As more than 600 people gather in Calgary for Calgary’s national housing and homelessness conference, we are yet again seeing the situation getting worse out here in Vancouver.

Not only was there a decrease in BC’s housing budget this week, but now there is talk of scaling back more of the social housing piece of the 2010 Olympic Village. Not only did the previous City Council gut affordable parts of the housing mix already, but it is now in financial jeopardy.

Not only have the Olympics cost taxpayers over $6 billion, they have also amplified and accelerated development paths in the inner city leading to further gentrification. There are daily street sweeps by the police and departments operated by the City such as Engineering and Sanitation which remove the belongings of homeless people every other day.

This pre-Olympic clean up in Vancouver violates the basic right to the city. This public policy framework is inhumane and uncivilized. It takes alot of politicians and bureaucrats to look the other way for this level of incompetence and institutional inertia to exert itself on a daily basis. Civil liberties and human rights are compromised regularly and selective ticketing practises are used to sanitize the streets.

While we have daily gangland shootings throughout the Lower Mainland the past two weeks, the Vancouver Police Department is busy giving jaywalking tickets to homeless people.

What a way to welcome the world in 2010.

Am Johal

Am Johal

Am Johal is an independent Vancouver writer whose work has appeared in Seven Oaks Magazine, ZNet, Georgia Straight, Electronic Intifada, Arena Magazine, Inter Press Service,,