On Silver Linings Coming in Tall Cans and the Urgency of Flattening the Curve

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.

It’s like they haven’t even been reading Tea and Two Slices for the last decade. What gives? As Vancouver Plans for Its Future, Thousands Say Life Is Getting Worse.

They ignored us. We called for higher wages. We called for them to raise the rates. We’ve asked for action on renovictions and vacancy control. We asked for action on student loan debt. We believed our last mayor when he promised to end homelessness. We believed Kennedy Stewart when he said he would triple the empty homes tax. We warned you about all our music venues closing. We warned you about the casinos. We begged you to make transit free. We asked for non-market solutions to the housing crisis. We asked for decriminalization of all drugs.

We told them to make “affordable” mean something again: Councillors question City of Vancouver’s definition of social housing.

We told you to take action on AirBnBs: Vancouver strata sting nets $45K fine for repeat Airbnb rental offender. I can’t believe how hard it is to report an illegal AirBnB. The city must have, like, one unpaid intern doing inspections or something.

Meanwhile, Kennedy Stewart downplays the threat and refuses to cancel events, seemingly contradicting the province’s stance on social distancing. This is incredibly irresponsible as experts have been saying that the countries most successful at containing the virus have acted with extreme caution. It’s called flattening the curve, and it works. That being said, you can’t self quarantine at home if you don’t have a home and Stewart failed to say what his plan is for our massive homeless population. Perhaps we can seize all AirBnBs and empty homes and house Vancouver’s homeless that way…

Of course, for those of us who work in the food service industry, working from home is not an option. Working from Home, from a Writer Who’s Been There.

Set times to get up and look out the window occasionally, as well as taking a break for lunch and snacks. Being the master of your own schedule can actually be a great thing. You are both ship and ship’s captain and you set a course, however you see fit. Just avoid the rocky shores of Time Waste Island and the great sucking gyre of social media.

It took a pandemic for me to get the advice I’ve been needing to hear for a decade!

I guess I shouldn’t be so hard on Kennedy, it’s not like he’s Doug Ford or anything: Doug Ford tells families they should travel and enjoy themselves on March break.

This virus is doing more to highlight the precarity of late-capitalism than a socialist like me ever could. While Canada has made some important changes to EI it doesn’t go far enough. We need to pay people who are forced to self quarantine. We need to pause mortgage payments so renters don’t get evicted if they miss rent. BC Hydro has the right idea: BC Hydro says customers impacted by COVID-19 can ask for help with bill payments. ICBC, you’re next.

Oh, and stop asking people for sick notes, forever. But also right now: BCGEU asks employers to end doctor’s note requirements during COVID-19 outbreak

“Wash your hands like you’ve been chopping jalapenos and you need to change your contacts” – Dr. Bonnie. The Orca: An open letter to Dr. Bonnie Henry.

No plans to block cruise ships from docking in Vancouver. I mean, we should cancel them forever anyway because climate change, but…ok.

B.C. Breweries ban growler fills in wake of COVID-19 outbreak. Tall cans it is.

Bonus: Help! I’m Being Priced out of the Neighborhood I Gentrified.

There are 4 comments

  1. From the first link:

    “’These initial results cement what we have been hearing for too long in Vancouver – that our city’s housing and homelessness crisis is making it harder and harder for people to feel like they belong,’ Mayor Kennedy Stewart told media today.”

    That’s an understatement, of course. It isn’t just people struggling “to feel like they belong”; it’s people struggling to survive. Still, I suppose it’s nice to know the mayor acknowledges there’s a problem. So, Mr. Stewart, what are you going to do about it?

    He’s been in office for over a year, and as you (Sean) pointed out, he’s abandoned some of what he campaigned on in favor of … pretty much nothing, to all appearances. So I won’t be holding my breath.

    Besides, although raising the empty-homes tax would be helpful, it’s remarkable how difficult Stewart and many other supposedly progressive politicians seem to find it to admit that “the housing crisis” won’t be ended merely by tweaking tax and zoning policies a bit here and there. Not that changes to the laws aren’t needed, but the scale of the problem is such that it’s unlikely to be solved unless governments – national, provincial, regional, and/or municipal – get back into the business of building, owning, and managing housing, and in a big way, not just for “the neediest” but for many thousands of people who have full-time jobs but for whom buying housing in Vancouver is no more attainable than traveling to Mars.

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