Vancouver’s Ongoing Crisis Takes a Dark Turn
Last December, StepUP warned Vancouver and other Canadian cities sit at the precipice of serious economic and social decline due to a series of corrosive policies. After years of property tax increases far above the rate of inflation, businesses and residents are struggling to stay afloat. Covid appears to have further accelerated the flight of people and businesses out of Vancouver. Meanwhile, Staff and Council are pursuing ideologically driven projects like mandatory citywide parking permits at the worst possible time.
The news gets worse though, Vancouver’s crisis has taken a darker turn. We were deeply saddened to learn of the death of 78 year old Usha Singh who was badly beaten during a heinous home invasion murder. Thankfully, police acted quickly to address the public safety threat arresting one suspect in a trailer near Main St and Terminal Ave and the other close to Strathcona Park.
It would be nice to call this heinous crime a one off or characterize it as an unforeseeable event. However, given our municipal and provincial government's failure to address “violent predators” seeking refuge in illegal public park encampments this tragedy hardly seems unforeseeable. Just this past December, Councillor Christine Boyle introduced a motion ensuring the Vancouver Police Department had 70 fewer police officers, notably, Mayor Kennedy Stewart and the following Councillors supported underfunding the police.
Green Councillor Pete Fry
Green Councillor Michael Wiebe
Green Councillor Adrienne Carr
COPE Councillor Jean Swanson
One City Councillor Christine Boyle
Opposing Boyle's motion to underfund the police were Councillor's Hardwick, Dominato, and Bligh with DeGenova and Kirby-Yung recusing themselves from the vote.
During one of the arrests, police encountered a “volatile and hostile” crowd at Strathcona park and were forced to call for backup. Sgt Steve Addison reported, “They had to use tactics that we use in riots, like forming lines of police officers to keep the crowd back”. Despite being contextually inappropriate in Canada, an American style “defund the police” movement appears to have gained traction here.
Unfortunately, local media coverage is contributing to the problem with a slanted presentation of the issue. The editorial bias layered into the Vancouver Sun article with respect to both word choice and content is stark. The Sun's content bias is demonstrated in their decision to seek comment from recently arrested activist Chrissy Brett, their word choice bias is seen in the labeling of illegal campers as “residents”. Google describes “resident” as “a person who lives somewhere permanently or on a long-term basis". It is neither appropriate nor accurate to describe illegal temporary campers as "residents".
Moving forward, Vancouver faces a trifecta of issues as radical activists control the narrative on economic and social issues, the media is amplifying their messaging, and weak kneed politicians are caving to their demands.
StepUp will continue to push back on behalf of residents and businesses, please share our petition widely, post to social media channels, and consider a small monthly contribution to help us continue to work our work on your behalf.
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