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The Mainlander has been covering municipal politics from a critical perspective for four years, and our last year has been spent digging deeper into the politics of the housing crisis in Vancouver. The writing community and editorial collective of The Mainlander has expanded a lot recently, which has allowed us to cover overlapping issues of colonialism, racism, gentrification and policing in our city. But we want to keep growing and we need your support!

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In 2008 Vision Vancouver was elected on a platform to end homelessness and build affordable housing. After three years of NPA rule, Vision was supposed to be the progressive alternative to NPA’s developer-friendly politics at City Hall. Today many Vancouverites feel they were given a raw deal. Basic affordability has worsened and homelessness is higher than when Vision started. What was promised as a political “paradigm shift” turned out to be one of the most aggressively pro-corporate, tax-cutting municipal governments seen in the history of Vancouver.

Now yet another ‘new’ party is appealing to people who are frustrated with corporate-class civic politics and want to see real change. David Chudnovsky and RJ Aquino, former COPE politicians, yesterday announced the formation of OneCity. Some progressives have expressed tentative optimism about the announcement, while some Vision backers have also endorsed the party.

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Calling for a moratorium on migrant workers first, and then paying partial lipservice to some permanent immigration system is a de facto call for mass exclusion of people of colour. If we truly believed in equal access for people irrespective of their racialization and impoverishment, we would first ensure full immigration status for all before shutting down the program that gives a toehold to some.

IMG_0754photo by Erica Holt

The last decade has been an era of broken housing promises in Vancouver. Whether it is the undelivered housing legacy of Vancouver 2010, the sell-off of the Olympic Village, the ultimate watering down of the Woodward’s promises, or the Mayor’s undelivered promise to end homelessness by 2014, few if any housing promises have gone unbroken.

If Vancouver city councillors get their way next week, an affordable family housing complex in central Vancouver – Heather Place – will be demolished and replaced with mostly expensive market housing. That will count as another serious broken housing promise, because to date Vancouver city councillors have committed to replacing the affordable housing at Heather Place.

The official Heather Place policy report was released to the public last month, revealing that – despite promises – the 86 units of affordable housing at Heather Place will not be replaced on a one-for-one basis.

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Good afternoon everyone. My name is King-mong Chan and I work with the Carnegie Community Action Project. We are standing here on unceded Coast Salish territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations. Indigenous people have gone through so much trauma and suffering through colonization and residential schools – and they still do. They need a place for healing. That’s why I support the low-income caucus’ position calling on City Council to make the Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Centre a quick-start item. And the caucus wants intergenerational low-income housing on top of the Centre as well.

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Herb Varley

DTES Local Area Plan,
Wednesday, March 12

I am a disenfranchised member of the DNC [Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council]. I was the longest serving co-chair of the DNC until I was unduly removed. I am here to present the Low-income Caucus’s position. I have some information here – I have some pamphlets, if madam clerk can please dispense these.