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Sending out an SOS: Vancouver Rally for a National Housing Program
The Olympics have shown us what we are capable of. We have the resources and we are one of the wealthiest countries in the world. If the Olympics is about discovering that we belong to one family, then if some one of us is in pain and distress, the whole family must respond. Haiti has shown that we have the heart to care and the Olympics has shown that we have the ability. We must put these two together and do it now.”
John Richardson, from PIVOT, spoke of this being a time of great change, a turning point in human history, and a call to action for the human species. He said that what is driving this barrelling to destruction is the fear of a fundamental lack, of not enough. “We carry this driver inside us, living in survival mode, and we need to change that inside ourselves. We need to address this fear before we can plan for the future. The Iroquois Confederacy has always stated that, fundamentally, government must plan for seven generations to come.”
John said that we need to create a world where everyone has a home so we can actualize our potential and plan for the future. A home for everyone is what offers an enormous potential for change “Housing is a fundamental need before anything else, like treatment therapy, can succeed. The underclass of our society must be addressed. The Red Tent campaign aims to bring forth awareness around the lack of housing in the DTES. In France, in 2006, 200 tents were given away and, because homelessness was made so visible, it catalyzed action. The French government committed funding and stated that housing was a human right. We need the Red Tent campaign all across the country as a call for the government to act. It is not a problem to ignore anymore. When we make a choice to take care of everyone, we will find within ourselves an amazing future that will open up for the human race.”
A woman from the DTES “Power of Women” group spoke next, “We look at our people as human beings. We are just as human as white people who can’t see us because they are blinded by their wealth. We want justice now. The young people who broke the windows are not bad. They are angry because the Olympics was brought into our country, our stolen land, when they were not needed here and they bring big-time poverty with them. We will continue to fight until we get some answers.”
Libby Davis was one of the final speakers, “Here we are in the midst of glass towers and the $6 billion dollar Olympics. We are here to speak a truth: Housing is a fundamental right and must be addressed. We want to say to the visitors in our city, “Please notice what is going on. Homelessness has tripled since the Olympics bid was put in. If you are concerned, please send an e-mail to the federal, provincial, and city governments. Be one with us in solidarity saying homelessness shouldn’t exist in a wealthy country like Canada. We demand a national housing program. When we had one, people weren’t destitute on the street. We support the Red Tent and Tent City because it is important for social activism to be visible. We must also work politically and Bill C304, which calls for a national housing program, is in its second reading. We’ll fight tooth and nail to get that bill through.”
Any agent provocateurs were politely in hiding.
Please take action. Speak out now.
Homeless deaths in British Columbia
> Total deaths of homeless people between 2006 and 2008: 96
> Average age of dead homeless people: 45
> Number of males: 77
> Number of females: 19
> Deaths by accidents: 40
> Deaths by natural causes: 26
> Deaths by suicide: 7
> Homeless deaths in Vancouver: 21
> Homeless deaths in Victoria: 18
> Homeless deaths in Surrey: 6
Source: B.C. Coroners Service
WHO TO CONTACT:
PM Harper [email protected]
House of Commons
Telephone: 613-992-4211 613-992-4211 Fax: 613-941-6900
Helena Guergis Minister for Status of Women [email protected]
733 Confederation Building
House of Commons
Phone: 613-992-4224 613-992-4224 Fax: 613 992-2164
Suzanne L. Clément Deputy Head
Michael Ignatieff [email protected]
Jack Layton [email protected]
Libby Davies (NDP MP Vancouver East) [email protected]
or Find Your Member of Parliament