On the Cutting Edge of Cactus Club and Living Under a Government of Landlords

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.

Government of B.C. Expert Panel on Housing Supply & Affordability. They can’t even get a fucking survey right so why should we expect a government of landlords to make housing affordable? The first question is so deeply flawed, revealing an inherent free market bias: “What are some things that could be done by government or others to increase the housing supply in your community?” What kind of housing supply? Housing supply for whom? For what income bracket? We don’t have a supply problem. We have a supply of low-income housing problem. We have a speculation problem. We have a short-term rental problem. We have a wage problem.

The second question is just as poorly worded: “What are three key things that could be done to make housing more affordable in your region or community?” Are they talking about home ownership or rentals? I guess, either way the answer is build a massive amount of non-market housing, enact rent control, and continue to inhibit speculation and short-term rentals.

And maybe don’t give 11 million dollars to a company that builds $1,200 studios in some glorified retirement villa: New rental housing project in Courtenay to help mid-income earners. $1,650 for a two-bedroom and $1,850 for a large two-bedroom rental. The NDP is promoting this as an achievement on their Facebook page. It’s like people are starving and NDP is bragging about feeding people who already eat 3 meals a day instead of the ones who eat nothing.

Canada is a joke: The health cost of being poor.

As the editorial states, when compared to other countries, Canada ranks relatively poorly in spending on social programs. A 2018 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that Canada ranked 10th out of 11 well-off nations in terms of public spending on health expressed as a percentage of total national GDP.

Austerity kills. Meanwhile, “Indigenous people are among the vulnerable Canadians. Approximately one-third of the people who use shelters are Indigenous…” Add to that 30% of the prison population is indigenous and it’s clear that any talk of reconciliation without systemic structural change is meaningless.

Of course, it’s kinda hard to tackle economic injustice of indigenous peoples when we’re sending militarized police with night vision goggles in the dead of night to arrest people living on their own land, and doing it on behalf of Royal Dutch Shell: Six Land Defenders Violently Arrested on Wet’suwet’en Territories.

This is Gustafsen Lake all over again. And don’t give me that bullshit that Horgan can’t tell the police or the courts what to do because it’s far more complicated than simply following an injunction: Untangling the ‘rule of law’ in the Coastal GasLink pipeline standoff.

When B.C. premier John Horgan said “the rule of law applies” in reference to the Coastal GasLink pipeline conflict, he meant that he would abide by an injunction granted by a provincial court to allow the company to enter and operate on Wet’suwet’en territory.

In doing so, he discounted a number of legal elements — and even an entire system of law — that arguably supercede the B.C. courts.

No matter what you think, it’s absolutely unconscionable that we are arresting journalists: RCMP detain and remove journalists during ongoing raid on Wet’suwet’en territory. Yeah, because blocking people from filming your tactics means everything you’re doing is totally above board and legal.

Meanwhile: When it comes to climate hypocrisy, Canada’s leaders have reached a new low. “A territory that has 0.5% of the Earth’s population plans to use up nearly a third of the planet’s remaining carbon budget”. Well, when you put it that way…

Scumbag of the week: This guy, who supported the Moosehide Campaign to end violence against women: Conservative MP apologizes after asking NDP MP whether she’s ‘considered’ sex work.

World class: This Burnaby mall is adding a cutting-edge Cactus Club. This article reads like both brilliant satire and blatant PR. It would be funny if this mall wasn’t created on the backs of thousands of displaced renters.

Speaking of displacement: Join Matt Galloway for a special show in Vancouver on the future of the city’s Chinatown. “Is it time to re-think the future of this once vibrant neighbourhood?” Um, it was time to do that, like, a decade ago. Now Ming Wo and Bombast are gone and we’re still small legacy taxing businesses unfairly. Throw in a new Saint Pauls and goodbye.

Long read of the day: Moving on from a Truly Special Vancouver Neighbourhood.

I’m doomed: Study: If you are over 40, a 3-day workweek is best for optimal brain function.

Bonus: Fireflies are facing extinction due to habitat loss, pesticides and artificial light.

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