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.
“Don’t blow it for the rest of us.” “I don’t see colour.” “Drug addiction is a choice.” And now this: Premier Horgan under fire for saying “fatalities are a part of life”. Besides being horrendously callous and tone deaf, 486 preventable deaths (that we know of) are not part of life. Deaths due to government negligence and the cold indifference of neoliberalism isn’t part of life. And yet it’s entirely revealing. This has pretty much been their entire position on the drug poisoning massacre, the pandemic, and climate policies. We’re going to see a lot more deaths. If our infrastructure is this vulnerable, what’s going to happen when The Big One hits?
But it also belies the very real precautions that governments could have taken. We could and should have had much better public messaging – in all languages – than “gee-whiz it’s hot”. We could have used our newly minted emergency alert system. We could have put a rate freeze on BC Hydro. We could have opened up churches, public pools and arenas for people to stay overnight. Hell, we could have a registry of vulnerable people so that when a disaster hits, we mobilize neighbourhood level street teams to check on them.
Oh, and we can pay paramedics more than 2 bucks an hour to be on-call and overbook them in preparation. Some people were waiting up to 3 hours for an ambulance last weekend. Unforgivable: Failure in BCEHS providing health care, resulting in deaths: Paramedics.
This heatwave, like the pandemic, reveals the profound stratification of wealth in our society. Don’t have air conditioning? Have you tried not being poor? This is a literal heat-map of inequality: Vancouver’s Shady Inequality. I saw a dead body on Sunday propped up against the wall at Dr. Sun Yet Sen Garden in the blazing heat. And the worst part was that I wasn’t even shocked. It was so matter of fact. This is not about personal responsibility. This is a policy failure.
Meanwhile, DTES activists had to beg the Park Board for days to open the DTES’s only shady park. Western part of Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park reopens to public. And then there’s OPS workers handing out more than 6,000 bottles of water on the streets because god knows the government isn’t going to do anything about it.
Landlords: hold my beer. Surrey man facing eviction after installing air conditioner without permission. Who wants to bet that Landlord BC is going to cite this as reason to renovict a bunch of older buildings?
Omg: B.C. heatwave raises ‘red flag’ of older Vancouver rental buildings with no AC. “Vancouver’s older, purpose-built rental buildings aren’t equipped for central air conditioning, and the CEO of Landlord BC says this weekend’s heatwave highlights how important it is to have a plan to replace them.” This organization is nothing short of fucking monstrous.
One other thing the NDP could do to prevent more deaths? How about not giving billions of dollars of taxpayer money to the fossil fuel industry: B.C.’s NDP spent $1.3B on fossil fuel subsidies last year.
But as bad as the NDP have been, the BC Liberal caucus took the weekend to complain about…
🚨 BREAKING: The all-time high gas price record was broken this weekend in B.C.
John Horgan promised to do something about soaring prices back in 2018, but he’s still done nothing to done to help stop the pain at the pump. ⛽️https://t.co/gWInnWscq7
— BC Liberal Caucus (@BCLiberalCaucus) June 28, 2021
Meanwhile in the city we have people up in arms about a bike lane in Stanley Park; $45 a year for a parking permit; NPA councillors voting against making Commercial Drive pedestrian friendly; NIMBYs in Coal Harbour lining up to speak against a school. I just…
We’re fucking doomed: Village of Lytton, B.C., evacuated as mayor says ‘the whole town is on fire’. You know, when they said entire portions of the earth would be uninhabitable I never imagined Lytton would be one of those places. And I guess that’s part of the problem. A lot of climate change is out of sight and out of mind, as this thread by Harrison Johnston reminds us.
Documenting this OUTRAGEOUS pyrocumulonimbus on the fire north of Walhachin, BC!
— Kyle Brittain (@KyleTWN) June 30, 2021
“Fatalities are a part of life”: 182 unmarked graves discovered near residential school in B.C.’s Interior, First Nation says. My rage is unqualified. It’s not my rage to have. I feel impotent. I can only listen with the deepest pain in my heart. How can anyone celebrate this genocidal nation today? Or ever again for that matter?
How the actual fuck does Carolyn Bennett still have a job? Jody Wilson-Raybould: Today’s Politics Are Toxic to Indigenous Women. Here’s an open letter from the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.
OK, what is going on? ‘It’s really distressing’: Study estimates B.C.’s COVID-19 death toll could be double what’s reported. Cool, cool lets lift these restrictions.
Can we put this to rest yet? Foreign buyers’ tax upheld; not discriminatory: B.C. Court of Appeal. Foreign. Capital. Isn’t. A. Race.
But how much of a factor it has on our current crisis is still up for debate. This interview with Sam Cooper is pretty convincing: Wilful Blindness.
Fuck it. World is ending. Let’s just fuck in an alley: NSFW.
And finally, some good news: Donald Rumsfeld, Rot in Hell.