Mayor Gregor is a political opportunist, much like his competition Suzanne Anton. The difference between Gregor and Anton is that Anton doesn’t need someone to die to try and score political points, and Anton isn’t a coward.
Last night, after Ashley died in her tent, there was a press conference with the Vancouver Police Department and the Mayor. Jana MacGuiness, the spokesperson for the VPD, said the usual about how there was going to be an investigation into the death, and how the cause of death at that time wasn’t known. The Occupy Vancouver residents, who were in the scrum with the protesters, politely listened to Jana MacGuiness.
Then Gregor started with his portion of the press conference and stated that he has instructed City Staff to pursue an injunction to shut down Occupy Vancouver. This means that the earliest that the VPD can come in with an enforcement order is on Monday. Both the local Vancouver reporters and the protesters at the OccupyVancouver site rightly cited facts asking why #OccupyVancouver was different than the rest of the city, and demanded answers over the mayor’s poor record over drug abuse over his term.
The fact is that Vision Vancouver was too busy creating new bylaws for property developers in the City of Vancouver that they haven’t dealt with any of the other issues in the City of Vancouver. The bicycle lobby will rejoice over bike lanes, and Open Data people will mention that initiative, but that doesn’t mean much to a homeless person in the DTES, and there’s still huge issues with substance abuse outside my office window. The only thing Vision has done is moved it down a couple blocks.
Anyway, back to the press conference. Near the end of the press conference, people demanded that Gregor actually visit Occupy Vancouver. Gregor has claimed that he visited it numerous times, while the majority of the occupiers have refuted the lies. Then at the end of the press conference, Gregor hops into a car that’s parked in one of his precious bike lanes and drives off as people heckle him for not taking the opportunity to visit the OccupyVancouver site.
All the Mayor’s snub seems to have done is make OccupyVancouver far more defiant. Right now, so that people won’t be vulerable, people are working on building large group structures for collective sleeping so that people won’t be able to die in their tent. I honestly don’t see this going very far, since the VFD will probably intervene, but if it does, it’ll definitely offer a strange visual on Monday of the police raiding a geodesic dome.
In short, due to the most recent actions, I urge people to not vote Vision Vancouver, and instead vote for the Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver slate except for the person they endorsed from the NPA. It seems that I was wrong, and Vision is actually worse than the NPA, since the NPA are a known quantity, and while they’re evil motherfuckers, they aren’t cowards.