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Vancouver Tenants Union has successful launch — and now …

May 5th, 2017 · 1 Comment

The newly formed Vancouver Tenants Union got well over 200 people out to its founding meeting on a Saturday last week, which was a promising start in don’t-like-to-commit Vancouver. It got a lot of coverage from media, including me/Globe.

Now the trick will be to see what the group, started by some active in the Downtown Eastside but others who are just fed up as well, will be able to do next. There is some real possibility of momentum given how insecure Vancouver’s many renters feel. And those aren’t just people in small West End apartments or Downtown Eastside residential hotels.

I’ve talked to renters paying $2,000 and $3,000 a month who feel just as precarious. They weren’t at the meeting (or I didn’t spot any of them, at any rate), but they have just as many issues as others on other parts of the housing ladder.

There’s a West End meeting scheduled for May 31. We’ll see what happens next.


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  • A Taxpayer

    When I read the Globe & Mail article I was left with the impression that the Tenants Union was organized by renters to provide a resource for the common problems tenants face. Fair enough. Renters are off base to expect the same rights and benefits of home ownership without the risks and responsibilities but it does make sense to have an organization that advocates for their reasonable rights of occupancy. However, I came away with a much different impression after reading some of the material on their website at :

    “We acknowledge that we are organizing, living, and resisting on unceded Coast Salish territories, specifically of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations. We recognize that displacement and gentrification are part of the larger colonial and capitalist systems that occupy these lands. Fighting for tenants rights, is a fight for housing justice for all. No more displacement on stolen Native land!”

    This type of rhetoric suggests that the organizers view tenant’s issues as just another front in the war on globalization and the capitalist organization of our economies. Showing distain for the private property rights of the landlords only builds barriers and will make it very difficult to find common ground that protects the legitimate rights and concerns of all parties. Renters should think very carefully before throwing their lot in with such an organization because when push comes to shove their interests will get lost in the greater war against capitalism and globalization.