Translink has announced that in the new year it will raise fares by 10% to 12.5%. But these fare increases are not fair, and the rationale is not rational at all.

With the cost-of-living rising faster than wages, many working people don’t have money left over for transit. The fare hikes will only push the working poor deeper into debt. Even worse, for those living in the suburbs and commuting to work in Vancouver, the increase in the 3-zone fare to $11 per round-trip is atrocious. It means that for those working at minimum wage, their commute will cost them more than an hour’s wage everyday. Further, this $11 roundtrip fare is one of the highest costing work commutes in North America.

This past Saturday British Columbians took to the streets to build public support for social housing and rent control in the lead-up to next spring’s provincial election. At twelve intersections across the City of Vancouver, campaigners held banners and signs, wore red-scarves, and circulated literature describing BC’s affordability crisis and the urgent need for pro-active solutions.

As of yet, there have been no promises made by the major provincial political parties regarding affordable housing construction or rent-control.

Saturday’s action, organized by the BC Social Housing Coalition, continues the tradition of “stands for social housing” which were a common sight at intersections across B.C. before the 2009 election.

The campaign is shining a spotlight on the need for new social housing. Before 2001, there was an average of 2,000 units of social housing built in the province each year. But since that time the has number dropped precipitously, creating a sizeable social housing deficit and ballooning wait lists. The coalition is calling for a strong social housing program that can close this deficit, while prioritizing the most vulnerable populations.

The coalition is also issuing a warning about the danger facing existing affordable housing stock. Tens of thousands of non-profit and co-op units are in danger as federal subsidies expire in the coming years. The coalition is proposing a plan to deal with this looming disaster.

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Editors’ note: This is the first part of a series exploring the politics of sustainability, development and urban entrepreneurialism. The second part of this series will build on the analysis put forward by exploring specific case studies in Vancouver.

Vancouver has a complicated relationship with nature. Over the last decade sustainability discourses and city policies are increasingly mobilized to defend private development, in particular, condo mega-projects which are marketed as transit-oriented developments. Sustainability is embedded within a broader language and policy framework of urban entrepreneurialism and relentless ‘global city’ posturing. Urban sustainability is constructed as post-political, striving to avoid traditional ideological divisions between left and right…

SFU’s Teaching Support Staff Union has issued a notice that they will be kicking off more job action tomorrow. On November 7th, the TSSU stood in solidarity with members of CUPE 3338 in a 24 hour picket of Simon Fraser campuses in Downtown Vancouver, Surrey, and at Burnaby Mountain.

Other post-secondary unions had job action today. Members of the Vancouver Community College Employees Union, CUPE 4468, were on strike at both VCC campuses today. Members of the BCGEU and the BC Faculty and Staff Association held picket lines at BCIT.

Last week at UBC, CUPE 2278 members approved their contract, which gave them a 2% wage increase each year for two years retroactive from September, subtracted from which is a $50,000 fund that the union can use to give to members to cover costs related to employment. They also won some wording around hiring preferences, ensuring that PhD students are able to have employment for more of their degree. UBC had originally offered 1.5% for both years.

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