Category Archives: Privatization

Arrogant and Condescending Liberals: Bob Simpson’s Experience

Bob Simpson is a testament to reasoned, reflective, empathetic, intelligent political leaders with integrity. Two items on his Facebook page today [see below] show how desperate and afraid the BC neoLiberal Party is going into the last 11 days of the election campaign.

They either don’t show up to all-candidates meetings or when they do show, they sometimes spew critical lies/errors that make them look moronic at worst, or very poorly uninformed at best.

When they show up and lie ]or incorrectly state] that the government has done something good like building thousands of new seniors’ residential care beds when the party has already admitted to wildly fudging the numbers, or they put on their elitist hats to tell us to get over the BC Rail scandal, they are showing what disrespect they have for the 4+ million British Columbians who will hire them or fire them on May 12th.

What kind of person says we should just get over a scandal involved in privatizing BC Rail through a $1 billion 999-year lease to CN? Arrogance has been a key word in NDP rhetoric for a long time now. The neoLiberals simply keep stepping in it. To quote the wildly successful BCTF campaign: “When will they learn?” The answer is they won’t learn. We need to get rid of them.

And when the neoLiberals don’t show up to public meetings during the campaign, it’s because they’ve calculated that being there and suffering the brutal hits would do more damage to their dwindling re-election chances than the arrogance of not showing up at all.

It’s ironic since this is the year the STV will win as people decide that it’s worth changing the electoral system to get responsive politicians who won’t merely ram through pet legislation because they have a tyrannical majority government, regardless of whether it’s reflected in the popular vote.

This kind of anti-democratic behaviour, disrespecting citizens, helped keep the federal Conservatives from a majority government and it will kill the Liberals in BC in 11 days. Good riddance!

Bob Simpson had another interesting all candidates meeting in Miocene last night (Miocene is between 150 Mile House and Horsefly). Some excellent questions from the floor and some very strange answers from the Liberal candidate. He stated log exports have declined, said we simply need to “get over” the sale of BC Rail, and still claims the Libs built the 5000 long term care beds, despite Abbott’s admission they haven’t!

9:28am ·

Bob Simpson is very proud of our Quesnel youth. The questions the students asked at the QSS forum were a reflection of the key issues in this campaign, not just the issues involving youth. I felt the students were listening with interest and that both the Green candidate and I gave them lots to think about. The Liberal candidate did not have the decency to show up, that’s just plain disrespectful of our youth and their concerns

1:44pm

via Facebook | Bob Simpson.

Canada Line P3: More Lies

It was surreal hearing about the block party on Cambie Street on the weekend when “thousands of pedestrians took to the street to celebrate the completion of the Canada Line.” Was it designed by TransLink to keep the Cambie merchants from starting any more lawsuits?

Celebrating the completion of the Canada Line? Right.

As many have remarked all over the net, I agree that it is still like driving on the moon. This morning the workers were professional and smiling as always, butI waited 15 minutes to get through Cambie and 12th because–surprise–there was a massive crevasse in the middle of the intersection with lanes shifted all over the place. I guess they aren’t really done, hey?

But it sure sounds good during an election campaign to have a big sidewalk sale after “declaring” the construction complete. I remember when George W. Bush got a ride in a fighter plane onto an aircraft carrier to declare Mission Accomplished in Iraq after about 9 minutes of the whole thing. When politicians say something is finished, check to see if an election is on or imminent. Then check for your wallet.

But to add to the miserable lies you only need to drive to Cambie and 49th to see the huge “Complete” sign up on the sign describing the construction of the station there. The huge yellow fence, 9 workers and busy activity make me think “complete” is yet another lie.

Remember the tunnel they were supposed to bore under Cambie Street  instead of doing cut and cover? Remember that the new TransLink board is not accountable to anyone, they were appointed by a pro-business search committee created by Gordon Campbell, and they are spending billions of dollars of our municipal taxes, but our municipal politicians have no authority over them because taxation without representation is Gordon Campbell’s way!

Critical thinking should translate to the ballot boxes on May 12.

Oh, and if you are busy that day or don’t like lines, simply vote in advance like I’m going to do. Every riding has a place open from 8am-8pm from Wednesday, May 6 to Saturday, May 9 for advance voting. And the best part is that you don’t have to have a “reason” why you can’t vote on May 12th to vote early.

So enjoy and let’s ge t rid of Gordon Campbell for good.

Stop Colombia From Privatization at Gun Point

In BC we know too well what a rabidly anti-union government can do to the lives of unionized and non-unionized working people. Colombia is the poster child in this hemisphere for extremism among these neoliberal, anti-human carnage-mongers. And our federal government wants to increase trade with this murderous regime!

It’s time to let Colombia–and our federal government–know that human beings deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

Follow the link to read the details and email Colombian President Uribe to let him know that we won’t stand for this: Colombia liquidates Cali unions < Global Justice | CUPE.

Paul Moist is asking CUPE members to send email to president Alvaro Uribe Velez after riot police and soldiers evicted city workers in Cali, Colombia and liquidated their union.

Sixteen members of Cali’s public sector unions have been killed since 2004, including union executive Carlos Alberto Chicaiza Betancourt.

“This is privatization at gun point,” said Moist. “It’s chilling to think that the people who are doing this are those with whom our government has just signed a trade agreement.”

Gordon Campbell, the Anti-Populist: Soon Out of a Job

“Amongst people ‘absolutely certain to vote’, the governing party is only two points ahead of the NDP (41% to 39%).”

“The BC election may well be determined by the turnout levels of supporters for each party.”

via BC Liberals Lead, Voter Turnout Will Decide the BC Election | Angus Reid Strategies. Read the whole piece; it’s fascinating.

Gordon Campbell prides himself on not pandering to the rabble that makes up the poorest 95% of the 4m+ British Columbians.

The NDP has grown solidly in the last few years in its ability to relate to this poorest 95%. The Obama bump didn’t hurt either. With the neoLiberals’ lead within the margin of error of decided voters, we’re starting in a tie with the winner determined by which party can convince people that voting matters. Luckily we also have an electoral reform referendum to get out and vote for again this time, so I don’t need to give you a hint which side that favours.

And with the welcome rise of the BC Conservatives [who have some sound criticisms of the neoLiberal party’s carnage] as a viable alternative to the neoLiberals, Campbell is going to be cruising the privatized liquor stores on May 13th looking for empty boxes to move his stuff back over to the opposition leader’s office.

Then with a winning electoral reform referendum we will be looking for some seriously enhanced representation in the ledge: the Conservatives peeling non-neoliberals from the neoLiberal party, the Greens getting electoral representation with members from across the spectrum, maybe members of the soft right-wing of the NDP joining a new centre-right Liberal party. Could this be the end of polarized BC politics?

More from Angus: “Overall, 51 per cent of respondents across the province say it is ‘time for a change of government in British Columbia’ while only 34 per cent feel that the current government should be returned to office. When Gordon Campbell’s name was added to the question, only 30 per cent of respondents thought ‘Gordon Campbell should be re-elected’ while a majority (54%) said it was time for a different premier.”

Clearly, Campbell has made the right choice to avoid all unnecessary public appearances since his arrest in Maui, but even that tactic just isn’t good enough anymore.

And while the NDP needs to define itself more and do better convincing the population how it will manage the transition from an economy that serves global corporate profit to one that serves actual human beings, there is plenty of time, especially since they haven’t even released their platform yet. Wait until next week to see the plan.

So to be this close to the government that has swelled its public service communication ranks to 250 as it spends our tax dollars telling us how awesome they are while under the Bill 42 gag law–all this, before the NDP platform is even out, I’m very confident!

Now it’s time to organize the 50/50 pool on which out-of-touch, condescending cabinet ministers will lose their seat as Campbell loses government. Whoever guesses the closest mix wins half the pot. The other half will go to any of hundreds of human-advocacy organizations the neoLiberal carnage has affected.

BC’s Pathetic Budget: Corporate Over Human Welfare

After cowardly delaying their throne speech for 6 days to avoid criticism before their equally cowardly Bill 42 gag law took effect, the BC government released a budget last week that continues to show how Gordon Campbell is syphoning taxpayer resources to pad the profits of global corporations.

In a time of economic collapse caused by deregulation, privatization, free trade and other neoliberal, anti-social policies, Campbell’s neoLiberal government has perpetuated the destruction instead of introducing a budget that will actually help people.

His economic intervention last fall that forced him to actually hold an insanely short fall legislative session perpetuated the destructive economic policies that caused our recession in the first place as he took advantage of the crisis to continue to de-fund government with more tax cuts.

And in this new budget, the province will, no surprise, reduce taxes as well as actually impede local governments’ attempts to increase taxes, ostensibly to safeguard provincial tax cuts. This amounts to a constraint on municipalities to properly fund themselves.

While BC’s budget does go into deficit to raise the province’s portion of infrastructure spending to receive federal funding, itself a sly Harper ploy, Campbell has not stopped his corporate welfare program of public-private partnerships where citizens are on the hook for decades of guaranteed payments to corporations to provide services that can be done publicly without the profit layer sucking our tax dollars to overseas corporations.

His lust for privatizing our province’s assets has even driven the government to avoid the embarrassment of a failed privatization effort twinning the Port Mann Bridge. That venture has imploded so the government released an expensive new science-fiction, car-worshiping toll bridge rebuild project. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!

The government even has the gall to call privatized infrastructure projects “public infrastructure for the benefit of British Columbians.”

Forestry also suffers from the illusion of improvement.

A new Wood Innovation and Design Centre will start up at UNBC. Innovation and design are critical elements to developing a sustainable, high-quality value-added forestry sector. Except for the fact that BC still exports raw logs so global corporations can process them overseas for a fraction of the cost, developing our value-added capacity is a great idea.

While it is within the power of the premier to arbitrarily declare that BC Hydro cannot develop any new power, leaving that up to untrustworthy private bilkers, he can equally stop raw log exports. But he won’t. I hope the innovation centre can figure out how to be meaningful to the province with logs leaving as dozens of mills have closed.

In the end, the tone of the budget is all about expanding business opportunities during this economic crisis, with the help of deficit borrowing. And while there is spending on social welfare services, it doesn’t take a financial genius to recognize that this decade of de-funded social services have undermined BC’s resilience when faced with this existential crisis in capitalism.

This budget shows how Campbell is truly a friend of the corporation while the citizens who elected him are just the means to global corporate profit. Hopefully he will lose his job on May 12 since he isn’t working for us anyway.

Why Vancouver’s NPA Lost Badly Today

Because I like to make electoral predictions, I guessed that the NPA would elect 5 people to various councils in Vancouver. It turns out I was generous. They got 4 in, unless more official results in the coming days alter that.

This doesn’t really prove that the NPA is dead. Corporate donations will keep the NPA or some future clone alive forever, regardless of the fact that the 4 NPAs elected will likely never cast a meaningful vote in the next 3 years. This is good because I’m quite tired of Ken Denike. But that’s another story. Ask me over a beer at the Public Lounge some time. Even if Kennedy Stewart were right and they were totally wiped off all councils, they’d still be back, strong as ever with their corporate cash.

Here are some of the stories that made for today’s COPE/Vision/Green win, in their order of significance:

Populism!

North American politics are populist right now. Obama, the rise in the federal NDP, the federal Liberals’ inability to raise more funds from more people than the federal NDP, and the mobilization of people rejecting apathy to join Vision Vancouver–all these show that citizens matter. The NPA is like the federal Conservatives and Liberals: complacent, corporate-friendly parties that have never felt the need to <irony>pander</irony> to human beings for money and volunteer support, while relying on corporate cash to use the media to encourage enough voters to drink their Kool-aid.

The progressive win in Vancouver is a testament to grassroots mobilization. And as much as the Republicans demeaned Obama as being a community organizer, that’s exactly what got him ahead of Hillary Clinton and into the White House, and what got the NPA machine out of Vancouver city hall.

This is also why the BC Liberals’ recent Whistler convention was demonizing the NDP all day, all the time: they’re afraid of being tied in the polls, they’re fiscal neoliberal Milton Friedman worshippers during the biggest global economic crisis in capitalism in a century, they watched Obama get elected and Harper not win a majority [despite calling the election for before the US election, knowing he’ll never get a majority after Obama wins], and they know that even with the soft fascist censorship of Bill 42, they are screwed because they are as unable to mobilize human beings to vote them into a third term in May as the NPA was in recent weeks. [Exhale. Sorry for the long sentence!]

The right always loses to mobilized progressives who get out the vote by shedding the apathy we’re lured into by the cynical right wing. And the provincial NDP just successfully ran its third dress rehearsal for the May 2009 election [working on the federal election, the 2 Vancouver by-elections and the munis]. Obama has a database of 3 million contributors. He will not be throwing that away now that he’s elected. He’ll mobilize it. The NPA and the BC and federal Liberals and Conservatives will never have that. But progressives do.

Red States, Blue States

The map of mayoral votes: can you say red states, blue states?

mayorrace2008f

OK, even with no guarantee of data quality and with some oversimplifications, if you know anything about the rich and poor in Vancouver, this map makes perfect sense. Where do the rich and/or conservative live? Yaletown, Point Grey, south of 16th and west of Main, the bedroom community/pseudo-suburb of southeast Vancouver. No surprise, all red for the NPA. Coal Harbour would go NPA if it weren’t largely filled with empty condos owned by thousands foreigners needing a Vancouver home.

Where do the not so rich or conservative, and/or working class and/or immigrants who didn’t buy their citizenship and/or young and/or single live? Everywhere else, where people outnumber the NPA voters and voted Gregor green.

The $100 Million Olympic Village Elephant

Peter Ladner and so many others commenting on the $100 million problem with loaning the Olympic Village development with our cash still don’t get it. It’s not about how certain things happen in-camera. It’s not about whether councilors were fully informed before voting. It’s not about the privacy of businesses. “It’s the economy, stupid!”

Here’s how. Stephen Harper’s sweater vest didn’t save him from demonstrating how out of touch he is with most Canadians when he said the global economic meltdown is a good time to invest in some bargains in the stock market. Heck, even the CanWest toxic waste machine is laying off 560 workers in part because of the global meltdown and their share price dropping 90% this year. They’re sure a bargain, but the better bargain will be in watching them implode so that we can dilute the corporate concentration of media in Vancouver and Canada with more competition and less autocratic control of news…and, frankly, better jobs for the journalists forced to work for the Aspers.

But the $100 million problem is about how the International Olympic Committee and VANOC are not transparent organizations. They are secret, above democracy, and the IOC is even above countries. They’re designed to be unaccountable to us even though they are spending billions of dollars of our tax money while people die in the streets and on surgery waiting lists. Shameful.

Ladner is so out of touch: “It’s completely irresponsible and ridiculous to think that we could do all this in public and still protect the taxpayer….Why would the Olympics be different? The scope is bigger but the framework of the deal is the same. The city does this stuff all the time — it has done this for years.” But when you mix this repulsion with the secrecy of the Olympics oligarchy, you get one pissed off electorate. Whoops.

And he doesn’t even get the irony about how little the taxpayer is being protected in any of this Olympics deal anyway. The solution would have been to explain how in-camera works, then come out and say that when it’s out of in-camera, they’ll explain to people all the details. No, wait. They can’t do that because of all the Olympics secrecy. That’s the bigger whoops. Like it or not, the city is symbiotically embroiled in the grand, global secrecy regime of the Olympics. Watch your wallets, folks.

Plumping

Ellen Woodsworth was elected in a very small part from plumping. Plumping works. Some COPE supporters who were frustrated by the nature of the deal with Vision and Green–and others–voted for only COPE members and not for others on the slate from Vision. Ellen Woodsworth got elected to the last city council spot by 1023 votes over Kashmir Dhaliwal [the only Vision candidate for any council to not get elected] as of 10:24pm Saturday night. I doubt all those votes were from people voting for her and avoiding voting for Vision candidates to keep one or more of them from getting more votes than her. But with not too different arithmetic, the plumpers would have made the difference.

Privatized Police

Korina Houghton didn’t get elected to city council for the NPA even though she had a full-page ad in 24hrs on Friday. Part of her plan was to “combat crime through continued support of the ambassador program” meaning the Downtown Ambassadors, the partially city-funded, private pretend cops designed to criminalize the <irony>unsightly</irony> people from business areas. If 11,300 more voters actually wanted a private police force created by business owners and not transparently accountable to the public despite their public funding, she would have beaten Ellen Woodsworth for the 10th spot on council. Thankfully those 11,300 people don’t exist. And while we’re at it, let’s de-fang the Ambassadors and get them back to helping tourists get from the art gallery back to the cruise ship terminal. And I’ll leave out all that business about Kanman Wong’s campaign literature saying one thing in Chinese and another in English. He’s had his political career maimed enough already…remember David Emerson?

Wasting Votes for the Liberals

To the editor,

Regarding “Liberals have a worthy leader in Stéphane Dion” by Fiona Hughes in the October 1, 2008 Courier newspaper:

I appreciate Ms. Hughes’ fine exploration of the toxicity of Stephen Harper as prime minister of a minority government and how awful it would be for the rapidly privatizing Canadian culture if he were to become the leader of a majority government.

The reality, thankfully, is that centre and right-wing Canadians are almost evenly split between the Liberals and Reform/Conservatives and the polling numbers have barely budged since the 2006 election. The USA is similar with a near even split between red and blue state voters.

Because of this voter split and since the Bloc is doing so well in Quebec, we have little chance of seeing a majority government again in the near future, or ever. This is good, since majority governments are inherently tyrannical.

But what Ms. Hughes fails to point out is that Dion’s Liberals lacked integrity and provided Harper a de facto majority government every time they abstained on a vote, allowing the toxic Harper to behave like a slightly moderated autocrat.

And since the Liberal caucus has their knives out for Dion once he doesn’t deliver a Liberal majority, the party’s cohesion has been eroding since the election was called. So a vote for the Liberals is a vote for a fractured party with a conflicted sense of self-identity on the verge of yet another leadership race.

It is no coincidence that the NDP has been rising steadily in the polls and has behaved as the de facto official opposition in the last parliament. When it comes to a party that speaks for Canadians, the NDP has stood up to the Reform/Conservative Party and the Liberals, who have been afraid to crash Harper’s parliament because they were never ready to have an election. They still aren’t, which is why Harper had to crash his own parliament.

And the Liberals still don’t deserve our votes. As much as the Democrats in the USA are Republicans-lite, so too are the Liberals: slightly more socially progressive yet just as fiscally hyper-conservative as the Reform/Conservative party.

And as for voting for Wendy Yuan in Vancouver-Kingsway, there is no hope that the Reform/Conservative Party’s attempt at a candidate will win the riding. He is the president of Reform/Conservative’s Delta-Richmond East constituency, and like Ms. Yuan, doesn’t live in Vancouver-Kingsway, but owns a home in Richmond (though last fall Mrs. Yuan rented an apartment in Collingwood). David Emerson also didn’t live in the riding.

So strategic voting in Vancouver-Kingsway is unnecessary. Vote for the principled NDP and let the Liberal Party continue its implosion because they will not be a cohesive force in the next parliament any more than they were in the last one.

Stephen Elliott-Buckley
Vancouver

Shirley Bond is Desperate for Re-Election

If anyone has any pretense about being an effective school board trustee in British Columbia come this November 15th, read this piece from our Education Minister.

If you do not fly into a focused righteous rage at the insanity of it and your mission to destroy the provincial government’s anti-human, anti-social agenda, step out of the way for those who will.

As Bond pretends to have nothing to do with boards of education closing schools, my jaw hangs in shock at her gall and offense to anyone connected with the 177 schools closed under their watch since 2001.

Boards of education are arms-length blockers for a government out to privatize education as they gathered $10 billion in surpluses in the last 3 years. To avoid doing the nasty work, the Education Ministry strangles the budgets of school districts forcing them to enact Campbell’s “tough choices” in his “new era.”

Neighbourhoods of Learning is a fascinating solution to the problem her government created, but it is a solution implemented in the 1990s by the NDP government. The fact that it is showing up now indicates its effectiveness and the fact that Bond et al have realized they are behind in the polls with an election looming. Absolute cynicism.

Neighbourhoods of Learning as a broad philosophy could have been used to put in more subsidized childcare space to empty classrooms to avoid closing any schools. Since the ministry knows the declining enrolment is but a blip, when numbers rise again and our facilities will not be able to accomodate the capacity, expect provincial subsidization of private school infrastructure, just like last October’s announcement of provincial subsidization of private child care infrastructure. It’s all part of the crisis creation in the privatization agenda.

Shirley Bond: desperate for re-election, about to receive her termination notice.

Source: Nanaimo Daily News

Boards, not government, decide to close schools

Published: Friday, September 12, 2008

I’d like to take this opportunity to clarify some misconceptions that may
have been created by an editorial on education that appeared recently in
your newspaper.

Our government has not, in fact, directed boards of education in British
Columbia to close or sell schools. Those are decisions that have been made
in good faith by locally elected school trustees — the people we believe
are in the best position to make them.

Over a decade of declining enrolment has led boards to close under-utilized
school spaces in various parts of the province. However, I must point out
that the trend of school closures did not begin under this government, nor
is it limited to B.C. Declining enrolment is a nation-wide occurrence and
many provinces are considering solutions that include incorporating more
community usage of school buildings so that valuable assets don’t sit empty.

The Neighbourhoods of Learning concept announced by our Premier last week is
just such a plan – encouraging the development of community solutions to
fill excess space in our schools and create community hubs where services
are co-located within underutilized space.

This is not a new direction — our government has encouraged community use
of underutilized space through the School Community Connections program
since the beginning of our mandate and our rapidly growing StrongStart B.C.
program has continued in that vein. Our recently announced school closure
and disposal policy requires boards to consider such usage, as well as
potential space needs for early learning programming, in their future
planning.

It should also be noted that despite a decline of more than 50,000 students
since 2001, our government has increased overall education funding by 23% —
to a budget this school year of nearly $5.7 billion. That clearly dispels
claims of underfunding made by the president of the Nanaimo teachers’ local
that appeared in a recent letter to the editor in your newspaper.

Per-student funding in the province has risen to an estimated $8,078 this
school year, up nearly $1,900 per student since 2001. We have the highest
budget for education in B.C.’s history, despite a significant loss of
students over the last decade.

Shirley Bond
Minister of Education

Recipe for Assassinating the CBC

  1. Start with an ideology that opposes communitarianism and public ownership and worships the market’s capacity to create “the good” even if the market is far from freely competitive. The federal Liberals and Conservatives have well demonstrated this.
  2. Choke its funding.
  3. Appoint corporate leaders who wouldn’t dare come up with an original idea to guide CBC as a core part of the ever morphing Canadian culture.
  4. Fail several years ago to come up with the cash necessary to secure continued rights from the NHL to broadcast Hockey Night in Canada, the core brand of MotherCorp and the closest thing we have to a central icon of Canadiana.
  5. Cancel shows like This is Wonderland just as they receive a plethora of award nominations.
  6. Murder the CBC orchestra.
  7. Intentionally bungle securing the rights to the theme song to Hockey Night in Canada.
  8. Let bake for several years at 43,500 degrees.
  9. Don’t turn off the oven so that the whole concoction burns to a crisp: strangled of cash, free of its flagship show and cultural icons.
  10. Turn off the oven after it’s too late, take out the burnt carcass and say it can’t compete with CTV, TSN, Global and the Americans; put a bullet in its head.
  11. Toss it in the garbage and instead of auctioning, give away at fire sale prices the broadcast frequencies that MotherCorp held for generations to the strongest of corporations in a bizarre corporate welfare pitch in an arena where Big Media wants to take away a nation-wide network of frequencies that up until a few years from now were owned by the (fucking) people.
  12. Pretend you don’t know what oligopoly means.
  13. Worship Rupert Murdoch and Leonard Asper.

Downtown Ambassadors: Subsidizing the Thug Class

Well, it took a great deal of digging in the hopelessly inadequate free daily “newspapers” today, but it was eventually possible to get the full story on the city of Vancouver spending almost 3/4 of a million dollars to match the funding for the downtown’s Business Improvement Association’s private thug force.

The privatization-happy neoliberal Non-Partisan Association [sic]-dominated Vancouver city council finds it easier to use our money to fund a private security force than to just privatize the police. Vision City Councillor Tim Stevenson said public money should go to a public police force; the flip side is that public money should not be subsidizing a private security force accountable to the Business Improvement Association. Let them pay for their thugs to criminalize the poor.

But that makes us wonder if even that is such a good idea. In the article above, Irwin Loy “examines” the other side of the story by including Stevenson’s comment and another idea that the money should be spent helping the needy.

The real other side of the story, though, is that the Downtown Ambassadors are the thug class that Naomi Wolf is writing about in The End of America: a group of private enforcers for the business class to do more than just help tourists find the nearest Starbucks and ask the homeless to not spit in front of Roots on Robson Street.

The Downtown Ambassadors used to look like innocuous doormen from an almost swanky hotel in 1976, with garish red costumes and big hats. Today, as the picture above shows, they look like the rent-a-cops that they are, complete with red stripes down their pants. Their mandate includes tasks like “report crime and ‘quality of life’ concerns to appropriate agencies and assist in mitigating these from taking root.” Quality of life concerns have in the past been moving the homeless out of public lanes and alleys because that is too close to a business. Assisting in mitigating these from taking root is far more than reporting them to the real police. The Downtown Ambassadors have been roundly hated by the poor and their advocates for some time now.

And lackey Dave Jones explains that the real police are so professionally trained that they shouldn’t be bothered with asking those homeless to stop spitting. The flip side of that is that the Downtown Ambassadors are not so very professionally trained. And they are far from sufficiently trained to deal with the levels of mental illness among our street people. And why should they be…they aren’t being tasked with fixing that problem, just with sending them back to the Main and Hastings ghetto and off Robson and Granville.

But the rest of the story is to be found in the city’s other terrible free “newspaper” where David Eby from the Pivot Legal Society is announcing the plan to give blankets to the homeless. On those blankets are listed their rights as citizens of the country, though as the poor, their rights are being squashed by neoliberals like Lorne Mayencourt, Geoff Plant and Sam Sullivan in their plans to sanitize and criminalize the poor.

If you look carefully in the photograph you can actually read one of the rights of the homeless in our society. In distinguishing between private and public property, security guards are allowed to move people from private space, but they have no power to move people from sidewalks and alleys.

And that is the point of the whole mess. Pivot actually cares about the rights of the rapidly disenfranchised poor. The Downtown Ambassador thug class is all about tracking them to better shunt them out of the business realms.

But you had to actually read both rag “newspapers” to get the whole picture. Oh, the humanity.