The following is a largely AI-generated transcript for E-799. Excuse any errors, we’re trying to catch up on these and need to sort out a workflow. Want to help make our transcripts better?
Matthew Naylor: There are 799 days until the Vancouver municipal elections. This is the Cambie report.
[00:00:37] Ian Bushfield: I’m Ian Bushfield.
[00:00:38] Tessa Vikander: I’m Tessa Vikander
[00:00:40] Ian Bushfield: We’re back it feels like it’s been a while, but it’s only really been like a month and a half, maybe two months. It’s not that much. We’re going to start producing more regular content. Thank you to everyone who continues to support the show. As Matthew would tell you, patreon.com/cambiereport.
[00:00:56] We’re so pleased to have still over a hundred people supporting the show. We’re going to keep doing content as long as it takes and as long as people keep listening.
[00:01:06]We have a lot to cover today. Let’s kick it off with one of the biggest things that’s been happening over the last couple of months, not the COVID-19 pandemic, but the, defund police black lives matter protests. And I think possibly the first way to bring this to a Vancouver context is you are following the tweets of Oscar winning animation artist Pearl Lowe, who’s not had a great recent experience here in Vancouver.
[00:01:34] Tessa Vikander: Yeah. So Pearl is in the middle of painting a mural for the Vancouver mural festival. And she checked a Twitter earlier this week to save that two days in a row. The same white man had come and harassed her at one point calling her a bitch. And what else? Like harassing her about the lift equipment that she was using?
[00:01:56] She actually posted a photo of him as well. yeah, she said that it made her cry and she just kind of spent the rest of the evening crying. Well, finishing up doing this painting and,
[00:02:08] Ian Bushfield: Tessa, why didn’t she just report this to the police?
[00:02:11] Tessa Vikander: Well, interesting question. the Vancouver police department, I responded to her tweets about this incident on Twitter and said, have you reported it to us?
[00:02:22] And she replied, it’s saying as a black woman, I don’t trust the police.
[00:02:27] Ian Bushfield: I don’t know what’s going on with the cops social media game in the last few months in responses protests, it reminds me of like Burnaby RCMP, like two weeks after the protest really kicked off. They put out their video of like, here’s our school liaisons, welcoming kids back to school in the fall, or, you know, in a couple of weeks when they went back in June and it was like cops, just some of them wearing face mass, other, you know, but still all in full body gear and just being like we’re here. And then the Burnaby school district retweeted, and everyone was like, read the room. Maybe not the best time for it.
[00:03:06] Tessa Vikander: yeah, yeah. It’s pretty clear that police departments around the world are on the offense right now in terms of social media. and I think that’s interesting to see, particularly with publicly funded organizations, it’s, it’s one thing that you kind of expect from private companies that they’re like doing damage control and everything, but then to see it from publicly funded institutions is quite something else.
[00:03:31] Ian Bushfield: Yeah, and the police do operate very differently than many other institutions. And I think we’re really getting a peak into that as the debate in Vancouver around, defending the police really kind of highlighted how no one except possibly the province really has that authority. So there was a debate back and forth about whether the city of Vancouver could just cut the police budget and they had proposed do to cope, cutting it by 1%.
[00:04:01] And they sent that to the Vancouver police board, who then just said no, because apparently they’d have that power.
[00:04:07] Tessa Vikander: Yeah. And that continues to shock me.
[00:04:10] Ian Bushfield: I guess the council could insist on it, but then it would essentially go up to the minister of public safety and solicitor general Mike farmer’s office. And he would have to decide what a reasonable budget would be. But so much of the budget is just a black box of like the police need this much money and the city goes.
[00:04:29] Okay. And so the province has announced a reform of the police act coming. we’ll have to see what the committee comes up with and what they decide to do. But I think a lot of people were surprised that council did not have more tools in its toolkit. Although, again, this is a place where, you know, Kennedy, Stewart, mayor of Vancouver is the chair of the police board.
[00:04:50] He doesn’t get a vote on the police board, but he could. Theoretically, take a stronger role in pushing for defunding the police. If that was the thing he wanted to do,
[00:05:01] Tessa Vikander: And so in the same way that, we saw where the, Vancouver city council wasn’t really able to take action or have much impact. Recently, we have seen another instance in which they are able to have an impact on the potential at least potentially have an impact on the operations of the Vancouver police.
[00:05:21] Do you wanna describe what happened there?
[00:05:23] Ian Bushfield: Yeah. So there were a couple of motions that work their way through city council. The first one’s one that’s been underway. For quite a while at the behest of groups, like the BC civil liberties association, a union of BC Indian chiefs and others to ban street checks in the city of Vancouver.
[00:05:40] Tessa Vikander: Can we pause? What’s a street check.
[00:05:43] Ian Bushfield: Check.
[00:05:44] I was just about to say, I mean, it’s when the police stopped someone who’s not under any suspicion and asked them for their ID and record that, and then. We don’t really know necessarily what they do at that. This, it seems in many other cities where they do collect racial data, disproportionately targets, racialized people, black indigenous people of color.
[00:06:11] And once you’re in the police database, you can be targeted again again and again. and it’s a way to criminalize communities and it’s not really shown anywhere as far as I know, to actually improve public safety. So it’s really just a way to. Over police already over policed communities.
[00:06:28] Tessa Vikander: Right. And so the police kind of. They use, I don’t know the excuse that like, Oh, this person was looking or acting suspicious to myself as a police officer, decided to check in on them and stop them.
[00:06:41] Ian Bushfield: Yeah. Or perhaps there was a crime in the neighborhood and they just want to collect info about the people who are around there who might be witnesses or might be involved in it. But it’s a lot of assumptions that are going into this for people who are otherwise completely innocent. So the city council finally, after quite a while, pushing this back and forth and referring it to committees, heard in late July from 34 speakers who supported this at the hearing.
[00:07:11]no one showed up who was opposed to this ban on police, street checks. And the motion was ultimately moved by Kennedy, Stewart and supported by Jean Swanson that. And it’s, you know, peak city council politics, where they will write to the police board to inform them that while counsel deeply appreciates recent efforts to reform policing services and the efforts of the VPD to quickly implement related changes council’s priority is to end the practice of street checks in Vancouver.
[00:07:39] Tessa Vikander: It’s really interesting buttering up going on there. Huh?
[00:07:42] Ian Bushfield: yeah, the politics of. Writing these council motions. So it’s not even a Vancouver ban street checks. It’s a city council asks a very, very nicely that we not do it anymore.
[00:07:54] Tessa Vikander: And do they have the power to impose that on the cops?
[00:08:00] Ian Bushfield: as far as I understand it, the city doesn’t right. The police board controls the Vancouver police within the realms of the police act. That’s set by the province. I guess this is the most they can do is ask very nicely and sternly. And they’re doing that, I guess. I mean, it’s good to see.
[00:08:18] It’s unfortunate. They don’t have the power to do more.
[00:08:21] Tessa Vikander: Okay. So maybe perhaps contrary to what I was saying. This isn’t actually another instance in which they are having success, or it’s still to be seen whether the council is going to have success on this front.
[00:08:33] Ian Bushfield: yes this seems to be the modus operandi of this council.
[00:08:37] Tessa Vikander: Got it. And what else are they doing?
[00:08:40] Ian Bushfield: And there was a second motion and this followed straight after, all the protests that called on, Vancouver police to deprioritize. policing in mental health and social issues. So this one went to hearing and there were 146 people who came and spoke for it, which is, you know, quite a few people who put their time into speaking to democratic issues.
[00:09:05]so of those 146 who spoke to the issue 144 spoke in support of it, two opposed. So it was an overwhelming support for this idea of asking the police board to spend less time, going after people for mental health issues, homelessness, drug use, sex work, and put more of that money from staff into, non police responses.
[00:09:32] Tessa Vikander: Right. And I think that this also relates to a frequent issue that people in Vancouver and perhaps across North America have where they see someone is, in, in psychological distress, is maybe a danger to themselves, maybe a dangerous to other people, you know, is like on the street and acting in very erratic ways and it’s quite uncomfortable to be around.
[00:09:56] And so you’re like, okay, well, I would like to get some support for this person. I don’t feel comfortable being on the street with them around who do I call? And it it’s always been called the police, at least from any kind of information I’ve picked up just through living in Vancouver.
[00:10:14] Ian Bushfield: I mean, the default is, you know, you call nine one one and they ask you, do you want police, fire or ambulance? And you’re like, well, nothing is on fire. no, one’s dying. So, I guess I’ll go to the other one and maybe ambulance would be a better option or actually firefighters are pretty awesome. I mean, who who’s against the firefighters.
[00:10:36] Tessa Vikander: Yes,
[00:10:37] Ian Bushfield: I mean, we can have a shift, right?
[00:10:40] Tessa Vikander: That is an instance in which the police will show up for.
[00:10:43] Ian Bushfield: Yeah. And we’ve seen the results of that in the number of wellness checks gone. horrific in recent months and historically where police are called to check in on someone who’s not committing any crimes. And then that person later ends up dead either directly at police hands, through a shooting or some other incident like that.
[00:11:06] Or there’ve been a few where people have mysteriously fallen off their balconies after the police showed up.
[00:11:12] Tessa Vikander: Yeah, sorry. I, Grew up in a very large house in Kitsilano. My mum was the owner of the house and we rented out all of these tiny little bachelor suites in the upstairs of the house. And there were times there was one time when one of the tenants was, like being quite violent and loud and was like having some mental health issues clearly.
[00:11:36] And the only thing that we could do in order to get support was to call the police. The police came to our house and they wanted my mom to let them go upstairs and talk to her. And my mom had to stand her ground and just say, I don’t think, think that four armed police officers going out to talk to this woman who’s in psychological distress is going to be what helps her or what deescalates the situation.
[00:11:58] And I remember being there and they it’s like, they almost arrested my mom because they, she was in their way. I was doing their job anyway. She eventually talked them down and, you know, I don’t remember the end of the story, but it was a really intense situation to see, the potential impact that those cops showing up for this wellness check could have had.
[00:12:16] Ian Bushfield: Definitely. So this motion from council ultimately asks the police board to itemize all of the work that they’re doing on all of these different.
[00:12:25] Tessa Vikander: What does it mean to itemize?
[00:12:28] Ian Bushfield: So right now the police budget is very, succinct. It doesn’t actually break down what the cops are spending all their money doing.
[00:12:36] So the council wants to see the money spent on, responding to mental health, homelessness, sex work issues, the number of tickets being issued for enforcing bylaws related to that and the cost of enforcement.
[00:12:48] Tessa Vikander: And they’re also looking for input from black lives matter. Wish DCC LA Hogan’s alley society.
[00:12:56] Ian Bushfield: And a whole host of other groups representing, indigenous peoples harm reduction groups, justice groups. And they say people with lived experience equity seeking and other community groups, as well as, People who specialize and work on the front lines of many of these issues and ask how the city could support future harm reduction and safety services.
[00:13:19] Ostensibly outside policing. Yeah. this was an interesting bullet in the motion because, because of this one, counselor, Michael Wiebe had to recuse himself for part of it. Cause I guess his mother sits on the board of one of those organizations. So he was in a special conflict of interest with just like a fraction of it. So procedurally, they had to like break this motion up and pass it mostly with weep, but then that one without, he wasn’t the only one who recused himself. Melissa De Genova and Sarah Kirby Yung from the NPA. Also both had to recuse themselves for this entire debate because I believe both of them are married to cops. so any motion that would call for changes to the police budget could affect. Directly there, you know, family’s livelihood.
[00:14:04] The motion goes on to ask for a staff report on how to timeline and budget to deprioritize policing, and bring forward response to mental health, sex work, homelessness, and substance use, and focus that through community led groups, nonprofits, et cetera. And then there’s, you know, a few other points that refer to writing to the provinces police act and to get this all done within the next several months, by the end of the year.
[00:14:32] Tessa Vikander: Right. And it’s quite remarkable to see the city moving on these. Items, because these are things that advocacy groups have been asking for for years, like basically through my entire adulthood. and I, you know, I’m, I’m really hoping that this goes somewhere. You know what I mean? I hope that it’s not just lip service.
[00:14:53] I hope that it doesn’t just end up in a pile of, we tried that and it didn’t work. You know what I mean?
[00:14:59] Ian Bushfield: Totally. Yeah, it’s difficult because the activist demands of defund, the police were never going to be met quickly. the, you know, as I described the way police are funded and controlled in BC means that. Even if council was a hundred percent on board, they couldn’t have done it over again. Right. this seems to pave the path to asking the tough questions and getting some details that could be used for future advocacy and pushing a, what was impressive is both of these motions.
[00:15:28] We just talked it’s about passed unanimously. I mean, with various, recusals and people who abstained, but you know, the NPA agreed that these were reasonable approaches to take the. left parties all agreed. So some unanimity among our council was nice to see.
[00:15:46] Tessa Vikander: so in a motion, that’s coming down the pipes from Lisa Dominato and I believe exclusive on this because she is away on vacation and messaged me today a little bit about this upcoming motion that she has. so it’s still in the works, but she is looking, to create a provincial, federal and municipal taskforce on mental health and addiction with a mandate to review the current service delivery and outreach framework, including the interdependencies and coordination between our different levels of government.
[00:16:18] So, you know, she doesn’t say it directly in her messages to me, but it seems that she’s building off of, this prior work around, yeah. Addressing mental health needs within the city and the province and part of her interest in having a coordinated approach to this is, having seen how effective.
[00:16:39] Our responses to COVID-19 have been when we’ve had municipal, provincial and federal governments working really closely together. so, you know, it’s proven that they can do that when it’s needed. And so she’s saying, okay, we need to do this for mental health work.
[00:16:54] Ian Bushfield: Yeah, we’ve been in a public health emergency. See for overdose crisis for several years, for the last couple of months, we’ve seen record breaking numbers of people dying each month as kind of the dual crises undid a lot of the work that seemed to be turning things around up until, you know, February of this year.
[00:17:17] So the social distancing, all these other things combined with the underlying systemic issues have just made it. So much harder to keep up with this. And, you know, the province has made some steps to provide safe supply and things like this and has worked a bit with the city, but it seems like it’s just not been effective or in the right, you know, or not enough.
[00:17:39] Tessa Vikander: It clearly has. It’s clearly not enough. And it clearly hasn’t been, effective because it’s been absolutely horrific. These increases in overdose deaths. Like, can you imagine, think of how traumatized people are by COVID-19. And then imagine also being in a community where you’ve already been living through an overdose crisis for many years, and then it gets worse as, at the same time that COVID-19 restrictions come in.
[00:18:05] Like that is, that is the absolute nightmare. Like COVID-19 yes, it’s a nightmare. But can you imagine also being impacted by this overdose crisis and it getting worse?
[00:18:15] Ian Bushfield: And it’s so tough, right? I’ve been keeping up with Garth Mullins podcast, crack down. Where they’re documenting this from the front lines. And each episode is very heavy, right? Because you’re hearing directly from these voices. The latest one talked about the evictions from Oppenheimer park that happened a couple months ago and how the tent city there, the province did manage to create housing by buying up hotels for most of these people.
[00:18:45] But for some people there’s such deep. And warranted distrust of provincial or government interventions that they didn’t want to stay there. So they moved to crab park and then they were evicted from there. And now they’re in Strathcona park where local residents are upset
[00:19:03] Tessa Vikander: Well, some local residents. We don’t know if
[00:19:05] Ian Bushfield: yeah.
[00:19:05] Tessa Vikander: is. I do know that, the Cottonwood community garden, at least when the tent city first came in, actually was inviting the. Campers to like collect wood from their scrap wood pile for the sacred fire.
[00:19:20] Ian Bushfield: That’s a really good story.
[00:19:21] Tessa Vikander: Yeah, it’s really neat. It was really neat to see how they were responding in such a positive light.
[00:19:26] And they had even established a kind of protocol for how to interact with the community in a positive way. And they sent this out on their listserv or something. I don’t remember how I saw this letter that they had written. And then at the same time, the Strathcona Residents Association was saying, we understand that there’s a need for this, but we don’t want this in our backyard.
[00:19:46] Ian Bushfield: Yeah, and they didn’t formally endorse it, but they definitely spoke to the concerns of a subset of residents who threatened a tax strike, where they would refuse to pay their property taxes until the province and city did something about the tents, which is like, I get that Strathcona is one of the poorest neighborhoods, you know, postal codes in Canada.
[00:20:09] So many of the residents there aren’t, even though they’re housed, aren’t super well off and have. We’re personnel limited incomes and all of this, but it struck me as just insensitive to talk about not paying your property taxes, because you feel grumpy that people have it worse off than you, and they’re not being treated worse.
[00:20:31] Tessa Vikander: and I actually, I garden near there and, you know, it’s interesting because it is such a large park. It is so big. It is a huge park. And when that tent city went in, it was almost as if like there was so much park left around that tent city area that I was kind of like, well, this seems like a good park if you’re to choose any park in Vancouver.
[00:20:53] Ian Bushfield: Yeah, it’s not the same as Oppenheimer
[00:20:56] Tessa Vikander: It’s all the same as often. Absolutely. I have seen though that the intensity is like encroach, is it, you know, it’s getting bigger and it’s encroaching outside of the area that had it had initially said that it was going to be kind of, you know, taking up. and I was talking to a friend of mine that was kind of like, yeah, it doesn’t seem like they’re in anyone’s way.
[00:21:12] And she was like, Oh, actually that’s the soccer field that I like, my games were normally on. so yeah. you know, I wasn’t entirely right about that, but, I guess we’re not really having soccer games right now. Anyway.
[00:21:22] Ian Bushfield: Yeah. It’s like, it’s a really tough situation, on the latest episode of crack down, they talked to some of the people who were being evicted from Oppenheimer at the time. And there are definitely a lot of people who don’t want to be in those situations, in those tents. And it’s just a matter of it’s the only place they can really be.
[00:21:41]and so the province thankfully is doing quite a bit. In terms of buying up hotels and trying to create housing, it’s still clearly not enough, but at the same time, there are also other people who, you know, legitimately, like I said, don’t trust the state. And if they’ve been given the opportunity to move into these places, sometimes that doesn’t work because it strips them from the community.
[00:22:05] They built the neighborhood supports. there’s a lot to be said for. You know, being around people, you know, and trust and being shipped to a hotel room on Granville street, when you’re used to being in a different part of town where, you know, different people, it’s, it doesn’t work. Right. So these aren’t simple situations.
[00:22:25] And I dunno, can we hopefully invoke a bit of dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice to just try to be kind as much as we can.
[00:22:33] Tessa Vikander: Agreed.
[00:22:34] Okay. Moving to a now slightly more uplifting topic. Vancouver has approved a pilot project to allow outdoor drinking at select city plazas because as we know, no one drinks at any other parks or areas in Vancouver, but you know that aren’t restaurants like no one drinks outside, which is a total lie.
[00:22:56] Ian Bushfield: Well, this is a very good thing
[00:22:59] Tessa Vikander: It’s a start.
[00:23:01] Ian Bushfield: well, and it, and it’s a good thing because there’s a huge racial element to who can safely drink illegally, frankly. Like I can probably get away with having a beer at kit’s beach and no one’s gonna say anything, but you know, I, I talked to Stephanie Allen for my other show, PolitiCoast, and she talked about how her and her friends.
[00:23:22] We’ll never drink where it’s not allowed because they are afraid of the police and they’re afraid of being harassed and they know it will happen. So taking some of these rules away is as important as the discussion around funding issues.
[00:23:37] Tessa Vikander: Right. And I think for me, what’s what is the kind of, the point of incredulity and laughter is the fact that it’s just happening at four select city plasmas.
[00:23:48] Ian Bushfield: Oh, my God. It’s so bad. I mean, council is doing better than the park board that can’t even like, decide if they want to consider doing this. And so for plazas is a step, a credit to credit to the city of North van who did permit it in nine parks a month before Vancouver.
[00:24:08] yeah, it was a smaller story because city of North Van’s a smaller community, but yeah, they, I think were one of the first communities to lead the way.
[00:24:16] I think the article I’ll link to in the show notes also mentioned, I guess, Penticton tried it for a month. It’s not clear if they’re still ongoing, but. I don’t know. I feel like if you’re in the Okanagan, you’re just sitting at a winery drinking anyway, although that’s a pretty privileged thing to say,
[00:24:31] Tessa Vikander: Well, I was in the Okanagan recently and I was sitting on an inner tube, floating down a tiny little river.
[00:24:37] Ian Bushfield: With a beer?
[00:24:38] Tessa Vikander: no, not with a beer, but some of the people I was with had beers. Yep.
[00:24:42] Ian Bushfield: So the. Pilot project starts Monday, August 10th, and we’ll run until October. The four plazas are the šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ square. Tried to get the pronunciation. I have not practiced it enough. That’s the renamed Vancouver art gallery North Plaza square a lot 19 at 900 Cordova street. the Bute-Robson Plaza, that’s at 800 Bute and a temporary pop-up Plaza that’s at Cambie and West 17th Avenue. So three fairly downtown
[00:25:16] Tessa Vikander: Lot 19 at 900 Cordova street. What’s that?
[00:25:20] Ian Bushfield: I don’t actually know exactly where that one is…
[00:25:25] Tessa Vikander: Lot 19 and 900 Cordova Street, that is downtown.
[00:25:30] Ian Bushfield: It’s right beside the Vancouver club. It’s at the end of Hornby street between Hastings and Cordova where Hornby street would go through,
[00:25:39] Tessa Vikander: Yes, near the tourism Vancouver visitor center.
[00:25:45] Ian Bushfield: Yeah.
[00:25:46] So, yeah. Right downtown.
[00:25:47] Tessa Vikander: those of us who don’t know it, we’ll know it soon.
[00:25:50] Ian Bushfield: And I guess each of these has been, discussed with the local business improvement associations. Each has fairly close access to food and other options. So these will be good opportunities for people to do some socially distance visits with some beers or wines or whatever else you choose to bring.
[00:26:09] You’re only going to be able to drink between 11 or noon depending on the square. And it will close at 9:00 PM. I guess to stop overnight partying in these plazas
[00:26:19] Tessa Vikander: Wine.
[00:26:20] Okay. I thought you were just casually mentioning cocaine use and these areas. And I was like, okay,
[00:26:24 ] Ian Bushfield: not quite there yet
[00:26:26] Tessa Vikander: someday we’ll decriminalize hard drugs.
[00:26:30] Ian Bushfield: someday, but if you’re taking transit to these plazas as of August 24th, you will be required to wear a mask. As TransLink has announced its new policy.
[00:26:41] Tessa Vikander: What do you think about that, Ian?
[00:26:43] Ian Bushfield: Oh, it’s one I’ve gone back and forth on. I think everyone should be wearing a mask while on transit. I am a bit personally skeptical of you know, creating rules and mandating it because of the challenges that enforcement of anything creates.
[00:27:01] Tessa Vikander: because we know that armed police officers, the transit police will be able to enforce that rule.
[00:27:08] Ian Bushfield: yes. Now we’re being told that the initial focus is going to be on awareness and education. and I think that is the right way to approach it. I, you know, I don’t think this is something that we put on bus drivers because it’s not in their job description to be confronting passengers who don’t follow every rule to the letter.
[00:27:25] Tessa Vikander: Right. Like that would, yeah, they have a hard enough job as is.
[00:27:29] Ian Bushfield: And there is a nice exemption for people who have a disability or medical condition that makes it either difficult to put on a mask or, some irritation or breathing issue. they will have to go and get a specific exemption card. So you can’t just wear a sign that says I’m an asshole who doesn’t want to wear a mask.
[00:27:47] And it’s because I’m disabled. Like we’ve seen in the States. I think
[00:27:51] Tessa Vikander: Oh, is that what
[00:27:53] Ian Bushfield: some people are making
[00:27:54] Tessa Vikander: pretending that they’re disabled.
[00:27:57] Ian Bushfield: Yeah. Because it’s 2020, and everything can go bad.
[00:28:02] Tessa Vikander: It is so exhausting. You know, I’m, I’m glad, that masks are going to be required on TransLink. I understand that there are enforcement issues. I hope that by saying that it is a requirement that more people start wearing masks on transit because. Okay. I have not been traveling on transit since the pandemic.
[00:28:23] I’ve been very lucky to have a, a vehicle that I’ve been able to use. but I’ve been sitting on Twitter from folks that, you know, they’re the only person on the bus with a mask on. And that really worries me.
[00:28:35] Ian Bushfield: The one thing that gives me some hope or at least. Makes me less worried is I’ve tried to look around for some of the science and evidence. And as hard as I can tell transmission on transit is rare. And as far as we know, it’s not really happened in BC. Now, transit use went way down. So perhaps it was just a lack of opportunity for the virus to spread.
[00:28:59] Tessa Vikander: I feel like there are probably 50 people in this province who would ever think to go and look about whether COVID-19 spreads, spreads on transit specifically.
[00:29:10] Ian Bushfield: Yeah, I like the data. So like where this virus spreads right is parties, is when you’re in a close quarters, indoor place with other people who are infected for long periods of time. That’s why parties are bad. That’s why offices can be bad. That’s why I’m really nervous about schools. But as far as we’ve seen, and there’s been some studies on this, that transit isn’t that risky, but you know, if this helps encourage more widespread mask use so that when we are required to be in close quarters, people use that overall. It’ll hopefully be a good thing.
[00:29:47] Tessa Vikander: Yeah. And it would certainly make me more likely to choose transit as an option, knowing that it’s mandatory.
[00:29:55]Ian Bushfield: One place where transit options are being continually debated though is in Stanley park where the park board had restricted vehicle access. They’d said, no cars can go around the roads as of April 8th. And then on June 23rd, they allowed one lane of traffic to return with a dedicated bike lane remaining.
[00:30:15] And yet there’s been a consistent undercurrent of people who are very mad about this and who want. Cars to fully return to Stanley park, including the people who own the tea house out there who did a quote unquote observational study to find that the park board’s estimates of 10 to 11,000 cyclists using this by claim was too ambitious and really only 6,400 did and therefore full vehicle access should be restored.
[00:30:43] Tessa Vikander: I feel like 6,400 cyclists in one day is a lot.
[00:30:47] Ian Bushfield: It feels pretty good. Like considering a lot of people are still staying home.
[00:30:51] Tessa Vikander: The 6,400 cars go through.
[00:30:54] Probably not.
[00:30:55] Ian Bushfield: Probably there’s a lot of traffic because people cut through there to try to avoid where they should be driving. Some of these people have launched a petition. I think this actually started by David fine out of the VanPoli Facebook group. And they’ve gotten 27,000 signatures of people who want the park board to open the roads to cars.
[00:31:15] Tessa Vikander: Some really passionate vehicle drivers.
[00:31:18] Ian Bushfield: What I’ll give credit to is the Vancouver Humane Society who, points out that. You know, they’ve had a long, beef with the horse carriage writers who go around on there because they don’t believe horses should be used in this way, which is, you know, a reasonable bull position. I don’t know if I a hundred percent agree that it’s the animal abuse they claim, but I’m willing to hear them out.
[00:31:40] They do point out that the current situation is creating additional conflicts between cars, bikes, and horses who are sharing this road. But they’re not eager to see it go back to the old way either. Their solution is to get rid of the horses or to let the horses free.
[00:31:57] Yeah. So it’ll be interesting to see, as you know, as I mentioned earlier, park, board’s not been the most responsive agency. It was nice that they were able to close this, I think, but pressure is mounting on them to reopen it and just go back to normal, even though I think like if you’ve ever walked the Stanley park, seawall the psych or biked it, like.
[00:32:19] The number of conflicts on that path are high. And so giving cyclists a bit more space, I think it was a big win for the city.
[00:32:27] Tessa Vikander: I totally agree. I’ve I haven’t biked it in years because it is so busy.
[00:32:31] Ian Bushfield: It’s a thing you do once.
[00:32:33] Tessa Vikander: Right? The thing you do once when someone is in town,
[00:32:36] Ian Bushfield: Yeah, totally.
[00:32:38] Tessa Vikander: which, which says something because you and I both have been, or are bike commuters.
[00:32:44] Ian Bushfield: Yeah. I mean, the seawall doesn’t take you anywhere other than around, or I guess to North van, but it’s not the most direct route.
[00:32:53] Tessa Vikander: Yeah. Fair enough. All right. What else we got on our schedule here today, Ian.
[00:32:59] Ian Bushfield: Well, I think we’ll close it off as a slightly shorter episode. And we’ll bring Matthew back after some technical difficulties next week to discuss a few other stories, but let’s close off with the Vancouveratta and I wanted to talk about gassy Jack since the wave of protests have put him back in the spotlight.
[00:33:17] As his statue in gas town has been splattered with paint. A number of times, and people have really started to. Rethink and question his legacy. So Tessa, how much do you know about gassy Jack? The namesake of gas town?
[00:33:32] Tessa Vikander: I know very little and, all that comes to mind is a man who farts.
[00:33:37] Ian Bushfield: the, the name gassy is just because he apparently liked to talk. He was just a big talker and gossiper and boost salesman.
[00:33:45] Tessa Vikander: That’s so
[00:33:46] Ian Bushfield: Now. Yeah, it’s not even that exciting.
[00:33:49] So Jack Deighton was according to this recent piece in the Tyee, a failed minor, or respected steam boat, captain, and a backwater pioneer who made the place famous gas town for balancing a board above the muck between two whiskey barrels and staking his claim with a supply of cheap booze,
[00:34:06] Essentially, he was a settler to British Columbia in the late 19th century. And like it said, try to get his start gold mining failed at that. He ran a Steamboat for a while between new West. And I think further up the Fraser Valley, started a pub there. I think it failed. And then he moved to gas town where he started his more famous pub and just basically supplied the laborers with cheap alcohol and was famous for chatting it up. And so people like to venerate him as the kind of like open-minded spirit of Vancouver in the early days who tried a bunch of different things and made his own way. but has a little bit more controversy to him.
[00:34:49] Tessa Vikander: The backstory is…
[00:34:50] Yeah. So he was married twice, his first wife, not much is known about her.
[00:34:57] But his second wife, which his age was about 39 or 40 was a 12 year old Squamish girl named Quahail-ya who lived on until she was about 90. So he basically had married one Squamish woman. she passed away, I believe after having the first child with him. And then he married a child and then she was kind of forgotten by mainstream history. Well, the coast Salish people and the Squamish people specifically kept Quahail-ya’s memory alive well into the 20th century where she was still alive and kept her story alive of actually gassy. Jack had this thing where he married a child.
[00:35:40] Tessa Vikander: So we have a statue celebrating a pedophile.
[00:35:44] Ian Bushfield: Yeah.
[00:35:45] Tessa Vikander: Yikes.
[00:35:46] Ian Bushfield: So
[00:35:47] Tessa Vikander: Time to move on Vancouver.
[00:35:50] Ian Bushfield: Yeah, reasonably, some people are calling for the statute to be replaced with, let’s say something more, worthy of veneration. And maybe we can remember Gassy Jack’s memory in something less, distinguished.
[00:36:08] Tessa Vikander: right. Like a page in a textbook or a small plaque ed in obscure museum.
[00:36:16] Ian Bushfield: Yeah, the city of Vancouver has said that they are consulting with the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations, matriarchs, and urban indigenous leaders to understand and coordinate dialogues regarding the future of gassy Jack and the statue there. I guess it will be seen whether his statute comes down.
[00:36:36] Or continues to be a source of conflict, I guess, but we’ll put this longer link to this long Tyee piece in the show notes, a big shout out to Megan Stewart who wrote this. It’s a really good and thorough piece looking at, not just gassy Jack, but just the difficulties of statutes. And I know if we had Matthew on, he would defend, he loves statues, even when they’re problematic.
[00:37:01] Tessa Vikander: It’s a good
[00:37:05] Ian Bushfield: We’ll leave it here. Gassy Jack, the namesake of gas town. yeah, pedophile
[00:37:10] Tessa Vikander: way to end the show.
[00:37:12] Ian Bushfield: as mentioned. We’ll be back very soon and continuing through the summer through the fall and onwards. Keep the show going at patrion.com/cambia report. I’m Ian Bushfield
[00:37:23] Tessa Vikander: And I’m Tessa Vikander