued. I cannot stress this enough. Inequality kills. Tax the rich now.

Related:

Rising rents creating challenges for Vancouver nonprofit groups, small businesses, and cultural organizations. We’re a dying city; a potemkin village; a facade; a banana smoothie republic.

Putting the Christ back in Christmas: ‘We are just going to take it away’: City of Kelowna tells people not to donate supplies to homeless camp. Ah yes, “Kelownialism: the belief that other people’s suffering is an eyesore.” — Lowell Friesen.

Shame: More than 100 homeless people in Vancouver are military veterans: report.

Things cost money: How high is too high? Vancouver’s property tax dilemma. “Currently, many landlords are factoring in a bigger buffer into their cost analysis. The provincial government restricts rent increases to the rate of inflation, which for 2020 is 2.6 per cent. This limitation is problematic for landlords as many of their expenses are increasing by five to 10 per cent”. I don’t have one iota of sympathy for landlords (Sorry Mark Ting, “partner at Foundation Wealth”). In fact, we should cancel the 2020 rent hike.

We should have raised property taxes a long time ago. We’ve actually had it pretty good: Vancouver named Canadian city with lowest percentage property taxes.

Speaking of things we should have done a long time ago: Suzuki report says ‘road pricing’ key to cutting greenhouse gases in B.C.. If only we had the balls to implement a vehicle levy back in 1999.

Speaking of greenhouse gases: Black Friday shoppers slow traffic en route to YVR. Kill it. Kill it with fire.

This video shows a taxi in a Vancouver bike lane. Cyclists say it happens all the time. What about how many times cop cars park in bike lanes?

You people: At creating new businesses, immigrants outpace Canadian-born people, StatsCan finds.

Bonus: Indigenous radio station hitting Vancouver airwaves next summer.

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