Statement issued April 7, 2023

The BC Provincial Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Canada has issued the following statement condemning the Vancouver Police Department raid against homeless residents of the tents on Hastings Street, and City Council’s policy changes which led to this violent action on April 5:

As feared by homeless people and their advocates since last October’s election of Ken Sim and his ABC party to a majority on Vancouver City Council, the city’s new strategy is to intensify aggression against people living on the street. The shocking Vancouver Police Department assault on residents of tents along Hastings Street on April 5 has nothing to do with solving the housing crisis – this is a political tactic designed to give the false impression that the city is “taking action”, recycling the lie that tossing people’s tents and possessions into the garbage is “in their best interests” by forcing them into shelters.

This appalling justification (sadly repeated by the corporate media) is based on the bizarre idea that the richest and most powerful residents of this so-called “world class city” know or care about the best interests of poor people. In other words, those who gained vast wealth through decades of gentrification and destruction of affordable housing are held up as experts about the needs of those whom they have driven into desperate poverty. The truth is the opposite – poor and homeless people know what policies they need, not real estate billionaires, cops, or right-wing politicians.

Of course, tent cities are not a solution for the housing crisis which gets worse every year across Canada. But police violence in a futile effort to push people into dangerous, over-crowded “shelters” just makes the situation worse. As long as our capitalist society treats housing as a commodity for personal enrichment rather than a fundamental human right, the result will be ever more expensive rents and housing costs, not greater access to a place to live.

The Communist Party calls for a fundamental change of direction, based on the concept that housing must be a fundamental human right, not a commodity.

– Immediate action by all levels of government to build a million units of low-income housing across the country annually for the next five years.

– Legislation to limit rents to 20% of a family’s income.

– End police and government attacks on people using public lands and streets for their emergency housing needs.

– An immediate 100% increase in social assistance and disability benefits.

For more information, contact the BC Committee CPC, c/o Provincial Leader Kimball Cariou, at 604-254-9836 or 604-255-2041, <kimballcariou@gmail.com>.

BC Committee, Communist Party of Canada

706 Clark Drive, Vancouver, V5L 3J1

Unceded, ancestral and traditional Coast Salish territories

604-254-9836    cpinfo.bc@gmail.com