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 population decreases for first time in 45 years. I assume that this doesn’t take into account the deaths from the heat dome, or deaths of people with no fixed address, not to mention the record numbers of opioid overdose deaths. So what does the article attribute the drop in numbers to? Lack of housing supply. Is not wanting to pay 2 million for something you could get for half in Surrey a supply problem? It seems more like an affordability problem. Besides, “Vancouver has added more housing units per capita than any city in North America over the last 30 years, yet housing prices have increased faster in Vancouver than any other North American city”.
Even the Bank of Canada, an unelected body that sets monetary policy for the entire country and whose fundamental interest lies in not lowering home prices blames lack of supply instead of lowering interest rates. Not: The financialization of housing, artificially low interest rates, low property tax, criminally low wages, bad zoning, zero land value capture, unchecked speculation, no capital-gains tax on primary residences, underregulated short-term rentals, a corrupt self-regulating real estate industry long known for shadow flipping and exploiting bare trust loopholes, REITS buying up rental stock, crumbling social housing stock, disappearing co-ops, no vacancy control, the fact that BC is the eviction capital of Canada, or that In Vancouver and Toronto, as many as 1 in 5 homeowners own more than one property, or the fact that the feds have been downloading housing responsibilities onto cash-strapped provinces since the 1990s. Nah let’s blame lack of supply even though Canada has over 1.3 million vacant homes. I’ve said it before: this was all easily predictable.
Pearl clutchers on Twitter and Reddit are even blaming this mass exodus on rising crime. One problem: according to VPD data, crime is down – Crime continued to plummet in Vancouver in 2021. Of course, as Justin McElroy points out, the data doesn’t account for localized experience, but it does mean that there has been no change in the status quo. We still refuse to tackle the root causes of crime: the long slow march of neoliberal austerity politics hollowing out our institutions, decimating our social safety net, putting the onus on personal responsibility and weakening our communities.
Why do BCers tolerate authorities who not only do the least possible for us but explicitly admit it? Henry’s approach is the exact opposite of the precautionary principle.
— Lindsay Brown (@Lidsville) January 26, 2022
‘Recklessness Principle’ (opposite of ‘Precautionary Principle’) dictates that in cases of uncertainty, where evidence is contradictory or data has not yet been collected, fuck it. Just giv’er. What the hell. Has wide application in BC health, social, environmental & housing policy.
— Garth Mullins (@garthmullins) January 25, 2022
You can see it in Bell Let’s Talk, an insidious corporate tax write off from a company that profits off the suffering of inmates. The only reason Bell has this role is because our governments handed them the torch, abandoning Canadians.
You can see it in how we treat our seniors: Seniors in Vancouver’s Chinatown are battling poverty and racism to put food on the table.
We can’t keep relying on charity to cover up for our government’s failures:
Another powerful solidarity mission from Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen and Khalsa Aid.
Our government should be leading climate adaptation and emergency response.
— Kai Nagata (@kainagata) January 26, 2022
This kind of neglect manifests in deep-seeded resentment that can either lead to the strengthening of our communities through organizing and outreach, like the examples above, or it could go drastically the opposite way, like we’re seeing with the trucker convoy (is fear and mistrust being used as a grift to further extremist, separatist agenda: $4M in fundraising frozen by GoFundMe days after trucker convoy leaves Vancouver. The hashtag #flutruxklan really says it all.
That $4M could go a long way to repairing our broken healthcare system. All you can do is laugh at the “Karen Convoy”: Unvaccinated truckers demand Canada’s government change US government’s rules on unvaccinated truckers.
Same with the state of Vancouver council I guess. ICYMI: Prank caller goes Bart Simpson on Vancouver City Council housing meeting.
Meanwhile this reporter is all of us right now:
— No Context BC Gov (@NoContextBCGov) January 21, 2022