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.
Vancouver’s ‘Barge Chilling Beach’ sign vandalized. Nope. It was corrected. Once again, salacious media are attempting to force the narrative that Vancouver has become a crime-ridden cesspool thanks to evil puppet master Kennedy Stewart, and once again they miss the mark. The area known as Barge Chilling Park already had a name, and that’s what was written on the sign. It’s called Í7iy̓el̓shn and it means ‘another soft under foot’ place. Learn how to pronounce it at Squamish Atlas.
Kenneth Chan lamented that things are “being turned political” which, in fact, is a political position. Of course, this isn’t surprising since he also complained about the Land Back Mural which I wrote about back in August.
Councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung tweeted that she is “fed up” because when settlers are confronted with any attempt at educating us, we recoil in horror. “Oh would those uppity natives just let us have some fun!”. Meanwhile land theft and genocide are apparently neutral acts that happened in the vacuum of some nondescript past.
I admit, I thought the Park Board sign was fun too, albeit a little dark. But it’s a sign making light of a runaway climate change and it’s on stolen land. That being said, the Park Board have begun the process, albeit slowly, to develop a naming policy in collaboration with the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.
If Saltery Bay can change its name to sḵelhp, then surely Vancouver can too. Of course, renaming things is a step towards reconciliation and rebuilds relationships to the land, but Land Back goes a step further: “It’s about self-determination for our Peoples here that should include some access to the territories and resources in a more equitable fashion, and for us to have control over how that actually looks.” Vancouver councillors and media elite had better read-up.
Meanwhile, in other Vancouver media news, it appears Charlie Smith and the Georgia Straight have gone full incel: Mayoral candidate Mark Marissen’s mom wants voters to know how kind-hearted he is. What starts as a fairly normal character profile/puff piece, albeit omitting his role in the BC Rail Scandal and his ties to LNG (and generally leaving out any mention of his policy goals), then devolves into alt-right tropes and misogynistic language:
Leaving aside for a second the fact he thinks Kirk Lapointe and Gordon Campbell are alpha males, or the more obvious point that Vancouver should have a female mayor, the entire myth around alpha males in wolf packs is a lie. Wolf packs work by cooperation and this is simply toxic masculinity trotted out for clicks. I guess this is what happens when you’re owned by a Cannabis/E-Sports platform.
In regards to COVID however, it seems they’re tiring of the neoliberal death machine that is the PHO, Keith Baldrey aside of course. Penny Daflos has long been a solitary critical voice, but is now joined by colleague David Molko who told the top doctor that his “jaw hit the ground” when she appeared to wave a white flag by admitting she wants to get out of the public health order business. In other words, she wants “public” and “health” out of her job title. She also went against Canada’s top doctor in saying that schools aren’t vectors of transmission, leading the Safe Schools Coalition B.C to call for necessary mitigating measures to protect children.
On Rapid Antigen Tests, which may or may not be effective in identifying Omicron and which aren’t included in official case counts, Dr. Bonnie Henry called it an urban myth that there are ‘hoards of them stashed in a warehouse’. Well it appears she either lied or is incompetent. There are in fact 1.3M rapid tests in a warehouse. I’m shook.
She also seemed to contradict the prevailing science on higher grade masks like N95s, saying that the best mask is the one used frequently. Whatever that means. It’s so bad that this company is willing to donate thousands of N95-equivalent respirators to B.C. COVID-19 vaccination clinics.
But I think most glaring shift in the province’s fight against the virus is when she said that the “biggest challenge right now, is interruption to workplaces”. Not deaths, not over-stressed health care systems, not long Covid (which we just stopped funding research into), but keeping the economy going at all costs. Booster shot of kindness indeed.
Case in point? The Case of BC’s Missing COVID-19 Data. This reporter asked how many people in work camps had spread the infection to surrounding communities and the response was an exercise in pure public relations. This government cares more about controlling the message than about equitable public policy. They seem to be entirely incapable of self-reflection:
“Quite often, these are public relations officials. These are publicists and propagandists, in various extents, because they’re going to try and spin the information as positively as they can,” he says. “We’re not seeing any reason why communications officers should be directly involved in the release of information that is part of an FOI process.”
No health orders, no data, no tests, no CERB, no protection for workers, no rent freeze, no trust.
This offloading of responsibility on to businesses and individuals is the neoliberal mantra. Massive deregulation of public health means that “try not to die” is now official policy. Then there’s this:
The other big news in Vancouver: B.C. property assessments signal ‘a massive deterioration in affordability’, say analysts. And so what do we do? Not signal a massive build-out of non-market housing, a progressive taxation policy, or help for renters. Instead, we give homeowners money to pay the taxes on an unprecedented well of unearned wealth in the form of a grant: B.C. properties valued up to $1.975M now eligible for homeowner grant.
Meanwhile, the shelter rate for housing remains at the profoundly inadequate $375/month, where it has been since 2007. Sickening.
And the rich just keep getting richer: Billionaire Chip Wilson’s Vancouver home assessed at $73,147,000—up 9.5 percent from last year. According to Justin McElroy, that’s more than the annual budgets of 130 of b.c.’s 162 municipalities
And while municipal budgets are stretched thin, Vancouver residents punch down on each other on social media regarding snow plowing, when the reality is that a car obsessed culture has led the rest of us to fight over scraps in a zero-sum game: Dan Fumano: City hall acknowledges ‘gap’ in Vancouver’s snow-clearing efforts. Gabrielle Peters:
“It should be: ‘Everything should be as clear as that bike lane,’ not, ‘How dare you clear the bike lane, everything should be covered in snow,’ ” Peters said. “I never want to reduce anybody’s accessibility … Anybody who frames this issue in that way has other political motives than accessibility, and they are not acting in the public interest.
I guess I could apply the same “punching down” logic to these influencers… but nah: Outrage grows after video of partiers on Sunwing plane.
Socialize the cost, privatize the profit, individualize the solutions: Brussels Airlines flies thousands of empty flights just to keep landing slots. Don’t worry it’s cool, I use reusable shopping bags now because the City of Vancouver made businesses charge 15 cents per bag which don’t go into government coffers but back to the store and which will just end up hurting the poor.
But it’s not all bad I guess. ” Tune in for positive and reflective conversations with Canadians about 2021 as we look into the new year with joy, hope, and optimism”: The Bright Side.