Sunday, 26 May 2013

Congratulations from Grand Chief Stewart Phillip

From: Stewart Phillip
Sent: April-24-13 12:45 PM
To: Tami; wendy; Homeless dave; Cecilia point; don Bain; Mona Aboriginal Front Door; Lorelei Butterflies in Spirit; Mike Harcourt; Tim Louis; Wilson Munoz; Ellen Woodsworth; Gena Carnegie President; Richard DNC; Dave VANDU; Karen Gallery Gachet; Tracy Western Aboriginal harm reduction; Harsha Power of women; Shurli Power of Women; Joan Power of women; Dave streams of justice; Rob EIDGE; Kim H COPE; Cecily Gallery Gachet; Jean CCAP; Michael Clague BCS; Ray Spaxman BCS; Ian Chang BCS;
Subject: RE: DTES Hunger Strike: request for statements of support

Dave, Wendy and Tami;


On behalf of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, I would like to congratulate and commend you on your highly successful grass-roots campaign to draw public attention to the impacts that gentrication is having on wiping-out the supply of social housing opportunities in the Downtown Eastside.

We are greatly relieved that Homeless Dave now has the opportinity to restore and rebuild his health. We thank him for his many days of selfless sacrifice. Truly inspirational and courageous Leadership! 

We also thank all the many People who supported Homeless Dave and 'his team' during hia hunger strike.

In closing, knowing full well that this battle and this struggle and this war to achieve social justice for all is not over; we thank you for the great honor of standing in support and solidarity with you during this particular campaign.

All our Relations,

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip
Union of BC Indian Chiefs

Saturday, 27 April 2013


DTES hunger strike ends after 36 days

VANCOUVER, Coast Salish Territories - 'Homeless' Dave called off his hunger strike tonight after a five-week bid for social housing.  Dave and some of his supporters made the announcement outside the Pidgin Restaurant in the Downtown Eastside (DTES) where he first launched his solo campaign against gentrification.  

Hunger strike supporter Wendy Pedersen explained that “Dave has now lost so much weight that his health is in danger. We convinced him it is the community's time to step up and lead the campaign." Dave's three demands are for 100% social housing at the controversial Sequel 138 condo project on Hastings and at the city-owned former 'cop shop' on Main Street, and that the City of Vancouver declare the Downtown Eastside a Social Justice Zone. Supporters vowed to continue the fight.

The "Closing Ceremonies" for the hunger strike held this evening included a rousing rendition of 'Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around' and street theatre involving a skeleton "killed by City Hall."

Throughout the hunger strike, Dave called on Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and Vision Vancouver to address the social housing/gentrification crisis in the DTES. After finally forcing a meeting with Robertson on Day 33, Dave was told "no to the demands." Vision Councillor Andrea Reimer dismissed Dave's 36-day hunger strike as "a theatrical exercise.”  

After meeting with Robertson, Dave said, "the mayor doesn’t care, and that doesn't bode well for our community: his lack of respect pushes us to be even more confrontational.”  Dave said he “cannot compete with the developers at City Hall” and he now “needs to get back into fighting shape.”    

A community celebration is being planned for Dave, with invitations going out to the many community supporters who worked so hard on his campaign and the groups and leaders such as Grand Chief Stewart Phillip and Cecilia Point of the Musqueam Nation who endorse the hunger strike demands.   

Contact:   Wendy Pedersen 604-839-0379

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

DAY 33 - Supporters beg for an ending

Compare the treatment of hunger striker and supporters at city hall on day 33:

Councillor Andrea Reimer (Vision Vancouver):

Councillor Adriane Carr (Green):

Monday, 22 April 2013

DAY 32: Homeless Dave and supporters to picket new controversial site

Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories:   Today is Day #32 of “Homeless Dave’s” Hunger Strike, he has lost a lot of weight (21 pounds as of Day #28) and his health is deteriorating.  Because time is running out, Time is running out for Dave and for the hunger strike demands to be met.  Dave is still drinking 375ml of “Happy Planet” juice a day plus sage tea.

As of today, the daily picket is expanding to a new controversial site as a way to seek resolution to the demands and end this hunger strike.   

Where:  To be announced either at the corner of Hastings and Main at 5:30pm or call 604-839-0379 or 604-790-9943 at that time (not earlier) to find out the location.

When:  Monday, April 22th PM at 5:30pm

More info:  Wendy 604-839-0379; Tami 604-790-9943


Friday, 19 April 2013

DAY 29

Dave is sick today and will be staying home to recuperate.  He has a fever and a cold.   Please keep him in your thoughts.  

Pickets are still on for noon-2 and 6-7, and Tim Louis of COPE will be visiting the picket at noon.    Anyone who wants to strategize about the next steps for the hunger strike, come down and huddle under the tent today from noon to 2pm at the Sequel site.    Probably won't move over to Cop Shop in the rain.  

Thursday, 18 April 2013

DAY 28: Hunger Striker “weighs-in” at Vancity headquarters

April 18, 2013

Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories:   At 1pm today, about a dozen DTES residents arrived at Vancity’s head office with formerly “Homeless Dave,” who is on the 28th day of his hunger strike.  Dave carried a sign saying:  “Vancity, be ethical, don’t endorse Sequel 138 condos.”

The delegation was greeted outside in the wind and rain by SVP, Business Development and Community Engagement, Linda Morris.  Residents asked if they could meet inside the lobby and after sizing up the group, Vancity reps decided to let them in, but did not offer a space to meet, so the interaction happened next to the doors in the lobby.

“You can’t say that you are not at fault because other banks are doing this too.  Other banks support the Enbridge Pipeline and you don’t, so it’s no excuse,” said Homeless Dave after Morris explained that Vancity gives mortgages to people who might want to buy a condo at the controversial project that 1000’s of residents have opposed and organized against over the last 2 years.

Therese, a senior who lives in social housing, explained why she won’t support unethical projects like Sequel 138 and Vancity’s condo project at 60 W Cordova.  She said, “I live near the condos (60 W Cordova) and I notice there are stores nearby now that sell $12,000 couches.  The message I get from that is ‘you don’t belong here’.  There is something jaded about how these stores advertise.  It’s like the contrast been rich and poor is charming.”

Dave said that given the state of housing in the area, Vancity shouldn’t write on their website that he should quit his hunger strike.  He said: “If you really cared about me and the community, why didn’t you come down to see me at the picket?  Why aren’t you supporting me?  Not even my doctors are telling me to stop.”

Residents asked if Vancity would help put pressure BC Housing to buy the Sequel 138 condo project (one of Dave’s demands) for 100% social housing.  BC Housing is currently bailing out the Sequel developer with a shocking 1% loan.  Morris did not say yes or no but said Vancity reps would be willing to meet to talk again if we wanted. 

“More talk” is not what’s needed right now.  Dave weighed himself in the lobby of Vancity and as of “Day 28” has lost a total of 21 pounds, 7 pounds more than when he first weighed himself at the Mayor’s office exactly 2 weeks ago today.  Like the beleaguered DTES community, his health is deteriorating but, as he said to the Vancity reps, “I’m strong in mind and in spirit and will continue this struggle.” 

The hunger strike demands are endorsed by every major resident-driven group in the Downtown Eastside, Stewart Phillip of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, Cecilia Point of the Musqueam Nation and the Coalition of Progressive Electors.  The demands are also supported by 1000’s of mostly DTES residents who have signed petitions at the regular picket sites over the last few weeks. 

So far, Police Chief Chu, Councillor Adriane Carr and Former City Councillor Ellen Woodsworth have agreed to meet with Dave.  Dave asked the Mayor to meet with him but so far, this request has been denied. 

History of BC Housing bailout of Sequel 138 condos and more:


Wednesday, 17 April 2013


Legal opinion (below) plus huge turnout of DTES residents at pidgin may have stopped police/city attempt to defend private business interests over social good tonight! No threat letters delivered, no show of arrests for the media and hopefully a bit of spotlight on strike demands. So inspiring to hear Stella's calls in the distance as the Power of Women arrived in force. Running out of time for hunger strike demands....Dave's health declining. Need help deciding next steps, please let us know if you can help. See you tomorrow noon Carnegie then to Vancity at Terminal at 1pm --- later at pidgin 6-7pm. 

Looking for good photos of the whole block of people who turned up if anyone has any.

equality lifts everyone

17 April 2013

Chief Constable Jim Chu
Vancouver Police Department

Reply to: Douglas King
Direct Line: (604) 255 9700 ext. 112

Vancouver, BC

Re: Protests at PIDGIN Restaurant and application of s. 430(1) of the Criminal Code

Dear Chief Chu,

Our office was contacted today to analyze and advise the group of protestors who have been picketing the PIDGIN restaurant on Carrall Street regarding the application of section 430(1) of the Criminal Code, as outlined in the warning letter delivered earlier today which is attached to this document. In examining the case law on this section of the Criminal Code, and the previous decisions of courts across Canada, it concerns me that the department appears to be defining the application of this section too broadly to include legally protected protest.

In the warning letter delivered by the VPD it states the following:

"Obstruction or interference with the use of property includes but is not limited to the following behaviours: shouting, screaming, or swearing at anyone that disrupts public peace or physically blocking any person from freely entering, leaving or staying at any public place."

Our concern is that the above definition is inaccurate, and too broadly defines section 430(1) of the Criminal Code. It is our opinion that the courts have clearly stated that section 430(1) is only intended to cover "physically blocking any person from freely entering, leaving or staying at any public place" and does not cover "shouting, screaming, or swearing at anyone that disrupts the public peace". Disruptions of the public peace during an ongoing protest are matters covered by civil injunction, and by itself should not amount to a breach of s. 430(1) of the Criminal Code.

While the cases regarding this section have typically been applied in a labour dispute setting, where a picket has been set up to protest an employer, in my opinion there is no reason why the legal principles would not apply to the current picket at PIDGIN restaurant. These cases focus on the definition of "enjoyment", and what behaviour would bring rise to a criminal charge under this section.

In the case of R v. Drapeau from the Quebec Court of Appeal, it was determined that the definition of "enjoyment" in s. 430(1) was limited to the legal definition composing the entitlement or exercise of a right, and not "enjoyment" in its most common everyday dictionary sense. The court stated:

"I do not believe that "enjoyment" in sec. 430(1)(d) refers to a purely subjective state, such as the nature or intensity of the pleasure derived from a property by its owner, possessor or occupant. Nor do I believe that a person who diminishes that pleasure, even knowingly, is liable for that reason alone to conviction for criminal mischief.

To conclude otherwise, in my respectful view, is to make of a crime in relation to property an offence against feelings and tastes. With respect for the views expressed by my colleague Chamberland, I would not interpret the law so broadly as to permit that result, and then impose on pOlicemen and prosecutors the thankless task of enforcing it."

Or as the Newfoundland Supreme Court said in more simpler terms in the case of R v. Dooling:

"Where persons peaceably attend at business premises and the only act which is complained of is the communication of information by picketing, without any physical obstruction, interruption or inference, the fact that persons may be persuaded voluntarily not to do business with the struck employer, thereby causing business disruption and thereby incidentally interfering with the employer's enjoyment of his property, does not, in my view, constitute obstruction, interruption or interference for the purpose of s. 430(1)(d). If an employer could charge mischief simply because picketing itself causes business interruption on property owned by an employer, there would be no need for injunctive or other court relief."

If the VPD intends to intervene in this protest and charge under the section in question it is our hope that it will do so on the basis that there is clear evidence that a physical obstruction has occurred which has prevented patrons or the owner from accessing or leaving the property. In our opinion charges under this section related to "disruptions of the public peace" would rightly be challenged, and given the opinions expressed by the courts above it would appear that such a dispute '1lay be better left for the owner to bring through the civil court process.

Yours truly,
Douglas King
Barrister Et: Solic,r

Letter from VPD

Attention _________

The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) is committed to providing an environment that allows for safe and lawful democratic protest; however, the VPD is also committed to ensuring people are not denied the lawful use, or the enjoyment of property. The VPD will take appropriate actions in relation to persons interfering with the lawful use and/or enjoyment of property.

Section 430 of the Criminal Code of Canada states the following: Everyone commits mischief who willfully:
a) Destroys or damages property;
b) Renders property dangerous, useless, inoperative or ineffective;
c) Obstructs, interrupts or interferes with lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property; or
d) Obstructs, interrupts or interferes with any person in the lawful use, enjoyment or
operation of property.

Obstruction or interference with the use of property includes but is not limited to the following behaviours: shouting, screaming, or swearing at anyone that disrupts public peace or physically blocking any person from freely entering, leaving or staying at any public place.

Any future conduct that contravenes this section or any other-of the Criminal Code of Canada may result in criminal charges.

Inspector Cumberworth Officer in Charge, General Investigation Section Vancouver Police Department