The Mainlander presents: The Foreign Investment Myth
6 Jun 2013
with Jackie Wong, Henry Yu and Pablo Mendez
The Foreign Investment Myth:
Understanding the Housing Crisis & Confronting Racism in Vancouver
7PM, Monday, June 10th, 2013
SFU Harbour Centre (Room TBA)
Vancouver, Unceded Coast Salish Territory
There has been a growing consensus that the lack of affordability in our city is caused by foreign investment from Asia. Since the 1980s, this narrative has relied on Vancouver’s historic penchant for racial scapegoating while downplaying the actual causes of the current housing crisis. In lieu of basic questions about land-use and housing policy, affordability has been reframed around vague racist imperatives. As a result, the reality of the housing crisis has been obscured.
City and VPD move to arrest PiDGiN picketers, residents bring opposition
18 Apr 2013
Photo credit: DM GILLIS
After ten steady weeks of nightly protests by anti-poverty activists in front of the PiDGiN restaurant in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, police have stated that they plan to arrest picketers. In a press conference delivered yesterday, Vancouver Police Department spokesperson Brian Montague stated that his department is “anticipating an arrest soon.”
A letter issued yesterday by the VPD states that PiDGiN picketers can now be arrested for “shouting, screaming, or swearing.” The statement cites section 430(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada, which means that the VDP is seeking to label the protest a criminal action. An associated VPD release states that the police are issuing the arrest order to prevent Vancouverites from being “denied the lawful use and enjoyment of property.”
Vancouverites walk for Welfare Justice
1 Apr 2013
On Wednesday, March 27, residents across the city joined together to walk 14.5km across Vancouver for Welfare Justice. The walk was organized by the Raise the Rates coalition to highlight the need for a significant increase in welfare rates as well as a comprehensive anti-poverty plan in the lead-up to the provincial election this May. The walk commenced at Christy Clark’s office on West 4th Ave in Kitsilano and ended almost 8 hours later outside Adrian Dix’s office at the Joyce Street skytrain station.
Homeless Dave joined the walk for Welfare Justice on the sixth day of his hunger strike against displacement and gentrification. Welfare and housing are intimately connected and as Vancouver’s low-income housing stock erodes, people on income assistance are being hit the hardest. In 2012 alone, 426 SRO units in the DTES became unaffordable for people on welfare. A recent article by Seth Klein shows that despite government press releases, the actual increase in the social housing stock in BC has been negligible since 2006.
- Homeless Dave on sixth day of hunger strike against gentrification and displacement
27 Mar 2013
At noon on Friday March, 22nd, Homeless Dave began a hunger strike in support of housing rights and social justice in the Downtown Eastside. The strike was announced in front of the controversial Sequel 138 development site at Main and Hastings, where a developer is planning to build unaffordable market condos using a financial subsidy from the BC Liberal government.
Homeless Dave, who is now housed and goes by the name “the artist formerly known as Homeless Dave,” has put three demands at the front of the indefinite hunger strike: that the city decline the development permit for Sequel 138; that the former Main Street police station be used for social housing; and that the Downtown Eastside be declared a “social justice zone.” “We’re not about smashing windows,” stated Dave, “we’re about smashing the old broken paradigms and building new paradigms that are more just and equal.”
- Anti-poverty activists call out Adrian Dix, demand a commitment to increase unlivable welfare rates
31 Jan 2013
This morning, anti-poverty activists protested inside NDP leader Adrian Dix’s office in the Joyce-Collingwood neighbourhood of Vancouver. They say that the NDP has yet to make a commitment to decreasing poverty in British Columbia. Recent research has shown that British Columbia is among the most unequal provinces in the country.
Today is the one year anniversary of NDP MLA Jagrup Brar’s completion of the “Welfare Challenge.” For the month of January in 2012, Brar lived off the $610, the amount allocated to single welfare recipients in BC. During his challenge, the MLA lost 26 pounds.
His challenge was an emulation of a similar challenge taken by former NDP MLA Emery Barnes in 1986. Since Barnes’ campaign, welfare increases have lagged behind increases in the cost of living.
One of the organizers Bill Hopwood said: “A year ago today, Jagrup Brar finished his welfare challenge. He couldn’t afford to live on $610. He got in debt, had to borrow money, and lost 26 pounds. Nobody can afford to live on that.”
- The Mainlander presents: The Foreign Investment Myth