Where does one start after so long? 12 years ago Andrew Morrison waltzed into Salt Tasting Room where I was slicing soppressata and pointed at me: “You’re Sean Orr. I want you to come write for me. I’m starting a new blog called Scout Magazine. I want you to do your Morning Brew for me. Fuck Beyond Robson”. The confidence of his vision was intoxicating and eventually I took him up on his offer where he gave me a platform for my ever increasingly radicalized worldview. He only ever gave the most gentle guidance and brotherly advice. I know I infuriated him but secretly I knew he loved the challenge. He knew that I cared deeply for this city and that my condemnation of it was rooted in a desire to make it better. For everyone.
Tea and Two Slices has become such a part of my identity it’s become increasingly difficult to separate myself from it. Over the past month I’ve begun to realize how much it really affects my quality of life. It’s not all bad, but it takes a toll. I can’t really imagine going forward in the same way and that’s probably good for everyone. Andrew had such a keen eye for toning down my vitriol that I can’t picture putting that burden on anyone else. That being said, I’m up for the challenge. It won’t be the same frequency and it won’t be the same intensity, but it will still be me. It will still have that iconoclastic snark. I’ll still be punching up. I just want to shift my focus a little in order to highlight some of the good.
Like how, in lieu of another failure by the BC government to adequately warn the population of yet another climate event, people have come together to support each other (I won’t even mention that capitalism just keeps going from crisis to crisis without ever fixing the deep structural contradictions inherent in a system based on never ending growth!)
Since I’ve been on hiatus we’ve seen water spouts, tornadoes, bomb cyclones, atmospheric rivers, the Coquihalla is gone, and there’s a barge/Vancouver biennale sculpture at Sunset Beach. All this just after Vancouver scraps the Climate Emergency Parking Program which would have paid for up to 31% of the city’s climate plan and significantly reduced vehicle emissions.
We’re telling people not to hoard gas by using the honour system but we could be making public transit free to encourage people. But since we are telling people not to hoard, let’s start with housing shall we? Because Canada now has over 1.3 million vacant homes.
In early October, Vancouver council sent False Creek South plan back to the drawing board, which is a nice way of saying we temporarily held back the hordes of market fanatics itching to exploit historic inequities to displace poor folks. This was a proposal pitched by the City’s Real Estate Department and would have seen the demolition of much of the social and coop housing.
Then there’s the Jericho Lands proposal, which would include new homes for up to 18,000 people in Vancouver’s West Side. This is great if only because it will rankle the old white NIMBYs who think renters are second class citizens, much like the opposition to the Secured Rental Policy. One person even phoned in to council to ask if they’d be compensated for having to live next to a renter!
In other good news, Rent Control for Private SROs Passes in Vancouver. Only one councillor voted against it and I’ll let you guess who that was. Just kidding it was Melissa De Genova.
This looks awesome: $30 million First Forward campaign fosters connection, healing and care in Downtown Eastside.
Also good: B.C. becomes first province to introduce five days of permanent paid sick leave. I’m sure the business community will disagree, but it should be 10 days. Paid sick leave is good for the economy, for workers, and for protecting public health.
‘People’s budget’ calls for Vancouver police budget to be slashed by 50 per cent. Remember, “In its 2022 budget submission, the Vancouver Police Department says calls for police service are down, property crimes are down, and the overall crime rate is down”. They don’t need a $5.4 million increase.
I’m sure I missed a bunch of stuff but that’s all for now! See you in two weeks!
Glad to have you back, Sean. I have missed you. See you in two weeks.
Sean, I was sure that you would have spent more time considering the details of the climate emergency parking program.
Whilst the intent was good, the truth is that there would be no charge for residents with off-street parking.
So once again the little guys get shafted while the rich, with multiple giant SUVs in a 4 car garage carry on unabated.
“Little guys” generally aren’t able to buy 2023 model gas guzzlers. 5$ a year for overnight parking is not “shafting” anyone. FWIW I’m in favour of a supercar tax.
I think it would be an understatement to say I missed reading your columns. Welcome back, can’t wait to see the trolls lift their ugly heads. Cheers!