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The Downtown Eastside faces a complete lack of advanced voting stations, making voting and being represented even more challenging. “I have to wonder if this is intentional given that people here are the most impacted and hurt by the city’s policies on housing, poverty, immigrant, policing, gentrification and transit,” says Pedersen.

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Part of the history of the last five centuries on these territories is the story of Europeans displacing Indigenous peoples for economic gain. It is this history that Glen Coulthard, in his new book, Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition, calls the “violent transformation of noncapitalist forms of life into capitalist ones.” This form of primitive accumulation, through violent dispossession, has since given way to quieter, less visible, structures of constant displacement. In the pointed words of Patrick Wolfe, cited by Coulthard, “settler colonizers come to stay: invasion is a structure not an event.”

Komagata Maru

After entering Burrard Inlet in the early morning of May 23rd, 1914, the Komagata Maru stopped a kilometre from the shore and dropped anchor. Authorities prevented the 376 passengers of the ship from landing. This was in part because of the Continuous Journey regulation added to Canada’s Immigration Act in 1908 which required that all migrants come to Canada on a single, direct trip. Because the ship had made a short stop in Japan on the long journey from Hong Kong to Vancouver, the regulation meant that its passengers couldn’t disembark. The incident left its mark and further entrenched a set of practices regarding migration which we see to this day.