On the Downtown Eastside Not Escaping Covid and Blaming Social Media for Everything

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.

Cool cool cool so how’s everyone doing with the eviction and rent increase ban ending and CERB running out and restaurants unable to serve after 10pm and Canada’s top billionaires being $37 billion richer since start of the pandemic and idiots still refusing to wear masks and sending death threats to Bonnie Henry? Pretty good. Pretty good. But what’s this…BC has highest number of active COVID-19 cases per capita and Ruth Bader Ginsburg died and oh dear godIt’s On. Horgan Calls Snap Election, Other Parties Cry Opportunism. Bro. I mean…I get it, but. Bro.

Sure, pundits didn’t think this government would last six months, but it did. Because power sharing works. Why jeopardize that? Why take advantage of the Greens transitioning to a new leader in Sonia Furstenau? Why call an election when you haven’t delivered on overdue pandemic pay to essential workers? And I mean, did anyone ask the Wexit BC party how it felt about all this?

Jokes aside, is this decision more about pushing through establishment candidates in all the ridings where all your MLAs quit? (I’m looking at you Raj Sihota). Is it more about riding off the popularity of Dr Bonnie Henry and Adrian Dix? Or is it because your partners in neoliberalism wouldn’t let you incarcerate kids?

Full disclosure, I’m a lifelong NDP voter (excepting for that time I ran against them) but this just seems ill-advised. On one hand, as Christopher Langmuir states, “The question is not ‘do we have an election in a pandemic’. It’s ‘when during the pandemic do we have the election?” On the other hand, I know they have a team of data crunchers and party apparatchiks scouring polling data, but let’s get real: BC voters are fickle as fuck. This is about the reactionary numpties who read The Province and our ridiculous “first past the post” system that the NDP could have easily done away with (sans plebiscite). They don’t care that you met 79% of your promises. I mean, I understand that inviting people to vote on whether you deserve a majority government is the exact opposite of a power grab, but does a majority of the province?

And don’t even get me started on Andrew “renting is wacky” Wilkinson saying it’s imperative to ease pandemic restrictions and get the economy back into full swing, but somehow it’s also too dangerous to send voters to the polls for an election. Meanwhile, the Greens did nothing to oppose Site C and LNG and the ‘more green than greens and more left than NDP’ BC eco-socialists have a transphobia problem so what are you going to do? Start your own casino in your treehouse and get all your little friends to come?

Update: Stuart Parker resigns as leader of the B.C. Ecosocialists, citing a “slew of false allegations about transphobia”. Unsurprisingly, he uses his massive platform to complain about cancel culture. Like, “how dare you smear me by showing everyone my exact words and linking to my blog!”

Meanwhile, in scandalous local news: Vancouver city councillor should resign over conflict of interest: independent investigation. I’m not saying what Wiebe did was right or anything but the lawyer that fielded this complaint volunteered for the NPA? Only in Vancouver could there be a conflict of interest in fielding a conflict of interest complaint. Also, aren’t there like two wives of cops on the NPA? Don’t they still have a guy who advocates for harassing homeless people on their board of directors? Didn’t Hardwick vote on short term rental matters while operating a short term rental?

I’m just glad we all put Carrotgate behind us:

Chairgate on the other hand: City of Vancouver loads up on new, high-end furniture amid COVID-19 cash crunch. I’m literally sitting on an old stump I found after the Stanley Park windstorm while I write this, but ok. Nero fiddled. Kennedy redecorated.

Then there was the budget survey which was grossly worded in favour of landlords: Tax the Rich, Defund the VPD, and Protect Renters: Survey. Although it’s past the deadline now it basically gaslit people by saying “an increase in residential property taxes may increase rent for tenants over the long term” as if landlords weren’t already going to raise rents to the maximum allowable anyway. This survey wouldn’t have passed a single ethics review. Total sham process.

Aaand in other news: COVID-19 antibody testing finds ‘significant’ number of cases in Downtown Eastside. Oh wow, so literally everyone’s fears were totally justified and the inaction by authorities — combined with undertesting — combined with almost zero reporting — combined with chasing people living in tents all over the city — combined with a record number of overdoses — made both epidemics worse. Good to know.

Instead we are bombarded by these stories of people moving into the heart of the DTES complaining about the state of it: Vancouver’s housing cracks are showing. Thankfully, Kerry Gold hit up her old pal Andy Yan to save us from the stale “cRimE iS eVerYwHerE” narrative:

What we are seeing on Vancouver’s streets is the result of policy-making that chooses supply of market-rate housing without understanding the consequences for vulnerable groups of people, he says. It’s the reckoning of an urbanist movement in the past few years that has focused too largely on free market solutions without including vulnerable people in the equation. Downtown Vancouver illustrates how such oversight can go so horribly wrong, leaving all members of the community worse off.

Good thing to see the Park Board has their priorities straight: Controversial Stanley Park bike lane to be removed next weekend. Can’t wait to take a rip on the seawall again. I just love navigating past hordes of people on tandem bikes who have clearly never ridden a tandem bike in their lives on the busiest seawall in the world. Good times!

Cars kill: Man sentenced for hit-and-run that killed Vancouver skateboarder. Only 18 fucking months for hitting someone, leaving him to die and fleeing to another country. FFS.

Alleged money launderers killed, wounded in Richmond shooting Quote of the day from photographer John Goldsmith: “Now they are murdering the money launderers. Real estate is the new illicit drug trade. Oh wait. They are the same thing.”

Where are all these people going to live? Amazon’s new Vancouver office taking shape at old Canada Post building. A reminder that Amazon provides technology to ICE so that they can detain immigrants and refugees, rape them, and give them hysterectomies. No, but please…tell me how you’re boycotting Netflix instead because of Cuties.

Techbros will save us! Tesla driver found asleep at wheel of self-driving car doing 150km/h. Vancouver Man is the new Florida Man.

Vancouver Man has world’s most punchable face: Co-founder of ‘anti-mask’ movement speaks out after public backlash. Either you cover up that smirk with a mask or we’re gonna make you bury COVID-19 victims like they’ve been doing in Indonesia.

I see we’re still totally racist: B.C. wants this veteran English teacher to prove she knows the language. She feels targeted because of her African ancestry.

Dystopian Hellworld Bingo of the day:

Runner up: Qantas seven-hour flight ‘to nowhere’ sells out in 10 minutes. Imagine being such a boring person that you’d willingly generate more CO2 in a pointless flight than citizens of some countries produce in a year.

Sports of the Day: The rise of Kevin Bieksa, the breakout media star of the 2020 NHL playoffs.

Honour Bound: Chi Pig Cambie Mural.

Bonus: No, Social Media Isn’t Destroying Civilization.

There is 1 comment

  1. Fuckin’ Anti Mask(Vax) Freedom Fighters are gonna be the death of us all… but not before the billionaire class gets their pound of flesh from the Human Capital Stock…..

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