Vancouver protestors peacefully parade yesterday, but for what?
Posted on 13 Feb 2010 by Justin Ruckman
Yesterday arrived at the Vancouver Art Gallery around 3:30, a little after the scheduled protest at 3 was supposed to begin. We found them a block over, marching down the street: singing songs, playing drums, altogether being very peaceful about their agenda.
Their agenda is confusing for many, especially outsiders to Vancouver. While there were many things being protested yesterday, the common theme is excessive spending on Olympic venues and preparations in the cities of Whistler & Vancouver when so many other pressing social needs: arts, education, health care, etc go severely underfunded.
There’s also controversy around the current approach to dealing with the homeless, who are largely absent from the city of Vancouver right now, and even more so in the city of Whistler.
Some 156 modular housing units have been built outside the cities and many homeless have been moved to take up residence here. It’s not clear yet, to me at least, if it’s meant to be a permanent settlement, or just some kind of temporary relocation. You can imagine the human rights objections that come with such a project as this.
For all the protests around better funding for social welfare programs over funding for Olympic posturing, I can’t help but feel a little disenchanted with the whole thing. The Canadians have it made, more or less. At least comparatively.
And that’s not to trivialize their drive to want things better, to want equal rights for the perhaps unfairly treated homeless, to want more focus on internal civic issues and fair distribution of resource. And I’m sure I’m grossly oversimplifying the whole affair.
But do these protests actually contribute anything, or just cost everyone more money in the long run?
Here’s the best photos from yesterday: