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Melissa Fong: DTES Local Area Plan- Speaker #5, on Amendments

We need to respect the experiential knowledge of DTES residents that understand how the plan violates their security. Not fundamentally opposed to Vision- but you have to realize reality. If you insist on the ideology of “social mix” you also have to set up the circumstances for dignity of all people- not just a veil. I wanted to make clear: 60/40 Would only be acceptable if all of the 60% was at welfare rates Microsuites in principle are okay- perhaps we need to deal with smaller living spaces; however the sizes proposed are unliveable. Some of the most dense housing (Read more…)

Melissa Fong: Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan- Summary

Like last time, I did some LiveTweeting of the evening- My strategy is to summarize the main point of all the voices; add in my OWN commentary (I can be […]

Melissa Fong: The facts on PHS scandal & following reactions of critics, boards and Jenny Kwan

…The fact is that PHS provides really important harm reduction programming that needs to be defended.

The scandal involves non-profit board members that are supposed to be working in the best interest of the DTES, not on #34KVacations.

Townshend and Small (Jenny Kwan’s ex) are implicated with irresponsible spending on administrative costs.

Any budget for programming and housing went to programming and housing, according to the audit. It is the administrative/executive budget spending that is in question.

Jenny Kwan (NDP) was NOT on the board of PHS and we can’t assume she knew about the expenses by Small. ….

Melissa Fong: Financial reform: Taking responsibility as public servants and otherwise…

Facts: I don’t hate Vision Vancouver. I’m indifferent to the overall career of Gregor Robertson. I actually like Andrea Reimer, from what I know of her. (Confession: I really like […]

The Cracked Crystal Ball II: No, Yaakov Roth, The Supreme Court of Canada Is Not Overstepping Its Boundaries

I see the Harper PMO must have found another muppet to write opinion pieces for them.  In the National Post, we find Yaakov Roth expounding on the “problems” he has with the way the Supreme Court of Canada has been ruling on such matters as safe injection sites and prostitution. The first thing I want to point out is that Mr. Yaakov Roth is not an expert on Canadian Constitutional Law – he was a Legal Clerk to Antonin Scalia - an American with no particular history in Canadian law.  Further, Antonin Scalia is notoriously conservative in his opinions, and (Read more…)

knitnut.net: Seamy Underbelly, Part II

Visiting the Downtown Eastside (DTES) has churned up some contradictions for me, and resolving those contradictions requires re-thinking some questions I thought I already knew the answers to:

1) To what extent do people choose to live in the DTES, and to what extent are they stuck there?

2) Does the DTES community strengthen its residents or weaken them? Does it help mitigate the impact of addiction and poverty, or does it help perpetuate addiction and poverty?

I don’t know. Maybe they choose it and are stuck there. Maybe they are both strengthened and weakened by it. Maybe it mitigates (Read more…)

knitnut.net: My visit to the seamy underbelly

At the harbour, outside my hotel

So…I went to Vancouver for a whirlwind business trip. I arrived Wednesday afternoon and left Friday morning. I was working most of the time, but I did have two more-or-less free evenings, so I did what I could to cram Vancouver in.

I hadn’t been there in 30-odd years, and Vancouver and I have both changed a lot. Back then, I used to hitchhike and my idea of luxury was to check into a youth hostel for the night. This time I was on a business trip, staying in a fancy-pants hotel and experiencing

. . . → Read More: knitnut.net: My visit to the seamy underbelly

The Equivocator: The 2012 “You Go Girl!” Awards. Presented by: The Equivocator

Context: I don’t like to think of this blog as existing in a vacuum. You may not be aware of it but I am also an avid user of the twitter and the facebook (my twitter feed is there on the right side of my blog btw.) On twitter (you can follow me at @Uranowski) whenever I notice someone being awesome I like to give them a “You go girl!” It is a friendly, 1990sesque way to acknowledge a job well done. Anyone, man, woman, child, or particularly heroic animal, can receive one. However, last year, I (Read more…)

David Climenhaga's Alberta Diary: Today’s anniversary of a year of Tory rule in Ottawa: it just doesn’t get any better than this!

Contemplating the thought of three more years of Stephen Harper. Below: Mr. Harper himself.

Tory times, as the old saying goes, are terrible times. So it should surprise no one that as we mark the first anniversary of Stephen Harper’s majority victory today, the country is increasingly polarized, students are in the streets of Quebec where separatism is again rearing its head, and mean-spirited pink slips are being handed out right and left to public employees accompanied by the pitiless rah-rahs of the Online Tory Rage Machine, parts of which apparently operate out of the United States.Here in Edmonton

. . . → Read More: David Climenhaga’s Alberta Diary: Today’s anniversary of a year of Tory rule in Ottawa: it just doesn’t get any better than this!

knitnut.net: Safe injection sites: Treating people with addictions like they matter

Last October, the Supreme Court ruled that Insite, Vancouver’s safe injection site, could stay open despite the Harper Government’s objections. The arguments hinged on whether addiction was primarily a health issue or a crime issue. If it were a health matter it would fall under provincial jurisdiction; if it were a criminal code issue, it would fall under federal jurisdiction.

When the Supreme Court ruled (unanimously) that Insite could remain open because of the rights of addicts to accessible health care, it opened the door to the possibility of safe injection sites opening in other Canadian cities.

For those of

. . . → Read More: knitnut.net: Safe injection sites: Treating people with addictions like they matter

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Murtaza Hussain nicely sums up why we should be pushing for businesses and wealthy individuals to contribute their fair share through a progressive tax system rather than through self-aggrandizing charity: The private social safety net, provided by corporate donors as compensation for the public one which their tax avoidance helps shred, is a poor substitute for democratically accountable public spending. Besides being poorer, free of public oversight, and geared primarily towards public relations efforts, the private safety net is a rug that can and will be pulled out from under its beneficiaries at

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Afternoon Links

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- The Star makes the case for Canada’s wealthiest citizens to pay their fair share: Apart from their hefty pay packets, the top-earning CEOs are sitting on $2 billion in stock options that are treated as dividend income, and taxed at half the value. That’s a tax break worth $475 million, the centre calculates. Arguably, for those who need it least.

These numbers aren’t just about whipping up raw envy. They reflect public policy choices at a time when Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is looking to chop federal spending to erase Ottawa’s $31-billion

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Art Threat: Happy Birthday Nietzche & Foucault!

There’s only a little to say about this – Michel Foucault was born October 15, 1926, and by weird coincidence, Friedrich Nietzsche was born on the same day 82 years earlier- October 15, 1844. Big thinkers in the canon of Dead White Men. So what, you might be asking — and what does that have [...] . . . → Read More: Art Threat: Happy Birthday Nietzche & Foucault!

BigCityLib Strikes Back: Lets just Call Bullshit Now, Shall We?

 Mama Kay cites a study sponsored by …the Drug Prevention Network of Canada and Real Women of Canada……to challenge research in The Lancet which purported to demonstrate that the Insite Clinic in Vancouver saves lives.  Th… . . . → Read More: BigCityLib Strikes Back: Lets just Call Bullshit Now, Shall We?

Quebec May Open Safe Injection Sites A L’Insite And Compassion Club

It would be about time and why shouldn’t we? We are, after all, a province of progress or supposed to be. After all, we opened the first Compassion club, a place, highly supervised, where sick people with the prescription from a medical professional can obtain medicinal marijuana, albeit, on the fringes of the . . . → Read More: Quebec May Open Safe Injection Sites A L’Insite And Compassion Club . . . → Read More: Quebec May Open Safe Injection Sites A L’Insite And Compassion Club

Law is Cool: Safe injection facilities and arbitrary government decisions

I often talk to friends or strangers about law. I remember a debate I had with someone once about the government. Can it make arbitrary decisions? I said yes, and he said, rather indignantly, no. His logic was that arbitrary means capricious with a tinge of tyranny. Doesn’t our democratic government respect the rule of [...] . . . → Read More: Law is Cool: Safe injection facilities and arbitrary government decisions

Montreal Simon: The Insite Victory and Kevin’s Story

I’ve written about Kevin before. The young heroin addict I found shooting up on the door step of the Yale Town apartment I was renting, while taking a summer course in Vancouver.How I felt like I was looking at somebody dying before my eyes. How h… . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: The Insite Victory and Kevin’s Story

Outasite! Supreme Court bludgeons Con ideology with reality.

One of the few benefits of not having any political power is that you get to sit back and watch the majority power fall all over its own ideology and arrogance.

Less than 40% of Canada voted for these guys. That’s not a mandate for anything other than doing . . . → Read More: Outasite! Supreme Court bludgeons Con ideology with reality. . . . → Read More: Outasite! Supreme Court bludgeons Con ideology with reality.

Outasite! Supreme Court bludgeons Con ideology with reality.

One of the few benefits of not having any political power is that you get to sit back and watch the majority power fall all over its own ideology and arrogance.Less than 40% of Canada voted for these guys. That’s not a mandate for anything other t… . . . → Read More: Outasite! Supreme Court bludgeons Con ideology with reality.

Scott's DiaTribes: The Canadian Supreme Court rejects Conservative ideology for facts.

Not only am I pleased with the Insite rulling, I’m pleased it’s unanimous, in a strong rebuke to the Conservative government, who’s been trying to close this since 2008:

A supervised needle injection site for heroin addicts in Vancouver has gotten a constitutional reprieve following a landmark ruling Friday by the country’s top court. In a decision that sharply pits the court’s view of a coherent drug strategy against the Conservative government’s, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled 9-0 that the federal government cannot refuse to extend a legal protection to addicts and clinical health workers at the InSite clinic in Vancouver’s gritty Downtown Eastside who would otherwise [...] . . . → Read More: Scott’s DiaTribes: The Canadian Supreme Court rejects Conservative ideology for facts.

Things Are Good: Insite Can Continue to Operate: Supreme Court

Insite is a safe injection site for drug users which has had proven health benefits for individuals and the community. Through their work Insite has been able to help many addicts stay safe and secure while consuming drugs, this is in stark contrast to doing drugs on the streets which is way more dangerous. In [...] . . . → Read More: Things Are Good: Insite Can Continue to Operate: Supreme Court

The Disaffected Lib: Supreme Court of Canada Backs Insite

Vancouver’s safe injection site has been saved from Harper’s attempts to shut it down.   The Supreme Court of Canada has held that not allowing the clinic to operate would violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.The Court stopped short of … . . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: Supreme Court of Canada Backs Insite

They Call Me "Mr. Sinister": Well, What Do You Know

The Supreme Court has actually told the Conservatives to take a hike. They have saved Insite and as a result, the lives of countless drug addicts. Hooray for the triumph of reason over ideology. It is unfortunate that it is such a rare occurrence. I e… . . . → Read More: They Call Me “Mr. Sinister”: Well, What Do You Know

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Assorted material for your weekend reading.- He’s a bit too shy in pointing out exactly how thoroughly the Cons’ position on the Canadian Wheat Board has been rebuked in CWB elections for ages. But Bruce Johnstone nicely describes the PR blitz designed… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Those Emergency Blues: More on Meera Bai, Faith and Nursing

I realized after I wrote yesterday about Meera Bai and her work at Insite, the Vancouver safe drug injection site, that she has both a blog called Strong Hands and a Twitter feed — @senoritabai. When I spoke to her on Twitter last night, she pointed me to an article she wrote describing her experiences [...] . . . → Read More: Those Emergency Blues: More on Meera Bai, Faith and Nursing