On the Comical Protestations of Old White Men and the Possibility of Defunding the VPD

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 happening. Get out the way: Thousands are calling to defund the VPD. Here’s what that might look like. To those of you saying defunding the police is too radical, it isn’t. If the National Post publishes an opinion calling for it, it’s not radical. To those of you saying “but, what about crime?” that’s called whataboutism. Defunding the police doesn’t mean we eliminate all police funding. It just means not overfunding them. It means redistributing the city budget to schools, hospitals, community organizations, restorative justice services and mental health organizations. It means realizing that the criminalization of race, addiction, and poverty doesn’t provide public safety. It means ending the prison industrial complex. Calling for reform often means increasing budgets. Also, we’ve tried that.

That being said, we can’t even get them to cut 1% during a pandemic. Why? Because the entire structure is anti-democratic: After VPD spurns budget cut, B.C. political party calls for direct election of local police boards, starting in 2022.

I mean, this is one of our so-called progressive councillors: Vancouver city councillor, police union president respond to calls to defund VPD.

“We can’t just shut down the police force overnight,” said Fry Monday on The Early Edition, adding he thinks Vancouver has a very good police department with well-educated officers.

Fry says the city is obligated under the B.C. Police Act to maintain a satisfactory police force, and, failing that, the province would step in, install a police force and bill the city.

First of all, Pete, nobody is asking to shut down the police force overnight and that just proves you’re not listening. Second, nowhere in the B.C. Police Act does it specify the degree to which a municipal force needs to be funded. Thirdly, in the event of a disagreement on the budget council or police board can make application to director of police services. Did they try this before going telling the CBC how very good and well-educated the VPD is? Nope.

Reminder: defunding the police also means we must Decriminalize Sex Work and Drugs.

Where’s the lie? VPD Store removes T-shirts referring to police as a “street gang”. If someone bought this shirt please reach out to me as I’d love to take it off your hands.

And if you think that’s tone-deaf during this time of introspection and upheaval, they’re holding a recruiting session today on Instagram Live. Would be a real shame if it was flooded by local stories of police brutality *hint hint.

Ding ding we have a wiener! What’s Up? Hot Dog stands by sign condemning police for racist violence. The majority of people saying “they’ll never get my business” a) have never given them their business and b) wouldn’t last 5 seconds in there anyway.

While it’s inspiring to see Confederate statues coming down in America and Edward Colston poetically dumped in the same river he traded slaves on, a reminder that Vancouver still has a statue of a man who raped and “married” an indigenous child: Indigenous activists say the story of Gassy Jack is missing sordid details.

Next up: From Trutch to Robson and Smithe, the dark history behind Vancouver’s tainted names. I mean, our province is named after our colonizing power and Christopher fucking Columbus.

Progress: George Floyd’s Killing Brings Change to BC’s Schools. Why did I never learn about Rosemary Brown, Viola Desmond, Hogan’s Alley, Barbara Howard, Justice Selwyn Romilly, Emma Stark, Fielding Spotts, Joe Fortes, Henry Houston Scott in Surrey or any of the other pioneering blacks of British Columbia?

BC Government to host virtual townhall on Anti-Racism in BC. Bold, you know, considering the whole Wet’suwet’en thing…

Quebec: Hold my beer — Speak White Again! Wherein Richard Matineau concludes that anti-racism efforts are actually racist against white Quebecers. Wow.

Also:

You know you’re on the wrong side of an issue when Bruce “shut up and fit in” Allen is against it: Reality Check – No Cars in Stanley Park? How is it so hard to understand that “only cars” is the actual thing that is limiting? Maybe it’s time to bring back the tram.

Speaking of shut up and fit in, I can’t believe this shit/totally can believe this shit is still happening: Richmond man vents to Asian group in downtown Vancouver. Dude can’t even get the Asian people right.

Now that all this focus is on police brutality, landlords can go back to being landlords again: Landlord organization wants members to have more freedom to collect unpaid rents and evict tenants. Landlords, you do know it’s not a competition to be the most hated entity in Canada right now, yeah?

Because there’s always city council: Against Motion B.3: If an “All Lives Matter” sign wrote legislation.

If an “All Lives Matter” sign could write legislation, it would erase the structural underpinnings of white supremacy and racism, ignore the role of policing, and use “the right words” without addressing the problems. It would also fail to fund anything adequately, and pat people on the back for less-than-minimal work already done. So far, this is such a piece of legislation.

Or the Parks Board: COVID-19: Park board motion to drink on Vancouver beaches withdrawn. I guess we’re all going to North Van, which actually had the guts to pass it! Wait, who am I kidding? Who wants to go to North Van?

Meanwhile, Translink wasn’t satisfied being hated for being Translink, so they decided to get into the real estate hustle too: TransLink considering becoming a real estate developer for new revenue. They must have learned that Hong Kong is the only city on earth with more expensive housing than Vancouver and decided to emulate their model. We can get to number one!

Seriously though, Translink needs a radical re-think on how it operates rather than drive housing prices up to maximize their revenue: Can Free Fares Save Public Transit?

“Raising fares to fill the funding gap simply will drive more people away from transit. We need to attract them, instead, or our road congestion and pollution woes will become intolerable”.

Another company that should never have been privatized: Mail delivery cutbacks at Downtown Eastside social housing discriminatory, resident says. Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. Only the fear of DTES will stop us.

No one: BC Business Council Says Frontline Workers, Nurses and School Teachers are the ‘Least Productive’ in Canada. Way to read the room, BC Business Council.

We want names: Dr. Henry says a family gathering of at least 30 people in the Fraser Valley which led to 15 of them testing positive for #covid19 should be a ‘warning sign’.

B.C. opens Sunshine Coast forest — home to some of Canada’s oldest trees — to logging. You guys know the internet has been working this whole time, right? Like, we know what you’re doing.

Bonus: “Canada Not Racist,” Declares 73-year-old White Man

Bonus 2: Are Canadians Inadvertently Supporting Trump’s Re-election?

There are 2 comments

  1. Or that the “Father of B.C.”, Sir James Douglas, was mixed (Scottish father, mother a “free woman of colour”), born in Guyana. I usually get challenged on this so I like to have sources ready:
    https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/sir-james-douglas

    pp. 145 – 46 in Janet Lunn and Christopher Moore’s The Story of Canada.

    https://www.vancourier.com/community/how-a-man-of-mixed-race-helped-create-british-columbia-1.9906849

    https://www.timescolonist.com/islander/sir-james-douglas-sinner-saint-or-both-1.23470993

    https://bcblackhistory.ca/sir-james-douglas/

    Douglas was married to Amelia Connolly, a woman of Cree and European ancestry.

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