A no messing around guide to the coolest things to eat, drink and do in Vancouver and beyond. Community. Not clickbait.

On Home-Owning Politicians Sucking Hard and Still Drinking In Any Park You Want

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.

‘Unthinkable’ discovery in Canada as remains of 215 children found buried near residential school. What can possibly be said that hasn’t already been said? “It’s not a dark chapter in our history, it’s the entire book” for example, or “we shut down the entire country for 16 hockey players, why not for this?” We can ask why Vancouver waited two days after Merritt to lower their flags. We can ask why Canada has spent $3.2 million fighting residential school survivors, or why BC is arguing in court that the ancestral lands of the Nuchatlaht were somehow “abandoned”. We can continue to demand the dismantling of colonial symbols, like the honorary degree that UBC gave the Bishop who helped run the Kamloops Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc residential school. Same goes for John Furlong. At the very least we can demand that all cemeteries and unmarked graves of Indigenous children be identified.

We can also call out organizations like the RCMP for their shallow and performative lamentations. We can also slap the hypocrisy of the media for stoking the settler narrative and publishing trash like this front page Jason Kenney editorial, this Rex Murphy editorial (wherein he says there’s “an even more deplorable effort to frame the interactions between Canadians and Canada’s aboriginal peoples as a genocide — an accusation both illiterate and insulting.”), and this Globe editorial saying “the largest group of people in this country who were victimized by British colonialism, subjugated and incorporated into confederation by force, are French Canadians.”

And we can call for reforms to (or the abolition of) the prison-industrial complex and the justice system so things like this never happen again: Discipline of lawyer who hired paroled killer to help residential school claimants called ‘grossly inadequate’.

We can demand they uphold UNDRIP, pay reparations, negotiate treaties, respect the title of hereditary chiefs and, most of all, stop dragging their feet on getting clean drinking water for First Nations.

We can praise organizations like the Canucks for using the word ‘genocide’ when so many of our leaders still refuse to. We can petition the government to turn itself over to the International Court of Justice and donate to Indian Residential School Survivors Society..

We can amplify voices like Khelsilem and survivors like Jo-Ann Nahanee. We can implement the 94 Calls-to-Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We can trace the direct line between the horrors of residential schools and the Downtown Eastside, despite the claim by councillor Hardwick that Vancouver shouldn’t adopt a stance on reconciliation because “we didn’t have residential schools“.

And then there’s Horgan, who when announcing his old growth logging strategy used the discovery of a mass grave as a political chip to not announce deferrals of old-growth plots: B.C. announces plans to redistribute forest tenures to small operators, Indigenous communities. “The critical recommendation that’s in play at Fairy Creek is consulting with the title holders,” said Horgan. “If we were to arbitrarily put deferrals in place there, that would be a return to the colonialism that we have so graphically been brought back to this week by the discovery in Kamloops.” Giving land back? This is the exact time to announce such a thing. And even then, they won’t be deferring title until after the election, aka a bribe. Then again, deferring decisions on irreversible loss rather than preventing it is the exact same thing they’ve done with the pandemic and the opioid crisis.

Make no mistake, colonialism and the real estate industry go hand in hand. Here are a bunch of sharks just drooling at the curbed potential of the tabula rasa that is the DTES: Investigation: Who owns Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside? Investigation: Who runs these real estate industry shill publications?

Owners with plans to redevelop can only proceed under the confines of the Downtown Eastside plan approved by the previous city council in 2014. Which means no condo towers… Those guidelines are problematic for Stovell and others who believe home ownership, more market rental-only buildings and diverse retail businesses can benefit the neighbourhood.

Oh boo fricking hoo. Stovell is an absolute ghoul who refuses to acknowledge his own part in exacerbating conditions in the DTES by buying up SROs and turning them into micro suites.

He’s the same guy that tossed Berkley Tower’s long term tenants to the curb with paltry payouts and then turned around and spent a fortune on a hideous Douglas Coupland mural. If this insidious artwashing isn’t the epitome of our feel good, namby pamby, neoliberal wasteland, then what is? Pretty soon every condo in this godforsaken hellhole will have a Coupland bronzed turd at the entrance: English Bay’s Berkeley Tower to be decorated with murals by Douglas Coupland. “It will make a person feel like they are at the heart of something.” Coupland told the CBC. Yes, like they’re part of a class war. Full disclosure: I stole that from someone like Coupland steals ideas from other artists.

As much as those developers are licking their chops and bemoaning displacement controls, things are actually getting built. Finally: Nine Hastings Street properties to watch for redevelopment. How is that former Buddhist temple still empty? Such a wasted opportunity. Get on it, Mr. Eby!

But then there’s this absolutely disgusting company that profits off of suffering without their consent: Scared Straight: Tours of the worst drug infested ghetto in North America. Exploitive poverty tourism rooted in failed drug war propaganda and toxiphobia. These people should be ashamed of themselves.

Meanwhile, the people doing everything they fucking can to keep people alive are burning out: Why peer overdose response workers deserve more.

Surprising nobody: Trudeau’s COVID-19 spending was tilted to high-earning Canadians. Rich people giving other rich people money? Say it ain’t so!

And instead of actually making affordable housing, the feds want you to go into debt and further inflate the bubble by making it easier for anyone to get a mortgage. Sub prime anyone? Good news for future homeowners in Vancouver & Victoria! Finally something that unites both supply side YIMBY and housing activists on #vanre!

This is totally normal: Nearly half a billion dollars worth of homes flipped during the pandemic in Vancouver.

If there was any doubt who runs the province: After money laundering probe heard last witness, NDP installed real estate exec as casino board chair.

Politicians should be forced to hang out with normal people for 2 years before they get to make any decisions: Here are the tiny areas within 22 Vancouver parks where you will soon be allowed to drink. Or you know you could just not spend millions of dollars for the VPD to cruise around on ATVs ruining the fun of people just trying to cope with the numbing existence of living in a suffocating cage made of steel and glass.

This city can’t do anything right. We aren’t even good at making cycling infrastructure: City Ratings: People For Bikes. Somehow we’re ranked behind Gatineau, Longueuil, Montreal, Edmonton, Calgary, Fredericton, Laval, and Ottawa.

Do people who design our cities ever have to urinate, or do they just wear Depends? Dan Fumano: Lack of Broadway subway washrooms has advocate ‘pissed’.

Instead of concentrating all our efforts on building affordable and social housing, let’s do this: Two motions call for leaf-blower ban in Vancouver by 2025.

I feel bad for ripping her last editorial but I also think it’s what she loved about the job: Pete McMartin: About the people, from the people — Columnist Shelley Fralic identified with her readers and they loved her for it. RIP Shelley.

On Ken Sim’s So-Called “Swagger” and ABC’S Class War

Sean Orr is back from his hiatus with a rundown of the local headlines that have been running on a ticker tape through his mind over the past six months...

On Post-Election Recuperation, Platform Paradoxes and Refund Communities

In his latest read of the local news headlines, Sean Orr finds irony in "safety, affordability, and sustainability", and shouts out a bunch of amazing local organizations working on the frontlines.

On Running for City Council, Playing Whack-a-Mole with Homelessness, and the Public Washroom Deficit

In his latest read of the local news headlines, Sean Orr finds a park ranger with a grudge, a gross misuse of air quotes and Tripadvisor slander.

On Living in a City Preoccupied with Street Cleaning, Chandeliers, and Campaigns Against the Homeless

In his latest read of the local news headlines, Sean Orr hones in on the recent Langley shootings, and the ongoing criminalizing and dehumanizing of the homeless population.