Despite being Metro News, Emily Jackson’s great piece yesterday [below] about how brutally cruel the Saskatchewan government is should make us mindful of a number of issues.
Not the least of which is that the neoliberal Saskatchewan Party has been photocopying many of the worst of BC’s regressive and anti-social policies.
That makes the BC Liberal government Saskatchewan’s poor-bashing mentor.
Let’s re-spin this piece and explore some key context, then work up some solutions!
In Saskatchewan there’s a lot of racism and classism and discrimination against the poor and those with mental health issues. BC too.
1 in 7 people in Saskatchewan is aboriginal.
In Saskatchewan, the police have been known to drive aboriginals out of town to dump them on the outskirts of town. In the winter. There are even jovial nicknames for that little jaunt.
Saskatchewan has cut funding to shelters. So has BC. It’s called poorbashing. People, after all, should pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Because, after all, we are all born with equal opportunity to succeed in life! [Myth, as you know.]
The BC premier is an opportunistic liar when it comes to the 2 men the Saskatchewan Party put on a bus with a one-way ticket to BC: “Wherever they are in Canada, we should be supporting them… if they decide to come to British Columbia, we’re going to support them in that.” There are hundreds of thousands of stories of people in BC who are being degraded, de-funded, insulted and left to dangle in the wind from almost 15 years of cuts to social programs. Perhaps she thinks these men from the bus can work in LNG because that’s mythical as the BC Liberal Party social conscience.
A Vancouver city councillor is deluded if he really believes his own words, that he “hopes Saskatchewan will look to British Columbia and Vancouver for how to properly treat people who need low barrier shelters.” Vancouver has a dismal record of actually contending with homelessness and inadequate housing. And if he really believes that anyone should look to the BC government for how to deal with the poor, he’s at best disingenuous. But then he shows his weakening credibility: “We’re a humane and just society here in Vancouver, and certainly our province is as well,” Jang said. “You just don’t treat people that way.” BC treats its vulnerable populations hideously. Our province is a train wreck.
This isn’t really all that difficult. #1-6 indicate some intentional planning, based on sincerity and integrity and actual concern to ensure that people in a rich country like Canada don’t have to live in squalor.
Which brings us to #8. Welcome, #8! Canadians are ignorant or oblivious or criminally indifferent to the squalor we have created over generations on reserves and for off-reserve first peoples. We are content with their inadequate housing, untreated mental health disorders and addictions, pathetic healthcare and education, insufficient physical and social infrastructure, and a myriad of other socio-economic problems reminiscent of 21st century failed states. And you won’t see any comments on this piece about how they just need to pull themselves up by their…bootstraps. I’ll just delete them upon submission. So there’s that.
Oh, and we also need the post-carbon energy infrastructure transition to ramp up to 11 now because delaying will create climate chaos that will exacerbate all the socio-economic problems above, and many more.
Ultimately, we can simply coordinate our ample brain power, increasing tax base and will to create a just and equitable Canada for everyone.
And if that isn’t compelling enough for you because it’s the right thing to do, imagine if you weren’t born who you were. Imagine you were born lacking the socio-economic entitlements you have and you lived in communities like I mentioned in #8. Bad luck, eh.
If you have the neurons to even just imagine that, then ask yourself, shouldn’t you be advocating for public policy that would provide people with the best shot at a good life on the off chance that you would have been born into a vulnerable community? After all, all humans deserve an equal chance to have a good life, and not be born into deprivation, right?
And if the answer is no, it’s probably because you weren’t and you’re ok enjoying your entitlements while others born into vulnerability can just rot.
There’s a word for that kind of person. Many words, even.
British Columbia Premier Christy Clark said the province should and will help the two homeless men en route to the west coast after the Saskatchewan government bought them one-way bus tickets to B.C., where neither had social services lined up.
Saskatchewan’s ministry of social services spent $500 on B.C.-bound bus tickets for the two First Nations men instead of helping them at home, where their local shelter recently faced funding cuts, the Saskatoon Star Phoenix reported Wednesday.
According to the newspaper, one man has family in Victoria and one, a 21-year-old who struggles with mental health problems, doesn’t know a soul in Vancouver, his final destination. The men embarked from North Battleford, Sask. Tuesday night, but it’s not clear whether they arrived in B.C.
Regardless, Clark said the province stands ready to help, adding that B.C.’s strong economy is attracting a variety of people.
“I think everybody in British Columbia would say we want to support people with serious mental illness and we want to make sure they get the care that they need,” Clark told reporters. “Wherever they are in Canada, we should be supporting them… if they decide to come to British Columbia, we’re going to support them in that.”
Vancouver Coun. Kerry Jang, who is also a psychiatry professor at UBC who researches mental illness, said this story shows homelessness is a problem across Canada, not just in major centres, and called for a national homelessness strategy. Meanwhile, he hopes Saskatchewan will look to British Columbia and Vancouver for how to properly treat people who need low barrier shelters.
“To treat two human beings that way, slapping them on the bus, one reportedly with mental health issues, to send them off into the night, is absolutely disgusting,” Jang said.
“I hope Saskatchewan learns from this and says we’ve got to invest in our social services and get people the best care to get them on their feet again, not push it off and hope fate will take care of them.”
The Star Phoenix reported that Saskatchewan social workers have the discretion to buy people bus tickets, usually to join family, but it is not typical. The government announced Wednesday it will review the case.
Vancouver’s annual homeless count takes place Wednesday night to Thursday morning. If volunteers meet either man, they will offer help.
“We’re a humane and just society here in Vancouver, and certainly our province is as well,” Jang said. “You just don’t treat people that way.”
Vancouver’s City Council is occasionally lauded as ‘progressive,’ and the ruling party – Vision Vancouver – takes significant pride in trumpeting their work on affordable housing as evidence of such. But then they go and define “affordable rent” for a 1-bedroom apartment at $1,500.
And today’s quote from Geoff Meggs is fascinating:
That’s right. It would be unfair to force a landlord, who might have evicted someone so that they could repaint the walls, to triple the rent. Depriving them of income is unfair. Depriving someone of affordable housing isn’t, apparently.
The 1% and their media apologists and think tank lackeys would have us all believe that minimum wage is for kids. It’s for unskilled labour in entry level jobs.And it’s ok. We shouldn’t worry. They’re just kids after all: no families or mortgages. They don’t have much training or life experience and honestly, they should be lucky to have work so they could buy CDs and go to movies.That mythology is alive and well, regardless of the fact that the demographics demonstrate that it’s not just shiftless youth who deserve this minimum wage punishment.As the OECD world embraces a paradigm of precarious work, we should simply look at the facts. US stats from the AFL-CIO indicate how this minimum wage mythology is just ignorance: wilful or otherwise.
And you’ll note women continue to get shafted as men make up just over half the number of minimum wage workers as women. So it’s class warfare [as always], and gender discrimination.
And in the “good olde days” [TM] when a high school diploma meant access to life-sustaining work, 93% of minimum wage workers lack a bachelor’s degree. And even though a bachelor’s degree doesn’t guarantee work in one’s field, it at least allows them access to higher paying jobs.
The flipside is disturbing. In America even more so than in Canada, the price to get access to non-minimum wage jobs is tens of thousands of dollars of student debt to get the bachelor’s degree. That barrier to entry is another fact of class warfare. The poor who can’t afford a bachelor’s degree deserve to remain poor.
The cycle of entrenched, multi-generational poverty is another tool of class warfare. Don’t fool yourself.
The Reality Of Who Actually Works For Minimum Wage Will Shock You
If you add up the totals in these charts, 75% of minimum wage earners are adults. Let that sink in for a minute. 70% have at least a high school degree, and some have had at least a year or two of college.
Take a look at the size of the big blue slice in the first pie chart — that represents adult women who are working for minimum wage, almost half of the total. This is why raising the minimum wage would make a huge difference for tons of families, especially those in which women are the primary breadwinners or single moms.
The Role of The State in Gentrification, the Housing Crisis, and its Ability to Relieve or Maintain the Current Situation
by Rachel Goodine
Pidgin, a new fine-dining restaurant located on Vancouver’s Downtown East Side, moved in to the neighbourhood on February 1 of this year, prompting plenty of controversy. It’s located right off of East Hastings on Carrall Street, directly across from the notorious Pigeon Park. Many who do not live in the neighbourhood regard Pigeon Park as a drug haven, however for many residents the park is known as a gathering spot that hosts various festivals and street markets organized by the community. Pidgin is just one of many establishments actively contributing to the current gentrification squeeze. Although many regard gentrification as a good thing, it is ultimately contributing to the life and death situation that is the housing crisis in British Columbia. The idea that money accrued from business will trickle down to the poor through tax revenue is a common one. So is the idea that British Columbia simply does not have the money to put into social housing to address the needs of residents of the neighbourhood. In reality the priorities of this government, and the resulting hegemony seen in the majority of citizens, leaves the state with plenty of cash to be funneled to corporations as well as the military, in addition to funding coercion and repression tactics that maintain the status quo.
Now that Vision Vancouver has self-actualized as a political party, it’s time to see if they’ll now address some longstanding democratic deficits.
The complexion of the city changed markedly last night as Vision elected all its candidates, the Greens got a seat on council, the NPA increased its representation and all of COPE’s candidates lost except for one school trustee.
There will be a great deal of analysis in the coming weeks and months about what happened to the Vision-COPE cooperation deal. For something that was designed to promote cooperation between two parties to get all their candidates elected, something went wrong, or right, depending on your point of view.
Unsuccessful COPE candidates ended up with around 5,000-24,000 fewer votes than Vision candidates on council, with the range of 16,000-24,000 on parks and 9,000-21,000 on school board. For an arrangement that was supposed to be mutually beneficial, something didn’t translate well. It appears on the surface that up to 40% of those voting for Vision decided not to vote for COPE candidates. Why did that happen? Did Vision promote COPE candidates as much as COPE promoted Vision candidates? Let the speculation begin.
So in this new political era, Vision has no substantial opposition from anyone that isn’t flagrantly right wing. That should be easy for Vision to wedge itself against radically right agendas, freeing them up to indulge in most of the rest of the political spectrum as they see fit.
So while Vision asserts itself as progressive, they only have to be left of the NPA, which is quite easy, and provides no incentive to be very progressive at all.
If they want to show progressive politics, however, they should do a few things:
Stop the tax shift from businesses to human beings. Leave that pandering to developers and corporations to the NPA.
Start discussions to implement a ward system for the 2014 election. Imagine if for federal elections we had an at-large system whereby people from all over the country could run and the top 308 were elected with no obligation for regional representation. That’s what we have in Vancouver with the at-large system: 640,000 people with no community representation. Absurd.
Start a good-faith dialogue with Occupy Vancouver. Now that the NPA shrieking about Occupy has stopped being a threat, it’s time to stop the posturing and truly engage with the movement. Take a page out of Seattle city council’s book: they endorsed the movement 100% and is starting to look at moving the city’s money to credit unions. Accept that the NPA tried to make Occupy the sole election issue, but they failed because half dozen issues resonated with voters more than Occupy, which led many to conclude days ago that the NPA was not going to do more than maybe increase its seat count. Much of Vision’s advertised policies are supposed to be progressive and resonate with the Occupy movement. Your own legitimacy hinges on walking the talk. Use the injunction last week as a means of entering into long-range dialogue with Occupy. Seek common ground. Pursue facilitating progressive improvements to society in conjunction with the Occupy movement.
Simply, if Vision Vancouver cannot or will not walk the talk of its ideals, it will be obvious to all that the party will only go left of the NPA when it absolutely has to.
Spending Labour Day with Imtiaz Popat on “The Rational” on Vancouver’s COOP Radio, talking about Christy Clark’s revocation of a pre-2013 election date [coup, not really a premier, perhaps a “notional premier”], the end of the HST, the BCTF negotiations and how the courts noted how the government yanked almost $3 billion from BC’s K-12 system over the last 10 years, the federal NDP leadership race and the Canucks riot report as it relates to Vancouver’s municipal political scene.
Apologies for the abrupt ending: technical difficulties.
And a note on the BCTF strike action in Kelowna: it sounded ambiguous that the teachers were the ones who canceled recess. The teachers are going to start the school year not supervising at recess. The school board decided to cancel recess. This way, administrators don’t have to supervise that 15 minute chunk of time each year. See here.
Earlier today, the Vancouver Mayor’s office posted an announcement on twitter that quite a few people were likely happy to hear: the proposed bylaw that would have charged people in Vancouver $200 plus a $1000 deposit to have a protest where a literature table or even a sign stuck in the ground was being sent back “to the drawing board.”
In the linked news article, Mayor Gregor Robertson posits that there ought not be fees attached to the right to have a protest with a sign, and that a better ‘balance’ can be found.
Sounds good, so far, right?
Well, a whole new bylaw is supposed to come back from the city by Wednesday. And it will be telling how much will change – that will tell us what’s more important to Vision Vancouver.
If you go back to my original piece on this issue, you’ll see that there were a ton of restrictions that the city wanted to place on protests with structures. They could only be up from 8am to 8pm. Only in certain parts of the city. (That particular restriction would have effectively completely banned the original protest that gave rise to all of this, the Falun Gong protest on southern Granville Street outside the Chinese consulate). The restrictions went on and on and on.
Effectively, it looked like getting the right to protest would have been almost as complicated as a building permit. All to have a tent. Or a sign stuck in the ground.
Well, Gregor’s promised a new bylaw. With a new balance, a new approach.
Will it still have onerous restrictions, but drop the fees? Will it still ban night-time vigils? Restrict tents to keep off the rain to 2m by 1m in size? Only one side of a block, to a maximum of 30 out of 60 days? It’s quite possible.
I have a perhaps modest proposal – the bylaw could be quite simple. Protests are permitted, as is our constitutional right. And if a protest does construct a structure that is somehow or in some way dangerous to public safety, the city can attend the site, and tell the protest organizers what needs to be done to fix the risk.
At a lot of protests, there are rally marshals. They organize the route. Keep people from getting lost. There’s often a police liaison who speaks with the police. Treat protest in Vancouver this way. Fix the problems as they arise, not create so many hoops that people outraged at the most recent stupid thing their government has done risk financial ruin or jail time because they didn’t fill out the 24th form or submit an architectural drawing of the folding table they’re putting the sound-system on.
But what’s more important in this respect: keeping the Falun Gong practitioners out of Kerrisdale, appeasing the Chinese consulate, Vision Vancouver saving face, or free speech?
As I said before, democracy doesn’t have a price tag. But it also doesn’t happen only between 8am to 8pm, one side of a block, and only 30 out of 60 days.
In sort of a break from the ever-so-boring federal election coverage that we’ve been bringing you lately, the City of Vancouver and its maybe-progressive governing party Vision Vancouver and former NDP MLA and now VanCity mayor (and Gordon Campbell endorser) Gregor Robertson have (almost) decided that any protests that have a literature table, tent, or even sign at them might well be charged $1,200 – a fee charged to citizens in order to exercise their (supposedly) constitutionally guaranteed right to assembly.
Sadly, it looks like the progressive Mayor Gregor Robertson is showing us what a Harper majority government would probably do to our “democratic rights.”
The country that has disappeared Ai Weiwei (艾未未) simply because he did try to exercise his (not guaranteed) free speech.
First, a bit of history. Those of you familiar with the city on the edge of Lotus Land may well remember the constant presence of Falun Gong protestors and their signs depicting the horrendous atrocities the Chinese government visits upon practitioners outside the Chinese consulate in Vancouver, which itself is situated in a residential zone. No one, as far as I am aware, is suggesting that the Falun Gong protest was violent or unruly. In fact, most Falun Gong practitioners I’ve known are calm, and quiet, and they almost, well, flow with the qi.
Well, one day the city decided to ban these protestors. They used a bylaw to prohibit any “structure” (the Falun Gong signs) on public property (the edge of the sidewalk) and evict the entirely peaceful protesters. Sue Zhang, one of the organizers, rightfully challenged the bylaw in court, and after a series of cases, the BC Court of Appeal struck down the bylaw, saying that blanket prohibitions were unconstitutionally restrictive on free speech rights and rights of assembly.
That being said, there’s a court order in place at the moment, preventing the Falun Gong protest from re-establishing itself, to allow the City to bring its bylaw to shape in order to pass constitutional muster. Effective April 19, the court would strike down the current law which bans any structure.
Let’s put this in plain and simple terms: charging $1,200 to have a table, or a sign, or a tent at a protest limits free speech. It restricts freedom of assembly to those who can afford it. There should not be a fee on democracy.
This is a ridiculous concept. One, a lot of protests and rallies involve a table for literature or refreshments. $1,200 permit charge. Two, a lot of protests and rallies involve a tent to keep rain off of speakers and sound system equipment. $1,200 permit charge. And it rains a lot in Vancouver. If you happen to stick a sign into the ground, $1,200 charge. Imagine that you put up an installation art piece. $1,200 permit charge.
The Falun Gong protestors set up a series of signs and a rain shelter on city property directly outside the Chinese Consulate. They couldn’t put the signs on the consulate property – that would be trespassing. They used public property for their signs. The same public property we use every day to walk on, to protest on, to rally on. However, they put up signs. Here, the city is trying to ban protests that occur on public property unless you can afford to pay a $1,200 fee for a permit to actually hold a protest this way.
The City won’t tell anyone what they discussed with China, bastion of free speech, because they signed a “confidential agreement” about the consultations.
The city says that this wouldn’t restrict sandwich boards for stores. That’s covered under other bylaws. In fact, according to the city, this proposed bylaw only impacts “non-commercial installations.” So, not only do I need to pay one thousand two hundred dollars to put up a table and show off my “PROTECT FREE SPEECH” signs – the store down the way can put up its signs and/or kiosks hawking whatever it wants for free?
Whose free speech is being protected there?
The message box emerging from Vancouver council appears to be as such: currently, the city bylaw bans all structures on public property. No tables, tents, or structures used in a political protest are allowed under the current Vancouver bylaw. According to the city, the proposed bylaw would actually enable people to do things that have been illegal all along. Gracious move by the city to save us?
No. The BC Court of Appeal said that the prohibition was illegal and it will strike down the prohibition as of April 19. This talking point will be moot in exactly 11 days. It’s also incredibly disingenuous. Yes, the current (as it exists) bylaw bans ALL structures on city property. But yes – the BC Court of Appeal has said that’s illegal. So, Council, you’re not rescuing people from the vagaries of an unfair law – the BC Court of Appeal has already done that.
Could the same be said on April 2oth? Effective April 19, the bylaw that currently prohibits all structures is struck down, it ceases to exist. All structures would be legal. The Vision Vancouver councillors can get away with saying that this is a proposed bylaw that would enable people to protest, that would legalize protest, until April 19th. After that, they’re making a lot of protest illegal. Of course, any time you add opportunities when no opportunities legally exist, you’re adding. But when everything’s legal? Then you’re restricting.
Instead, the City of Vancouver is proposing that the following restrictions will apply to any protest that need a table, or a tent, or a free-standing sign:
Structures would only be permitted from 8:00AM to 8:00PM
There must be people attending the structure
Structures would not be permitted in areas of the city that are zoned residential or that have residential units on the ground floor
There could only be one permit per individual at a time.
There could only be one permit per ‘face’ (side) of a block.
You wouldn’t be able to get a permit for a kiosk and a sign and a tent.
Your permit would only be valid for 30 days, but you could only get a permit for an area for 30 out of 60 days. So, only one month out of every two. And once a protest has been permitted the same area couldn’t see a protest for another 30 days.
The size could not be larger than 2.1 meters high, 2 meters wide, and 1 meter deep.
It must be at least 5 meters from a building entry or exit, 5 meters from a bus stop, 5 meters from street corners, and 0.5 meters from a curb. A structure could not also cover more than 25% of the front of a building.
Interestingly, the area in which the Chinese consulate is located is in a residential area, so, of course, no protests with structures would be permitted there. Anywhere else where you can meet these proposed restrictions (that the City of Vancouver would likely prefer us to read as “enabling conditions”) you can:
Put down a $1,000 deposit
Pay a $200 license fee
Pay $25 for any renewals
And then you can put your sign in the ground.
The staff person presenting the report at the council committee meeting was very specific in saying that this wouldn’t prohibit protests where everyone held their own signs and banners, of course. This is because the city only bans structures at the moment, and this is what the court case centres on – Vancouver can’t constitutionally put a blanket ban on structures used for political expression. I also think that this restriction is in danger of being ableist – I’ve seen people with disabilities bringing signs and banners that are free-standing to protests. Do they need permits?
But what exactly is a structure? There was an interesting back and forth between Councillor Woodsworth and the city staff person presenting the report.
Q: Is it a structure if I stick a sign in the ground?
Q: What if I put a table on the side of the road and set up a tent around it?
In Vancouver, it rains. And most protests in Vancouver I’ve been to have a tent in case of that, to keep the sound system dry. $1,200 fee, only in certain areas. Plus, no bigger than 2m by 1m. You also won’t be able to set up a petition table at the back of the protest, without that fee and that permit. And only in certain areas.
One, that’s a pretty close interpretation of the COPE campaign during the Olympics that had t-shirts that read “I am a free speech zone.” Nice move, Vision Vancouver.
Two, Vision’s statement is kind of sad. It states that Vancouver is a free speech zone. Right, it is, under the constitution anywhere in Canada is. The statement says that the City is working to protect free speech, and that the party “will not accept changes to the law that restrict these critical social expressions.”
Here’s a key point, Vision Vancouver: no changes to the bylaw could restrict free speech any more than they already do. This is part of your message box – the bylaw right now simply prohibits structures as part of a protest, full stop. That’s why the Court of Appeal said it was unconstitutional. Very technically speaking, any changes you make – even if it were to only permit structures on the south east corner of the Art Gallery lot with a $1 million permit fee – would have the effect of “enabling” free speech MORE than is already the case.
With the logic that they won’t restrict free speech any more than it is already restricted, Vision could do a lot, seeing as how free speech with any structures are completely banned at the moment – until April 19.
Would the same logic hold up after that, when the law is struck down by the courts? Hard to say.
But again – charging $1,200 for any protest that would need a table isn’t democracy. Democracy doesn’t require an admissions charge.
Councillor Reimer and I had quite a civilized twitter chat, though she suggests that there’s a lot of misinformation and creative editing going on. I’ve given you sources for every claim I’ve made in this piece, and while all opinion pieces contain flair, I don’t think I’m going overboard. Ms Reimer even graciously acknowledged that her electioneering tent was on the street and 100% illegal.
I’ve offered Ms Reimer the opportunity to add comments, corrections, and even her own viewpoint on this article, which I will post directly at the bottom of this piece , without any editing. I’d invite any other Vancouver councillor to do the same, so that everyone in Vancouver can see what their elected representatives are thinking.
Now, Vision Vancouver is asking for public input on the proposed bylaw. I suggest that we all take the moment to send them an email with our thoughts, or send them a twitter message. According to their statement, you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When you do so, remember:
The official message is that any changes to the bylaws would be an improvement, because the current bylaw (which is unconstitutional) prohibits all structures. However, the quasi-emancipatory changes proposed by the City include a $1,200 fee for permission to have a structure – anything from a sign in the ground to a table to a tent – at a protest. Democracy doesn’t have an admissions fee.
All structures for political protests would be perfectly legal after April 19th – after April 19th, these proposed bylaw changes would be restricting speech that had been made free by the courts.
These restrictions only apply to non-commercial messages, because other bylaws already permit commercial (ie advertising, etc.) signs under specific conditions.
No function of democracy should have a price tag attached to it or restrictions as to when or where democracy can be practiced.
This isn’t just a municipal issue. It’s our right to free speech, with a table for our signs and petitions, or a tent for the rain.
Democracy doesn’t have a price tag. Certainly not one that is $1,200.
Here’s where I’ll add any corrections, clarifications, or comments from any Vancouver City Councillor who wants to clear up any ‘misinformation’ or ‘creative editing,’ and I’ll post them without any editing on my part. Post your comments in the comments below, or email me directly at email@example.com.
The COPEward drift will not end any time soon. I suspect it will pick up in pace over the next 6-8 months.
Helesia Luke was elected to the COPE board on Sunday after having run for a Vision Vancouver nomination in 2008.
Charlie Smith wrote about Jenny Kwan’s former support for Vision in 2005 turning into her current support for COPE as “the only civic party that is truly committed to being an effective representative of the grassroots in Vancouver”.
Update [2pm, 9.22.10]: Jenny Kwan has characterized the above quote as an editing error, so we can’t necessarily characterize her as shifting to COPE.
Smith’s piece also contains a long, fascinating list of things COPE has stood for in the last 2 years that Vision didn’t support. See that whole list below.
Generally, beyond citizens shifting support to COPE, I don’t think that Luke and Kwan will be the last people to drift towards COPE over the next 60 weeks, especially as Vision spends more months governing with a “vision” that doesn’t seem to include real people.
If Vision doesn’t get rid of their tax shift from business to residents, and if they actually increase it instead, we will all continue to know who they really represent, regardless of their rhetoric.
Every time we buy something and pay the HST, it is a reminder of the massive tax shift from global corporations to BC citizens and that the BC Liberals and Vision Vancouver like tax cuts for businesses combined with tax increases for human beings.
I wonder if this similar view of a tax shift from corporations to human beings is what motivated the Vision Vancouver mayor to cheer for a Gordon Campbell three-peat almost two years ago.
What distinguishes COPE from Vision Vancouver:
* Only COPE opposed the tax shift from businesses to residences so homeowners and renters would be protected.
* Only COPE called for the Campbell Liberals to commit to a timeline on the 14 affordable-housing sites they keep promising.
* Only COPE stood with the residents of Little Mountain and housing advocates to demand 224 units of affordable family housing be reopened.
* Only COPE brings international leadership on climate change and waste management.
* Only COPE proposed a two-bike-lane solution for the Burrard Street Bridge.
* Only COPE brought forward a motion to restore investment in the arts for the social and economic health of our city.
* Only COPE brought forward innovative motions such as installing wireless internet services in civic buildings, starting a citywide “freebie” give away program, and increasing scooter parking.
* Only COPE brought forward motions on campaign finance reform to cap the extraordinary election expenses in Vancouver.
* Only COPE stood in favour of preserving the iconic Bloedel Conservatory and Stanley Park farm and preventing privatization.
* Only COPE brought a motion to council against the B.C. Liberals’ “kidnapping act”.
* Only COPE brought a motion to the Vancouver Board of Education on the International Day for Climate Action.
* Only COPE is committed to putting electoral reform on the agenda for the 2011 election and is carrying out a neighbourhood engagement process.
* Only COPE has called parents, teachers and labour together to fight the devastating education cuts coming in the next provincial budget.
* Only COPE has stood up for amateur sports at Empire Bowl.
* Only COPE opposed the redevelopment of Hastings Park, which reduces green space promised to the neighbourhood.
* Only COPE stood up and gave back unnecessary Olympic tickets.
* Only COPE proposed a real West End consultation and voted against spot rezonings done without real participation.
* Only COPE voted against the mayor’s task force on the West End, because it’s not the consultation the community is looking for.
* Only COPE is proposing models for transparent neighbourhood engagement.
* Only COPE is proposing changes to the rate-of-change bylaw to preserve rentals.
* Only COPE is requesting that all untendered city contracts over $30,000 be approved by council and posted on the city’s Web site.
* Only COPE has consistently stood up for civil liberties and in defence of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the face of repressive Olympic security plans.
De-Spinning the Political and Re-Spinning it for Social, Economic and Political Justice