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

Tea & Two Slices is a long-running local news round-up by NEEDS frontman and veteran dishwasher Sean Orr, who lives Gastown, deeply aware of his privilege.

3 confirmed dead, including suspect, after multiple shootings in Langley, B.C.. Is this the direct result of the poor-bashing rhetoric of politicians and the media?

On one end you have Joe Rogan openly talking about shooting homeless people, less than week ago. On the other, you have this National Post article, published a few days ago: Adam Zivo: Crime at homeless encampments is becoming a national problem. You can’t constantly call all homeless people criminals and then be shocked by what we saw happen in Langley, which is right next door to where they dumped chicken manure on a homeless camp nine years ago. It’s a continuation of the proud “Ridgelantes” in Maple Ridge three years ago. Last year a sleeping homeless woman was set on fire.

And just two hours after the murder of three homeless people, NPA mayoral candidate John Coupar continued his tirade against internally displaced citizens of Vancouver:

The blood is barely dry and he’s talking about “cleaning up the streets”. But hey, I warned you about the NPA back in 2020 when Christopher Wilson, who is now their financial agent, issued a call to action by saying “we need to start harassing these lowlifes”: Vancouver Councillor Urges End to Social Media Attacks against Homeless People and Drug Users.

Last year there was an unprovoked attack on Vancouver homeless man captured on video. I said this at the time:

Just a few months ago, after the Winters Hotel burned down, killing three residents, Linda Steel penned this re-hash of the much disproved Broken Windows Theory where she paints herself as a victim of structural inequality.

In 2020 Daphne Braham published this dehumanizing article: Chaos and depravity so normalized in DTES that there is no humanity left, to which I responded with the following:

So, not only do they face repeated attacks from the media, but the homeless population in Metro Vancouver faces constant threats of violence, displacement, slumlords, a poisoned drug supply exacerbated by turf wars resulting from supply chain interruptions due to COVID, ever-increasing criminalization of poverty, personal trauma, inter-generational trauma, deeply entrenched systemic inequality, societal stigma, barriers to access, mental health, addictions, or a combination of all the above — all while living on less than 10 bucks a day.

Community safety happens when we become a community, not when we push ‘Us Versus Them’ messaging that perpetuates a divide. What we need are healthy, happy, and equitable cities. Cities with adequate housing, mental health services, peer support networks, treatment beds, green spaces, meaningful reconciliation, mutual aid, cheap and accessible transit, cycling and pedestrian infrastructure and so on. How are we going to achieve a healthier, safer city when the VPD won’t even take a funding freeze during a global pandemic that crippled the city’s revenue streams?

As usual Gabrielle Peters sums it up nicely:

And I’m not even going to address all the people who complained about getting an alert on their phone this morning. I’m just going to pretend that those people don’t exist. Ugh.

There are 3 comments

  1. Hi Sean at what point are you planning on disclosing the fact that you are currently running for city council come October? I find it rather self-serving that you are continuing to rail on city politicians without disclosing the fact that you are also running to become one.

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