On Living in a City Full of Sociopaths and Allowing Hate to Masquerade as Religion

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.

Everything is normalized. Our brains are numb not only to Covid-19 but to the opioid crisis, the climate crisis, the housing crisis, and to the slow and steady rise of fascism. There is one common thread that unites all of these and it’s the lack of political will in the face of unchecked market fundamentalism. COVID-19 has shown us The Positive Power of Emergencies, that when we realize we can mobilize to combat social inequality and that “what seemed politically impossible and economically off-limits can be quickly embraced.”

So why are we doing the opposite? Why are we allowing evictions again? Why are we about to throw thousands out into the streets during a pandemic to look for new, wildly unaffordable rentals? What does this say about our priorities?

Wake me up when September ends: B.C.’s housing crisis to hit ‘boiling point’ as pandemic protections are set to be lifted. I mean, to be fair, our government has only had…what, like six months to come up with a solution to this? I feel for them; it must be hard to pay lip service to the working class while simultaneously stabbing them in the back. That takes some serious yogi-like flexibility!

The COVID-19 crisis has actually presented the private housing sector with one of the biggest opportunities they’ve had in many years to be able to pump up the market in a huge way by kicking out vulnerable people who are in the most affordable units, and either selling off entire buildings or bringing in new tenants

Nah, but it’s cool. Horgan is now the most popular premier in Canada! The booster class loves him! He’s bringing everyone together — the private sector and those who benefit solely from the private sector, rising COVID-19 numbers be damned!

Since 2006, ten households have been kicked out of the City of Vancouver every day. Ten. Every. Day. Active COVID cases at a record-high 1107. This is just the beginning: Vancouver woman facing eviction fears she was exposed to COVID-19 at rental showings. And this was before yesterday’s eviction ban was lifted.

At least we can take comfort in the fact that Selina Robinson, our Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, is having a blast with her diva friends!

“I don’t eat. My kids eat first. I haven’t eaten a full meal in weeks.” This is from Vancouver Tenants Union’s report. I wonder if Selina had a chance to read it. Over a bellini, perhaps? We’d go to her offices to complain but they’re all closed because apparently it’s too dangerous to open them. And yet it’s safe enough to kick people out of their houses (and host garden parties).

Just like it’s too dangerous to depict child actors in an accurate classroom size for an ad, but not too dangerous to put real children in the same situation. ‘Unrealistic’: Critics slam B.C. back-to-school COVID-19 ad featuring Dr. Bonnie Henry. I’ve used the expression ‘tone deaf’ so many times I’ve worn out the keys on my fucking keyboard.

Cool cool cool cool cool: B.C. reports eight suspected cases of rare COVID-19-linked syndrome in kids.

As mortgage deferral rules tighten, expert warns it’s time to assess ability to pay. I love how reactionaries think communism means their house will get taken away but when the banks literally say, “We’re going to take your house away” they’re all like “Yes sir, right this way, sir.”

If you thought residential landlords were scumbags: Robson Street stores desperate as landlord refuses to apply for rent relief. Faced with the option of Ottawa paying half the rent, the tenant a quarter, and this landlord foregoing the other quarter, they chose instead to willingly evict long term tenants during a pandemic on a street that was already facing a downturn. Landlords will literally watch this city burn to the ground if it means they might have their profits reduced.

It matters how they became homeless, not where: Focusing on where homeless come from is an unhealthy conversation: advocate. If your first reaction to “We should treat everyone with dignity and respect” is to question where people come from or if they are actually homeless, congratulations. You’re a sociopath.

Unfortunately – and this is based entirely on suffering through the comments section of The Province’s facebook page – we live in a city full of sociopaths — The urgency of safe supply: COVID-19 has worsened overdose crisis.

“I noticed this at the beginning of [COVID-19], in March,” she told me. “All of you people are running around, freaking out, buying toilet paper — you’re doing this because this is your fear response to not knowing the future. Well, welcome to being a penniless drug user. … You have no idea what the future is so you’re freaking out. You’re trying to buy a stash. So welcome to being us, and it’s not pleasant. Not knowing your future, not being sure you have one. This is why we act like this. [So] just say you are scared and maybe we can form some empathy,”

Let them eat beaver tails: PNE could be a temporary solution to Vancouver’s homeless problem. Maybe we could set up a petting zoo-type scenario.

Pass the buck, personified: Adrian Dix comes under fire for offloading responsibility for overdose crisis to fellow cabinet minister Judy Darcy. Search for Adrian Dix tweets with the word “overdose” and you find exactly one tweet from August, 2018. Absolute negligence.

Vancouver sportwriter Jason Botchford died of accidental overdose. Drug users are everyone. Please let this be a wake-up call to stop shaming those who use drugs and stop this vigilante justice/community-watch bullshit happening in our city right now.

Angry crowd confronts anti-LGBTQ2 preacher in Vancouver. Alternate headlines include: VPD uses bikes as weapons to escort a hate monger from Toronto to Sunset Beach; Group of proud Vancouverites unite to send a message that hate is not welcome here; Instigator violating numerous laws and provincial health officer orders protected at any cost by police.

While it was amazing to see so many Vancouverites take a stand against hate masquerading as religion (including an all-star cast of Gastown restaurant workers), it’s still just mind-blowing how law enforcement allowed this to escalate. Did they just need the overtime? I mean, how many fucking art shows and (pre-Covid) underground parties have these same cops quickly shut down over the years citing “noise restrictions”?

Even the mayor is speaking out about these events, saying it’s not right. “I find it just despicable,” Kennedy Stewart said at an unrelated press conference Sunday. “I think coming in from outside the city, spreading hate, hurting people, is just not on.”

Then why didn’t you fucking do anything, you puffball? This was an organized event with an itinerary. No permit. No license. You’re the police board chair, for chrissakes. What are you going to do? Write a sternly worded email to your own fucking office? #somebodyelseshoulddosomething!

Maybe the VPD’s Minority Report technology was down that day: Report Calls for Moratorium on Police Use of AI to Predict Crimes. I’m going to call my next album,”Feedback Loops of Unjustice”:

Past policing practices mean that marginalized groups — like people experiencing homelessness or racialized people — are over-represented in the data used due to interactions with police and government.

The report said this “data hyper-visibility” creates “feedback loops of unjustice” as communities are targeted for more policing, which in turn leads to a higher representation in police data. The data used can also reflect the biases of those creating the programs, the report says.

More proof that the police have absolutely no understanding of freedom of expression laws in Canada: Victoria police chief says ‘ACAB’ in city-sponsored mural ‘disrespectful’ to officers. Sorry boys, your career choice is not a Charter-protected right.

Here’s Johnny! Video shows Mountie entering Saskatchewan home with axe during wellness check. This has to stop.

This is a hate crime: Osoyoos Indian Band pictographs destroyed by vandals.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised how badly Global botched that preacher headline: In The Midst of a Race Reckoning, Global News Laid Off Some of Its Most Vocal Internal Critics.

Veteran TV news anchor and host Jill Krop resigns as news director of Global News BC. She should have resigned when her outlet outed transgender Green Party candidate Nicola Spurling, or over the Mo Dhaliwal blackface fiasco, or after they broadcast a video of a fatal stabbing of a 13-year-old at an Abbotsford secondary school. But nope.

In other media personality news:

Resident millennial whiz kid Justin McElroy captures the zeitgeist with one deft tweet:

10 year old me is sad: Vancouver Aquarium to close temporarily, 209 staff to lose jobs. Just waiting for people to blame this on the Stanley Park road closures and not the fact that the Vancouver Aquarium had challenges with its business model even before the pandemic. Wait, that sounds like it could be millennials’ fault!

Good news: Trump International Hotel Vancouver is permanently closed. How absolutely fucking poetic would it be to turn it into affordable housing?

Heart-warming story of the day: Man reuniting Canadians with their boats stuck in USA. Try not to tear up as you read about this local hero helping these poor stricken families who have been separated from their yachts.

Satire of the Day: Toppling of statue causes temporal rift as John A. MacDonald erased from history.

Bonus: New neon sign art in Chinatown honours Vancouver’s Cantonese immigrants.

There are 4 comments

  1. Really hoping folks begin to see what an absolute noodle spine Kennedy Stewart is. He has passed the buck on countless responsibilities that he has the power to respond to. He is the municipal iteration of Trudeau “taking a knee” with BLM and Indigenous rights. No sir(s), you don’t get to take a knee, you are actually the EXACT person in power to invoke change here.

  2. Just came across your column in the scout and absolutely love it. Oh to be a wealthy indignant clown, surrounded by kindred spirits abound in Van.

  3. So ironic that you bitch about sociopaths when you’re one yourself, hypocrite.

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