Ming Sun

Today, City inspectors arrived unannounced to the Ming Sun Benevolent Association building and performed an inspection. The building, containing affordable housing, the artist collective Instant Coffee, and artist studio spaces for low-income Chinese seniors at 439 Powell has been under ongoing threat of demolition. The threat continues despite the fact that “several independent structural reports stated that the Ming Sun Building is structurally sound,” according to activists who have been fighting to save the site.

Several people who have been working to save the building had arrived early to perform repairs on the building, but were surprised by the arrival of City staff, sparking concerns that the building would be demolished immediately.

The concerns were amplified when at least a dozen vehicles from Vancouver Fire & Rescue Services arrived on the scene with lights flashing.

A coalition of citizens, called “Friends of 439,” has formed to preserve the building. This morning about a dozen concerned supporters of the building converged at 439 Powell to keep watch over the property.

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“For three years the DTES community has fought an ongoing campaign to end the discriminatory ticketing of low-income people. Last year 95% of all vending tickets and 76% of all jaywalking tickets across the city were handed out in the Downtown Eastside. In response VANDU and Pivot Legal Society filed an official complaint with the VPD. The complaint was officially dismissed by the Mayor and police board in September 2013.

An independent police watchdog, the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner, has rejected the reasons given by the Vancouver Mayor and Police Department for dismissing the complaint of discriminatory by-law enforcement in the Downtown Eastside. Since then VANDU has requested a meeting with the Mayor on this important issue, but he has refused to respond. We have no other choice to but to march for justice.”

Yellow Ribbons

Most Canadian intellectuals ask too many questions. They seem to love posing the kind of rhetorical query that hides a vicious truth-claim behind the innocent-looking interrogative form, flaunting a political mediocrity that masquerades as academic objectivity. Perhaps it is only the Socratic method at work. Perhaps it is a manifestation of that elusive Canadian politeness I’ve heard so much about. Or it could be an instinctual political caution that prohibits so many Canadian intellectuals from taking a firm and outspoken stand. Thankfully, A.L. McCready is not in their camp.

Born out of a 2012 dissertation at McMaster University, McCready’s newest book, Yellow Ribbons: The Militarization of National Identity in Canada, retains its objectivity while stating exactly where it stands. Yellow Ribbons charts recent changes in Canadian concepts of national selfhood, following in particular the state’s altered military role after September 11, 2001.

McCready demolishes the myth that “peacekeeping” is a major element in Canada’s foreign policy. This fiction is primarily for internal consumption anyway; it has not really been exported. As she points out, Canada actually plays a rather insignificant role in peacekeeping operations, with the bulk of UN peacekeeping roles borne by countries of the global South. McCready provides a highly instructive reading of the peacekeeping narrative as the “‘white man’s burden’ of managing global civility and creating order.” She likewise exposes the Canada-led “responsibility to protect” doctrine as permitting imperialist nations to “cloak their own interests and objectives in humanitarian rhetoric.”

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Season 1, Episode 13
Victoria vs. Vancouver: Poverty, Gentrification and the War on Drugs

Click HERE to listen

Co-hosts: Tristan Markle and Nathan Crompton

On this episode of Mainlander Radio:

Poverty, gentrification, and the war on drugs affect the city of Vancouver, but they are also big issues in BC’s capital city Victoria. Today we’ll be talking to activists from Victoria about how these issues affect their city; they’ll also offer their perspective on Vancouver’s situation and ways that activists in BC’s two largest cities can work together. Guests: Seb Bonet (Vancouver Island Public Interest Research Group / Radical Health Alliance), Kim Hothead (Ctte to End Homelessness / co-founder of the Victoria Drug User’s Union) and Carol Romanow (Victoria AIDS Resource & Community Service Society).