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July 15, 2009


Longing For Light

Longing For Light

"Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?" a thoughtful person asked at a gathering of people telling Downtown Eastside stories. (1) How many times have we asked ourselves that question, "Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?" Are we getting anywhere with our work, or are things just as bad as ever? Is gentrification crushing the low income community of the Downtown Eastside in spite of all our efforts? Will Insite be destroyed by people who are unable to understand the extensive research on harm reduction? Is the light at the end of the tunnel really a train coming right at us? Sometimes we are overwhelmed with sorrow, although we want justice to prevail.

  We work to make our community a better place, not a perfect place, but a better place. If we look for immediate results in this work, we are in danger of falling into despair. Society doesn’t change quickly, and our commitment is for the long haul.

 Thomas Merton was a Trappist monk, a peace activist, and a writer. A friend of his was falling into despair because he couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel. Merton wrote to his friend, saying, "Do not depend on the hope of results...you may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all... As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on...the rightness, the truth of the work itself....in the end, it is the reality of personal relationships that saves everything."

  A good example of a determined commitment to the rightness of a cause, is the five hundred year old resistance movement of First Nations people against injustice. This inspiring struggle will continue from one generation to another until justice is done. Leonard Peltier of the Anishinabe and Lakota Nations has been unjustly imprisoned for over thirty years, yet he does not despair. He wrote in his book Prison Writings - My Life Is My Sun Dance, "Never cease in the fight for peace, justice and equality for all people," and "I know that without compassion and respect for all of Earth's inhabitants, none of us will survive - nor will we deserve to." Leonard Peltier has turned his life into a prayer, and he wrote, "No prison bars can stop a prayer."

A wise Inuit poem recognizes our longing for light. The poem goes like this:

"In the eternal darkness

  the crow

  unable to find food

  longed for light

  and the earth was illumined."

  This poem is telling us that the light is not at the end of the tunnel. The poem says that light arises out of our longing. It is within us, but we need silence and full attention in order to see it. When asked what he taught his children, the Lakota Chief Standing Bear replied, "They were taught...to look when there was apparently nothing to see, and to listen intently when all seemingly was quiet." (2) People who follow that path will see the light.


                                                Sandy Cameron

(1) Eastside Stories - The People, The Voices; sponsored by the Vancouver Moving Theatre, the Radha Yoga and Eatery, and the Carnegie Community Centre.

(2) American Indian Prose and Poetry: An Anthology edited by Margot Astrov, Capricorn Books, 1962, page 39.


This is my story –

This is my story –

  I was born in North Battleford on March 6, 1944. I am Cree, French, Irish and Scottish. My name is Marlene June Wuttunce.

  I broke my hip and was living in the Brandiz Hotel. On October 26, 2007 I went to Pigeon Park to see my friends. I wasn’t there long when the wagon came. There were two Caucasian policemen. They were arresting people. One of [those arrested] was my friend David De Kocher.

  I was in a wheelchair because of my hip and was on my way back to my room. One cop said, “Where do you think you’re going?”

  I said, “Back to the Brandiz.”

  He said, “You’re not going anywhere.” He picked me up from the wheelchair and threw me on the ground. I was on my stomach. He grabbed my left arm, his black foot was on my back, and he twisted my arm violently. The paiu was excruciating pain.

He didn’t say I was under arrest. He put me in the wagon.

  In the morning I went home in the Safe Ride. I went to St. Paul’s and got Tylenol 3 for the pain. Went back got robbed. Second time to St.Paul’s got Tylenol 3 with morphine. Went back got robbed. 3rd time went to General Hospital & operation. There’s a rod from my elbow to shoulder plate on shoulder 18 staples & scar on back. Bone completely crushed.

  I went to Central City Lodge on November 9, 2007 and a care aid had to feed me for six months because my arm was in excruciating pain. Only then could I feed myself.

  I am suing the V.P.D. for $25,000, naming Constable Steverding (#2387) and Constable Brown (#1768) as the police present when I was attacked.


Lost In Pain

Lost In Pain

Lost in pain, crying in unmarred pride

Robbers stole your childhood away

Stealers of babies – dying to make you pay

They enshackled your culture and dis-spirited you away

Invaders of your wee heart, them crazed other people tore you apart in their makeshift death camps.

Your lonely spirit cried in vain

Pleading for mercy left on deaf ears

But I myself can still hear your angels sing

Songs for a new destiny’s circle of life

You knew well where you righteously belonged

Yet in the hands of them denominations of cruelty

They done you harm.. they done you wrong

Fearful child, crying angelic eyes –taught to lie

Fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers – stay strong

For mine lost soul will forever live in your faint hearts

               -please don’t cry

I’m not endlessly lost in pain, i’ll come again

Falling like raindrops dancing on mother earth

Waiting for a new life – waiting for a new birth

Mine ancestors told me where I belong

I belonged in the longhouse singing my spirit song

Grizzly bear -grizzly bear- yes! My grizzly bear song

Lost in pain? Lost in pain?  No way

My spirit will forever keep me strong.

                         All my relations,

                                      William Arnold Combes


News from the Library

News from the Library

  Have you checked out our Reference Self-Help section yet?

  These are books which tend to go missing pretty quickly from the regular library collection, and are now available to look at in the library. Latest additions to the collection include: The Secret by Rhonda Byrne (158.1), Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey Out of Depression, by James S. Gordon (616.85), and The Soulmate Secret: Manifest the Love of Your Life with the Law of Attraction (158.2).

  While observing a family group of elephants in the wild, Caitlin O’Connell, a young field scientist, noticed a matriarch elephant turn her head and lift her foot off the ground. As she did this, the other elephants in the group followed suit, all facing the same direction. O’Connell soon discovered that these elephants were “listening through limbs”, using their feet, toenails and trunks to listen to the earth and communicate with each other. Find out more about the fascinating world of the elephant in The Elephant’s Secret Sense: The Hidden Life of the Wild Herds of Africa (599.67).

  On October 25, 1946, in a crowded room in Cambridge, England, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Karl Popper came face-to-face for the first and only time. The encounter lasted just ten minutes, and did not go well. Their loud and aggressive confrontation became the stuff of instant legend, with rumours that the two philosophers had come to blows, armed with red-hot pokers. In Wittgenstein’s Poker (193), David Edmonds and John Eidinow use the legendary meeting as a jumping off point to explore the two philosophers, modern philosophy, and the significance of language in solving our philosophical problems.

  Music can move us to the heights or depths of emotion. It can persuade us to buy something, or remind us of our first date. It can lift us out of depression when nothing else can. In Musicophilia (781.15), Oliver Sacks explores music – which occupies more areas of our brain than language does – through the individual experiences of patients, musicians and everyday people. Through this book, we meet people with “amusia” who hear grating noise where others hear music, learn about a man whose memory spans only seven seconds for everything but music, explore how music can give words to stroke patients, and discover how a catchy tune can

subject us to hours of mental replay.

                                                 Beth, your librarian


Intake sessions for Humanities 101

  Intake sessions for Humanities 101
and Writing 101 have been arranged for August this year, please see the attached document to find out details of where and when. The details are also posted on our website: humanities101.arts.ubc.ca - follow the link on the homepage to access the information. Please pass on the details to anyone you think will be interested in taking either of the courses.
  We hope to see you at steering committee on Saturday August 8th from 1 – 3p.m in the third floor classroom at the Carnegie Centre. Thank you to all who have been attending and contributing to the meetings in recent months. The purpose of steering committee is to coordinate the activities of the Humanities 101 programme. As alumni of the programme your views and opinions are crucial to help guide the course, we encourage you to come along and offer your support.
Humanities 101 Community Programme
Dr. Margot Leigh Butler, Academic Director
Paul Woodhouse, Programme Assistant
Alison Rajah, Programme Coordinator
Katherine Coburn, Writing 101 Coordinator




We had our last spring gathering June 13 and will be pausing for a summer break throughout July. In our gatherings we have been learning songs from our different ethnic and family roots: English, Goan, Japanese, and Ukrainian, as well as the Rolling Stones’ song, “As Tears Go By”, a rock ballad from the 60’s. So far we have been singing in English, Japanese, Ukrainian and Goan in unison and 2 part harmony. We have listened to a variety of songs generously offered by several participating singers with First Nations, German, musical theatre, sea shanty, English folk and 60’s rock classic roots.

We will resume regular weekly meetings every monday from 1-3 pm. on September 14, mostly in the Carnegie Theatre. Check the poster for any change in location. In the fall sessions, we will also be learning a Chinese folksong, a German lullaby, a  Japanese-Canadian song, a First Nations song, Afro-Canadian song and a labour song; as well as any new songs offered by Carnegie villagers. I have invited guest artists to teach and share their songs—Dalannah Bowen/Afro-Canadian song; Olivier Wong/Chinese folksong, and Matthew Sheena/First Nations.

 In the summer, I will be offering 3 workshops on consecutive Mondays, August 17, 24 and 31st from 1- 3 pm in the Carnegie Theatre.  In these workshops we will focus on building healthy voice production, in tune singing, deep listening and improvisational skills.

Please pre-register at the 3rd floor office. 

  I look forward to the opportunity to present our Carnegie Village songs, stories and poetry as a work in progress during the Heart of the City Festival in October or November. Our final performance will be either later this year or early in 2010.   

  Thank you to all Carnegie Villagers who have come to share, learn, listen and sing together.

 I look forward to a continuing relationship.


Beverly Dobrinsky

Carnegie Artist in Residence


1st Floor Info.Desk or 604-665-2220/msgs


Downtown Ambassadors face Human Rights Tribunal

Downtown Ambassadors will face B.C. Human Rights Tribunal  

  Pivot Legal Society and the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU) have successfully opposed an application to dismiss the human rights complaint made last July against the Downtown Ambassador program. 

 Pivot and VANDU brought the complaint to highlight discriminatory practices and policies on the part of the Downtown Ambassador program. The Downtown Ambassador program is run by the private security company Genesis, and is funded by the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association and the City of Vancouver. 

  The Pivot/VANDU complaint alleged systemic discrimination against homeless people by the Ambassadors, who remove homeless people and panhandlers from public streets and sidewalks by harassing them until they move along. 

  The City of Vancouver and the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association argued that the complaint ought to be dismissed without a hearing, arguing that there was no prospect that the complaint could succeed and therefore no benefit to allowing it to proceed. The BIA also alleged that the complaint was filed for an improper purpose and brought in bad faith. These arguments were rejected by the Tribunal.

 “This is an important case, and we are glad that the Tribunal has decided to allow it to go to a full hearing,” says Laura Track, Pivot’s housing campaign lawyer. “Everyone has a right use public space, and private interests shouldn’t be allowed to hire security guards to take control of that space.”

  Of particular note in the judgment was the finding by Tribunal Member Tonie Beharrell that, while it is not a human rights violation to discriminate against homeless people, Pivot could establish discrimination has occurred if it can show that homeless people are disproportionately Aboriginal, mentally ill, physically disabled or addicted.  In fact, according to a 2005 City of Vancouver report, 34% of homeless people are Aboriginal, compared to 2% of the general population. That report shows that homeless people also suffer extremely high rates of mental illness, physical disability, and addiction.

 No hearing date has been set, but it is expected to be this Fall. 

  Media contact:
Laura Track, Housing Campaign Lawyer,


224 affordable housing units to be destroyed.

 224 affordable housing units to be destroyed.

                                 Why ?
   We all know that there is an affordable housing/ homelessness crisis in Vancouver. However something could be done very quickly to provide housing for about 700 people.
  Vancouverites must have noticed the 224 apartments boarded up around 36th and Main Street an area called Little Mountain. Yes, about 700 people could live there. To renovate them would only costs about $10,000 per unit to make them fully usable said the former director of the City of Vancouver Housing Department Cameron Gray. A builder has also confirmed this estimate. The Federal government has said that they have infrastructure money specifically targeted for the refurbishing of social housing and have been waiting to hear from the BC Housing Corporation as to how much they would need. Why is the Minister of Housing not fixing up the Little Mountain Housing Project?
  What are they waiting for??
About 12 units are still occupied and the last residents are being bullied to get out. Yesterday I was at Little Mountain and a middle-aged woman came running across the lawn in deep distress saying that BCHC subcontractors had torn out her washing machine and the mail box. Then I saw men removing stoves and fridges in excellent condition from an empty unit. I tried to block the move with my bicycle and was informed that they had the right to take out the appliances. The day before they took a chain saw to a unit next to a unit in which an elder women was recuperating from an operation.  
  Too many people need housing (over 15,000 people are on the BCHC wait list) but can't afford the rents even in the SRO's because income assistance only pays $375. for shelter. Today's report on the City of Vancouver shelters are that they are all full and there are over a thousand people still homeless and thousands more at risk of homelessness. The Salvation Army has just released a report saying that 1/3 of the men in their shelters are working.
  Little Mountain is a project that has housing ready to be used in short order. The developer Holburn, has no immediate plans to develop the site and even if he did it wouldn't be built for many years.  This week BC Housing Corporation was accepting applications from companies who want the contract to demolish this Project yet they do not yet have a City of Vancouver permit to demolish. 
  The Minister of Housings has millions to spend on homelessness, so he can surely find some money to renovate all the Little Mountain units and provide immediate housing for 700 people in desperate need of a roof above their heads.


                                         Ellen Woodsworth

                                       Vancouver City Councillor


Open Letter to BC Housing

Open Letter to BC Housing
To Shane Ramsey, CEO of BC Housing     

BC Housing has started demolishing the homes at Little Mountain, with no demolition permit. There are no plans or dates for new construction, no
dates for re-zoning consultations, no plans or dates for community consultations and it does not look as if the deal with the developer is even still on. It is very clear that no new construction will happen for
years to come. This week, demolition crews came in without warning, right next door to where tenants are still living, took chainsaws to the interiors of the vacant units, ripped out appliances, fixtures and pipes.
  Perfectly habitable homes are being destroyed.
  We, the tenants who are still at Little Mountain, remain here for compelling personal, family, economic and social needs, not because we are being difficult tenants. We require the following immediate measures:
 Reinstate security on the site; repair outside lights; and secure uninhabited buildings.
 Relocate all tenants within close proximity in the South-East area of the site.
 Stop the destruction and dismantling of those units outside of the fenced area.
And further, stop any and all illegal demolition of homes.
  The actions that BC Housing has taken this week are tantamount to eviction by fear and intimidation. In the letter addressed to Little Mountain tenants on June 1, 2009, BC Housing stated, "The application for these permits will not affect your tenancy at this time [.] you will notice that there will be increased activity on the site in the coming weeks, once the appropriate permits are issued."
 We submit that there has never been a good reason to displace the tenants during the redevelopment. A phased project would have accommodated all who wanted to remain in the community and on the site. We recognize that your continued pressure on us to move has now escalated to harassment and intimidation. Since this site is only the first of many to be redeveloped, we fear that the actions of BC Housing may set a precedent for the treatment of many other tenants. Displacement and intimidation of tenants must not be repeated here or in any future development.
         The remaining tenants of Little Mountain

CC: Rich Coleman, Minister of Housing
  Dale McMann, Regional Director of BC Housing
  Vancouver Mayor and Council
  Shane Simpson, Housing Critic
  Don Davies, MP Vancouver Kingsway
  Mable Elmore, MLA Vancouver Kensington
  Libby Davies, MP Vancouver East


W2 forced to leap through another hurdle

W2 forced to leap through another hurdle

                                                  By Nate Medd 

  W2 Media Arts Centre--an initiative bringing together a mix of arts and Downtown Eastside service organizations under one roof for training, collaborations, events--has a new hoop to jump through.

 Before it moves in to the space that it was awarded in 2006 by the Woodward's Community Advisory Committee and Vancouver city council, it has to compete a second time for a ground-level section of its floorplan. W2 is expected to move in 

  A cafe at Woodward's that W2 created and designed is now being offered up in a public request for proposals (RFP) by the City of Vancouver as a social-enterprise opportunity. 

 At City Hall, concern arose over W2's limited formal business experience toward managing its entire space, a community amenity from the project's developer, Westbank. 

  As designed, the cafe represents W2's front porch, a public entrance connecting its approved basement and second floor spaces. 

  Over the past 14 months, the W2 Cafe was designed with the support of the City of Vancouver's real estate services department.

  The cafe would serve as a social enterprise, employing a minimum of 12 Downtown Eastside residents, and bringing local people into W2's interior spaces. The Cafe and the adjacent community lounge are important spaces that W2 has protected as public gathering space for Downtown Eastside residents.

Importantly, the cafe would also generate revenues to subsidize W2's public programs and operating costs.

 In initiating an innovative, shared hub for some of the neighbourhood's important nonprofit organizations, W2 has demonstrated its perseverence and ability to learn on the job throughout the development process. 

  If we agree that W2 was awarded its place at Woodward's fairly in the first place, and that the cafe forms a vital part of its business and programming plan, let's hope this new competition confirms it as the most-deserving tenant. The development, the DTES, and the participating organizations will all be better for it.

W2 will be holding a community session to discuss the W2 Cafe plans and receive feedback on how the cafe can best serve local residents' needs. The meeting will be held at W2's Flack Block space (157 West Hastings) on Thursday, July 23, 7pm, refreshments served.


Irwin Oostindie
Executive Director
W2 Community Media Arts Society
#205 - 163 W. Hastings St. (Flack Block)
Vancouver, BC V6B 1H5
Mobile: 604.644.4349
Skype: irwin_oostindie
Twitter: @W2Woodwards @FearlessCity


The Downtown Eastside Youth Activities Society
The Downtown Eastside Youth Activities Society
 The meeting on Tuesday involves an exchange of information regarding clean-up and the required Staff to conclude everything by July 15, 2009. The 2 week extension was allowed because it is absolutely impossible to do the work of the Needle Exchange (NEX) Program itself until June 30, 2009 and liquidate, dispose and cancel the various services of the DEYAS program.
 There are agencies and services, in the DTES, who are wondering what is going to happen regarding needle exchange and community pick-up and we do not have the information to provide. The decision of how, what and where remains with Vancouver Coastal Health.
  You and I will go over our final documentation, as co-signing Board Members, for submission to Miranda Compton, our direct contact for Vancouver Coastal Health re: funding termination. Basically, we’ve reviewed everything we have accessed and documented based on a limited time frame.
  We cannot comment on issues relating to exacerbation of the DEYAS services by past Executive Directors and Board, if the information was privy to Executive Directors only with irregularities surfacing after the fact and void of concrete evidence. The Banking services have co-operated to the best of their knowledge and records available.
   Fraudulent misuse of funding by past Executive Directors cannot be ruled out; subtle deterioration of a historically viable program following the demise of Founder, John Turvey, weighs heavy on the minds and memories of all who knew ‘what was...’ 
It has been a very difficult process to delve into the unknown and find details around actions or incidents that have directly evolved into the dissolution date looming. We, as current Interim Board Members along with the input from dedicated work of remaining three long-term senior staff employees; Manny Cu, Robyn Beveland and David Huyhn and the NEX drivers continuing to cover the obligated shifts. The final days require more than three pairs of hands to complete the 29 year accumulation of stock, reports/stats and  sundries by July 15, 2009.
 Yours, mine and Gordon's Director positions cease to exist following the handing over of an independent documentation, signed by you and me as financial co-signers for DEYAS, to Vancouver Coastal Health representative, Miranda Compton.
However, I intend to advocate for DEYAS employees to receive their financial compensation and entitlement, under the Labour Relations Act. I am a people person and I have no personal financial gain but I do have respect for John Turvey, his accomplishments and the integrity of the remaining DEYAS staff.
         Bonnie Fournier,
    Interim President, DEYAS Board of Directors,              November, 2008 to July, 2009


Vanishing Baseball Diamond

                    Vanishing Baseball Diamond

In the nineteen eighties;

I remember

playing baseball at Oppenheimer

almost every day

Kids, teens, old folks even

hitting, catching, throwing, running

Fans filled the stands with laughter

Families gathered and picnicked after

But then, in the nineties;

needles were found in left field

Crack stench invaded the diamond

Knives, police, blood

Children couldn’t be there

The gate to the stands was locked

Still we hoped for games again one day

City planners developed plans

presented them in “public consultations”

Downtown Eastsiders said “No. That’s not what we want.”

Planners proceeded with their plans

Dismantled dugouts

took out the stands

Cherry trees appeared in right field

Weeds sprouted on the infield

Another hope vanished

                                                                 Leith Harris


“A Changin'”

“A Changin’”

A changin’ – It is a time for change

In a world that’s riddled with lies –a world deranged

Mentored by twisted religious beliefs that have

brought destructive gods, false heavens – even thieves

Troubled hearts whither in pain and fade away

In a dim light losin’ – losin’ power of life

Struggles blindly unshackle lost souls

Of those who idolize money, power and fame

Ensnared dis-ease plagues the unconscious minds

Whose conscious/subconscious psyche is material-ized

Their spirits wander ad disappear into a void

Where revolutionary cycles search for imminent change

A changin’ – it’s time to move on  - rearrange

Too many from our earth mother have become estranged

Neglected and torn up in pieces –the land’s spirit cries

Elders have warned – they speak scenarios of demise

Stolen lives of children taken from their own truths

Must corroborate ‘n reacquire innocence lost in youth

When laws of Nature guided carefully in this universe

Find some delicate balance to stop the evil curse

Uncover lost realities of the past to make amends

Heal the mind/body in pain which seems not to end

In this day of urgency let knowledge awaken

Ancient wisdom unforgotten for all life’s worth

                                                       -now rearrange

                      All our relations,

               William Arnold Combes and May K.




Canada Post mortem. Mediabortion. Dotcompost. You nin COM poops. Afghanicide effect. Booze-acide neglect. Suislide - Playlands newest ride. Chemical plantation. Inanimate castration. Waiting for Parts 4 & 5 from Playstation. Knock knock who’s there?-Empty people plenty scared. Sitting Pretty Sitting Bully. All star apart. Love will tear us apartheid. Vilified. Hands all tied. They promised you a ride (didn’t they) Democracy is both mocked & Crazy. Crazy Horse. South star means way off course. The New Vancouver Times on sale wherever Dotcomland is or is not in service was...

Halfmast apologies. Up Up off those bent knees. Fasten your drinking belt. Bible belt with real welts. Domino infection. In fact no directions. up. down down is up one needs support either hose or a cup. Stockade market & their digital people countdown.. it came & went without a sound. Deceit keep all receipts: Back to your cell-u-lar; lockdown before dawn. Countdown till I'm gone. Deathbed confession. Deathcott recession. Flowerfire ahead they grow them up there! Dripping with blindness. Beware those random axe of kindness. Again the square root of evil laughs at your despair. Practitioner of despair disappears into thick air. (thin air rides for free) “and it’s time for the Humiliation Jubliee!!” like brushing death’s hair, it’s time that Time gets what it deserves.

This is no Bang Bang You Are Dead child’s game so I''ll be running along faster than I can ever dream Well Well well here comes officer down he looks up to his enemies & down to his friends – he also heads the Jubilee. HOORAY for you, coffins for us Shaped like atrocious glittering buses with several seats thanking you; tried looking out the back window just bedbugs, rent-a-thugs, chicks with mugs... of beer. This Mugshot is for you. The selfish the blemished doesn’t every child hate cops, busdrivers & dentists?

I didn’t invent this Hell you helped it along just so you’d have leverage – if the sun goes down it’s my turn to drown. My future just passed before my eyes so it is time for goodbye.

                           By ROBERT McGILLIVRAY


The “hookers on davie” documentary

  The “hookers on davie” documentary (july 2nd at Vancity theatre) was a disappointment for me as I had anticipated returning for a panel discussion that would have more analysis. I left at the beginning when a heterosexual woman was interviewed and stereotypically portrayed as a victim of childhood rape. This is not always why women turn to prostitution. We know that there are race and class differences amongst women and that lack of money limits people’s choices. We know that these differences (not to mention competition) often contribute to a sadly lacking solidarity.

  Many of the hookers in this documentary of 25 years ago were transsexual. The theme of “hookers” seemed to present us with a false sense of an allied community in solidarity. A fraudulent image of hookers in solidarity is an image which panellist Jamie-Lee Hamilton likes to portray. I think that Jamie-Lee likes to overplay the race and transsexual victim of discrimination card. The presence of Ellen Woodsworth and Libby Davies was noted. For me, however, their notoriety cannot erase the hypocrisy of Jamie-Lee Hamilton.

  Thank you to the Georgia Straight, June 18-25, for printing the article by Joyce Arthur (cofounder of FIRST) entitled “2010 sex trafficking a myth” which had a critical analysis beyond the staging of self-interested drama [á la Hamilton].

                                                  By Maggie Maud


Dear Mayor and Council:

Dear Mayor and Council:

  It was my honour to appear before your worship and the Council on behalf of CFR and a long list of others on June 1. After our presentation there is a growing interest in seeing New Westminster taking a constructive response to our invitation to a process of reconciliation. Apart from out of town docu-mentary teams interviewing me and others within last two weeks, more have expressed interest in BC’s and New Westminster’s history with respect to the Chinese. The Premier also wrote on June 22 regarding our proposals with respect “to acknowledging the history of the Chinese community in our Province - and specifically the City of New Westminster”.  Locally a class in NWSS has taken on the subject but the ensuing discussion, while enlightening to some, also upset others who felt the historical truth had been withheld from them. The Royal City Record also did a poll on June 13 asking “Do you think the City should make amends with the Chinese community for its past treatment of Chinese citizens?”. I was informed by the paper the results were 69% for and 31% against the suggestion.

  With three white persons beating up a coloured person in Courtney while muttering racial slurs a week ago, we are reminded of racism today, of the likelihood that many similar incidents did not get caught on tape, and the big need for British Columbians to do all we can to exorcise the evil within our communities. As mentioned before, we did not target New Westminster, any more than the one taping the above incident targeted Courtney. Our attempt to reveal the historical truth is simply to set New Westminster and BC free via a process of reconciliation. Despite a few voices in denial undoubtedly from the 31% in your community, we hope you working with the Province will provide the leadership for all cities in BC, as racism against Chinese and others was endemic all over BC for a century. For the sake of all, that history of racism has to be publicly acknowledged and detested so that last week’s incident in Courtney will not be repeated again. 

  We appreciate New Westminster has contributed partly towards the publishing of the book “Yi Fu”.  However the book has limited readership and contains no official expression of remorse. We also appreciate New Westminster, like other BC cities, for taking a cultural and financial interest in China. However unless the City equates inviting Cirque du Soleil as reconciling with Quebec, it should not view inviting Chinese cultural performers in its parade as acknowledgement of the City’s dark history towards Chinese. The same can be said of the City’s effort to get millions of dollars from Chinese foreign students’ tuitions, establishing friendship city with city in China, etc... Those are financial decisions and have nothing to do with remorse or public historical acknowledgement. Without expressing remorse and public historical acknowledgement, those latter actions merely suggest the City acted terribly towards Chinese when China was poor, but became suddenly friendly to Chinese when China is rich. Is that the image you wish New Westminster to be remembered by the world and the 2010 Olympic visitors?

  On behalf of CFR, seven other Chinese Canadian organisations and 84 individuals who endorsed our letter to your worship and Council on May 21, I would appreciate learning the resolutions made by Council to our request indicated via our letter and presentation before council. As mentioned before, there is still a bit of time to do something really good and transformative for New Westminster and

this Province. The choice is still yours.

Yours truly,

Bill Chu

Chair & Founder, Canadians For Reconciliation


what is the newsletter’s circulation size these days?

Hi Paul, what is the newsletter’s circulation size these days – how many people and organizations is it distributed to?  And how big is its circulation range?  Thanks a lot,

Hi Savannah,

  The current print run is 1200 copies, 23 times a year on the 1st & 15th (no paper on January 1). Distribution in the Downtown Eastside is done via leaving copies at places frequented by local people:

1st Church, VANDU, Native Health, the Neigh-bourhood House, Sheway, the Skills Centre on Cordova across from Oppenheimer, Living Room, the Powell Street Clinic, the Lookout, Evelyne Saller centre, the welfare offices at Powell and Main, the Listening Post, Pathways, Insite, Co-op Radio, Pigeon Park Savings, DERA, the Women’s Centre, the Dugout and even the Fire Station.

  Robyn Livingstone has his own distribution route that includes places on Commercial Drive, Vancouver Community College, ARA Mental Health, Simon Fraser, UBC profs and places he’s discovered during Hum 101, the Rhizome cafe and other places.

  Bundles go to the Gathering Place, the Roundhouse and a steady supply to Humanities 101, UBC It gets mailed to Libby and her constituency office (same with Jenny) and copies go to the mayor and council, Central and Social Planning departments, the VPLibrary, CEEDS farms, Bob & Muggs and cohorts on Hornby and to the Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison – they have an archive of all ‘street’ and ‘alternative’ papers in North America.

  It was going to some high schools for the poetry and “a window on the Downtown Eastside” and the book The Heart of the Community: The Best of the Carnegie Newsletter has been involved in the curricula of courses at UBC, SFU, Langara and Kwantlen...  that I know of.

  It has gone to England, Austria, South Africa and the Philippines and has been seen in the airport in Beijing. The website at www.carnnews.org gets visited 373 times a day but that number came up in conversation the day before I learned how to find out the number of ‘hits’ so it’s kind of dubious.

  What’s really cool is that the head of a company called The History Group called here in 2005 and said her people wanted to do some volunteer work in the dtes. The first take on that is usually a thought on whether ‘they’ are dilettantes or altruistic or maybe sincere. I didn’t know (or ask) why here but I get information calls about Carnegie in general. Anyway, her business is to do research and develop timelines and paper trails about companies, neighbourhoods, organisations, etc. And the only thing I could think of was “I’d really like to get an index done of the Carnegie Newsletter, so people could find stuff and get their work from whenever in a bundle and students could do research online. She astounded me by saying “That sounds good; we can do that!”

  The work was to index 20 years of the Newsletter, every article, poem, graphic, etc. We met and she brought five staff, each of whom have a degree in fields of Computer Science, Sociology, Political Science, Urban Geography, Social Work, Business Administration... and five volunteers, each of whom was either a senior or graduate student at UBC/SFU in the same or related fields as the paid people. Each took a year or two of my archived papers and committed to entering stuff in a database designed by their computer guy. It was identical to the ones standard in university libraries worldwide, to enable access by any competent inquirer with fields to overlap like newsletter articles do in regards to subjects covered in single articles. (It’s part-and-parcel to talk about homelessness with poverty with housing with politics with neoliberalism with classism with sexism with drug issues and mental health and artistic expressions in all of ‘em and more.)

....anyway, it got done and is hosted on Simon Fraser Library’s mainframe under an umbrella acronym of CHODARR. The link is:


  The whole last paragraph was to kind of answer the question of ‘how big is its circulation range?’ With the virtual reality of cyberspace, I have no idea how many or from where readers are.  One point is that the paper began on August 15, 1986 with 12 pages in 60 copies made on an old photocopier upstairs. On its 23rd birthday – August 15, 2009 – it’ll be 20-28 pages in 1200 copies and read by thousands/hundreds of thousands/milli..


     PaulR  Taylor, editor since December 15, 1986.




Art Against Brutality was introduced into our community as a day-long multimedia celebration of the triumph of art against the brutal conditions we are forced to accommodate in the course of our daily lives as poor people moving through and excluded from one of the richest places in the world. The event took place in Oppenheimer Park in September of 2005 and again in the next year. There was music and food and a huge labyrinth of oppression where people were free to display their artistic statements around the various themes. Community groups had their own displays; there were games and prizes and a tree hung with poems. The organisers were told, when 2007 rolled around, that the park was going to be closed for renovations and so would not be available that year. This was not a tragedy, as the idea had been picked up by such unlikely groups as the Anti-Poverty Committ-ee, who have held several wonderful art auctions and unleashed a whole wave of creativity in their membership. Most community groups have some sort of arts and crafts programs. There is even a push on to have a permanent dtes art market at the weekly Main Street [at Terminal] farmers market.

  This is good, mostly, as long as we remember that using art as a tactic of social control pre-dates even advertising. Propaganda, false assurances and (just as likely) false hysteria are disseminated by the media on a regular basis, along with an assuredly spurious and morbid interest in the personalities, antics, and banal (and often brutal) gossip about movie, sports and music persona. Art can be used to seduce and distract those who might be disturbed by what the images we are offered conceal, and those who might question what is really happening in our vicinity and around the world.

  In our neighbourhood, the fence around Oppenheimer Park has been up for weeks now. A meeting to discuss the situation with Park staff on Thursday, July 9, was poorly announced but still managed to attract a number of concerned people Park programs are continuing on Dunlevy and at a few other venues, but what is sorely missed is the green space. I so want to trust park staff when they claim they share our feelings that the complete closure of the park is unacceptable. They are vowing now to push back from the corner they were pushed into by the park board’s inflexible schedule and to confront them with the concerns that have been brought up.

  Seeing that the park board has already expressed its disdain for our community process, even to the extent of threatening to cancel the project if it was not carried out as they decreed, I’m not at all confident that we will be able to reach any kind of compromise. I’m certainly wondering who else was involved in these decisions. The fact that permits were issued for the digging up of the park and the erection of the perimeter fence and this work carried out BEFORE the building permits had been approved is one more blot on the credibility of this project. It could be a while before the permits are in place. In fact, there is no good reason why the work needed to start now or that the park should be closed, other than the reasons of social control; to minimize possible sites where homeless people and dissidents might gather before the Olympics.

  Art Againast Brutality is happening again, now, with a clear focus, and the fence is huge. Here’s your chance to express your opinion about the gentrification of our community and the imposition of the Olympics. If enough of us art out, maybe we’ll be listened to.

                                      By DELANYE AZRAEL