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.
Remember when we were all upset about a spinning chandelier? That feels like years ago. And while I have no desire to go back to refuting YIMBY talking points, or parsing the anti-poor bias of comments in The Province, or navigating the tricky terrain of settler-colonial politics with a newfound intensity rooted in class consciousness; I just wish things could go back to normal…
By the time this is published rent will be due. I’m worried sick about my friends and our government has only offered carrots. Our landlord premier offered a $500 subsidy to be paid directly to landlords: ‘Extreme stress and turmoil’:$500-a-month rental subsidy welcomed, but uncertainty remains. This is a recipe for disaster, exacerbating the already tenuous relationship between tenants and those people that collect their hard-earned money, all because provincial leadership lacks the courage to actually step in and do what needs to be done in a crisis.
And while a moratorium on evictions sounds as though a de facto rent strike is possible and that people can choose to feed themselves and their families first, what happens in four months? According to the government website, “a tenant who has not paid rent could face eviction once the state of emergency is over.” Great, so all it does is buy us time so we can organize? It’s better than nothing, I guess.
Still, your landlord may have questions. And as satisfying as it might be, you probably aren’t going to tell them to get a real job. It must be hard living on (your tenant’s) paycheque to (your tenant’s) paycheque. Alas, here are some answers for them:
Of course, there are some silver linings: After Years of Hoarding Housing Supply, Airbnb Hosts Are Panicking.
At any rate, it looks like we’re in it for the long haul: ‘Zero chance’ of orders being lifted before May, as COVID-19 cases in B.C. surpass 1,000. (Sean: do not make a comment about having your birthday party in isolation.)
So, today I learned the Canadian government committed to clinical trials of a human coronavirus vaccine after the 2003 SARS epidemic, but then neglected to provide the necessary funding for the trials to proceed. Austerity kills, indeed. What does the COVID-19 endgame look like? Five simple steps.
Multiply that by the fact that we have a weird racist problem of denying foreign doctors of accreditation: Lift barriers to accredit foreign-educated doctors quickly, report’s author urges.
Your disdain for the working class is showing: Bars, nightclubs and cannabis growers don’t qualify for BDC COVID-19 loans. What the actual fuck? How much tax revenue do alcohol sales generate? Sometimes I hate our country.
In part because we’re treated like we’re expendable: Hospitality workers’ union says 90% of members have lost their jobs in past 2 weeks. Unite Here Local 40 has some demands:
1) Implement an immediate 80 per cent wage replacement, including tips for tipped workers.
2) Give hospitality workers the proper health and safety training and opportunities for employment in government-organized emergency initiatives utilizing existing hospitality and food service infrastructure.
3) Extend medical benefits as a part of an industry relief package.
Also, can I just throw this in there? Nationalize Food Delivery Apps and Turn Them Into a Public Food Service. I heard rumblings of a local restaurant owned delivery company co-op and I’m here for it.
Why we cheer: Hospital cleaners ‘working full tilt’ despite COVID-19 threat. Anyone who is risking their life should be paid like they are risking their life. And if you don’t wanna hear it from me you can hear it from Plies:
???? (CEO’s/Goverment) Anybody Who Out Here RiskingThey Life Should Be Getting Paid Like They Risking They Life!!!! pic.twitter.com/Mmqa4vwm5Y
— Plies (@plies) March 31, 2020
Indeed. Someone on Twitter was asking for predictions on the first celebrity marriage collapse of the self isolation, forgetting of course that they aren’t holed-up in 800 sqft boxes like the rest of us: ‘White-Collar Quarantine’ Over Virus Spotlights Class Divide.
Capitalism is suffering a crisis of legitimacy that is going to get considerably worse. Instacart, Whole Foods, GE, and Amazon workers are walking off the job.
Meanwhile, in Canada: Burnaby residents claim no social distancing in Trans Mountain construction. The unstoppable march of capital must continue untethered!
It’s why Vancouver Council is continuing to hold public rezoning meetings even though members of the public can’t attend: Vancouver considers virtual hearings for rezoning applications amid COVID-19 outbreak.
The Fraser Institute: Price controls and anti-gouging laws make matters worse.
Ah yes, the benevolent invisible hand of capitalism will save us all! Meanwhile, the government is bailing out banks, airlines, and oil companies (when Alberta oil is worth less than a barrel of monkeys). “But…but…the free market can’t have any intervention!” lmfao. These are the same people who tell us we should be able to survive on $120 a week. Motherfuckers.
Of course, the same people who got us into this mess are the same people who don’t think it’s much of a mess: Which Canadians say pandemic threat is ‘overblown’? And how are they behaving in turn? Spoiler alert: males between the ages of 34-55 who voted Conservative think COVID-19 is ‘overblown’. Surprised?
One bright spot in the above survey is that only 19% of British Columbians think it’s overblown, which might explain PHOTOS: Deserted downtown Vancouver during the COVID-19 pandemic. Wait, I can’t tell if those are before or after photos of Robson Street.
Las Vegas on the other hand? Las Vegas homeless people are sleeping in a parking lot — six feet apart. At least we’re not that bad.
Nope, we’re exactly that bad: Open Letter to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. In the midst of a pandemic, we are making it harder for the most marginalized people to get food access? Unreal.
Some good news: Safe supply of drugs for DTES residents given green light, says Vancouver. Now let’s make it permanent.
More good news: Pay parking suspended at all BC hospitals. Now let’s make it permanent.
Also: U.S. troops not heading to Canadian border amid pandemic. Did they realize there isn’t a chance in hell anyone is going to try and cross into that dystopian hellhole?
This is super cool: B.C. companies step up to build medical equipment, ventilators for hospitals.
Vancouver would be cooler if… Goats take over empty Welsh streets during coronavirus lockdown.