On Giving the Police All the Money and Spitting on Service Industry Employees

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 hard not to feel like we’re all in a full-blown dystopian hellworld right now. It doesn’t help that as I’m writing this it’s fully dark out and only noon. Ugh. Maybe I need a vacation. Preferably somewhere there’s ample vitamin D and alcohol.

I mean, you’ve got Toronto police acting as footsoldiers for landlords and developers while they evict tenants during a pandemic; Toronto city threatening to sue a guy for building homeless shelters during a pandemic; some guy vowing to eat a 14-year-old can of soup in hopes of raising $10,000 for local food bank (which is just unnecessarily performative); some chud from Etobicoke unironically blasting Rage Against the Machine as he defies provincial health orders; and Ninja Turtle-esque green slime sinkholes bubbling under the streets. Save us, Donatello!

Or how about Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister demanding to know why CBC journalist Rosemary Barton didn’t help protect people from COVID-19; this sanitizer in Calgary that could catch on fire; the RCMP admitting it bought a tool to spy on your Facebook friends list; Connor McDavid’s American Psycho aesthetic; or this 2001 Space Odyssey monolith that just mysteriously appeared in Utah? I’m sorry, 2020. I’m afraid I can’t do that.

Closer to home, Victoria bylaw officers dismantled a community tent at Beacon Hill Park and threw away donations while down the street a cafe installed dining domes on their outdoor patio. What kind of fucked up Demolition Man scenario are we living in where this kind of duality exists?

And here’s our own premier manipulating our emotions by posting feel good propaganda in the face of overwhelming failures to take bold action: Elf on the Shelf allowed in social bubble, premier tells B.C. child after receiving adorable letter. It would be adorable if there weren’t 820 school exposure events to date.

Even more adorable if the BC CDC knew how to wear a mask:

Nah, it’s adorable because we’re all going to pitch in and do the right thing. It’s just. The British Columbian. Way: Anti-masker allegedly spits on Penticton liquor store employee, damages his cell phone. It’s cool, though, because we have a ton of supports for workers. /sarcasm

But absolutely nothing tops the fact that the entire world is talking about cutting police budgets, that the city’s budget engagement said cut the police budget, and that the mayor’s own budget survey said cut the police budget — so what does Vancouver fucking do? Proposes increasing the police budget by $2.5 million. And these swine are complaining that it’s not enough? My god.

This city is a colonial joke. A watered down, green-glass neoliberal bastion of “fuck you I got mine” personified, an entitled wretch of a fishing village cum resort for speculators, where our security forces do whatever the fuck they want. Not even satisfied with an entire 1/3 of the budget during a pandemic:

Will cop wives Sarah Kirby-Yung and Melissa de Genova recuse themselves from voting on this? How about the head of the police board, Mr. Kennedy fucking Stewart? Will anyone admit that the millionaire-funded, astro-turf media campaign about rampant crime was a fucking lie? That crime is not up?

This is the same force that is so totally inept when it comes to basic operations that it arrests a 12 year old girl because the caller doesn’t understand what a god damned status card is? Like, I don’t know know who to be furious at here. What a total shitshow this god forsaken town is: Indigenous man and granddaughter handcuffed at Vancouver bank file human rights complaint against BMO, police.

Of course, the same people who complain about crime being out of control will also complain about a measly fucking $160 increase in property tax on a $4 million property without even a hint of irony: Property tax of 5% proposed as part of City of Vancouver budget.

Weird, it’s almost like the things that taxes pay for actually help reduce crime in the long run. It’s almost as though having a massive swath of the population kept in constant poverty is bad for everybody. Am I Bill Murray? Is this Groundhog Day?

Putting on my best George Carlin voice, “I wonder if there’s anything related here? I wonder if there’s a connection? Gee! You think? Vancouver’s Poorest Neighbourhoods Now Have Highest Rates of COVID-19. Have they tried, you know, not being poor?

Because if the penalty is a fine, it’s an anti-poor law: COVID-19: Vancouver police fine party host $2,300 for violating social gathering restrictions. I’m sure those Yaletown Community Safety NIMBYs are up in arms about this, right?

B.C. introduces $230 fine for not wearing masks. Oh wow! They actually did a thing. I’m sure the cops won’t abuse this and target poor people. I’m sure this will make the rabid anti-maskers magically comply. But I guess it’s something.

I’d like to speak to the manager: Anti-masker allegedly spits on Penticton liquor store employee, damages his cell phone. The disdain boomers like this have for following rules and treating workers with respect is a feature, not a bug, of the most entitled generation to ever live on this planet.

For artists and authors, the latest provincial health order has the earmarks of a double standard. I feel like you can make this point without throwing bars and restaurants under the bus. There have been almost no exposure events from either during this last spike. Whataboutism is an ugly look. I’m looking at you, Rio.

This, on the other hand: Foot Locker launch draws crowd in downtown Vancouver. “They can all come together in public, get within a foot of each other and talk and gossip and possibly spread a disease.” Khan was waiting to get her hands on the new Ivy Park line from Beyoncé.” In the words of Beyoncé, “Uh oh, uh oh, uh oh, oh, no, no”.

Because of course they did: City of Vancouver appoints scofflaw Airbnb host to monitor short-term rental regulations. “One appointee is Aihua Ji, who runs three Airbnb units, including an entire suite, with an expired licence 19-163368.[2], which goes against the City of Vancouver’s short-term rental regulations”. If this isn’t a metaphor for something I don’t know what is.

Maybe we should appoint a landlord to oversee shady landlords while we’re at it: Crisis? What crisis? One of Canada’s largest landlords is having a profitable 2020.

CAPREIT’s net rental revenue increased by 15 per cent from September 2019 to September 2020. Its net operating income — the sum of revenues minus operating costs (not including capital costs) — grew by 4.1 per cent.

Eat the rich: Douglas Todd: U.S. billionaire again battles to stop ‘trespassers’ on his giant B.C. ranch. Looks like I might have to take up fishing as a new hobby. Either that or we break out the gill-otine. (Sorry.)

Can this asshole get any worse? B.C. education minister calls for Chilliwack school trustee’s resignation after ‘hurtful’ slur aimed at journalists. Petition is almost at 15,000! Keep going!

Hudson’s Bay Coquitlam defaults on rent, has lease terminated. Before you get all teary-eyed for Douglas Coupland-esque nostalgia, remember that this is an American company.

This article really, um, rings true for me: I’m a sound technician. Losing my hearing was devastating. Seriously though. If shows ever happen again, please wear your earplugs, kiddies. It’s no joke.

And now for the good news! Flu Cases Are Down Nearly 98% In Canada This Year. That’s it. That’s the only good news this week.

Sports of the day: Groom ‘ruins wedding’ by accidentally booting his new wife as he performs topless lap dance for her. That man is a Gaud.

Bonus: The Forgotten Hawaiian Islands in Canada.

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