Sunday, December 30, 2007

Order of Canada Awarded to Carnegie Chronic Civil Liberties Abuser

Canada's Governor General, Michaelle Jean, has just announced that former Carnegie Director, Michael Clague, will receive the Order of Canada. Just a moment. . . .

I had to vomit on the sidewalk.

Michael Clague gained a reputation for civil liberties abuses while Director of Carnegie, a job he left less than two years ago. Low income people were routinely barred from the Center without due process. Ask anybody on the Downtown Eastside and they'll tell you that either they have been barred from Carnegie or know somebody who has.

A conversation today amongst a few Carnegie regulars revealed that they were not pleased to hear that the Governor General had selected Clague for the Order of Canada. "Does she not do back ground checks?", a woman asked. "It's a committee that decides," a man named Nick responded. "They're the bend over team," joked Louis M., a Montreal native who swore upon hearing the news about Clague said. A woman told him, "I swore too when I heard it; I swore twice." She never swears. These people know Clague much better than Michaelle Jean and her "Bend over team" will ever know him. They experienced his policies on a daily basis for years while he was Carnegie Director. Several of them were barred from Carnegie while he was administrator.

Nick, a middle aged man who immigrated from Eastern Europe 20 years ago, recalled Clague barring him for a month. He says he told Clague that people in the Centre had to be allowed to express conflicting opinions, to debate. "He called me a troublemaker", Nick says. Nick was barred for a month. Clague seemed to take the position, Nick says, that he was going to create an "upheaval" in the Centre. He points out that this is a time worn tactic: whenever Carnegie wants to get rid of a member, they portray them as a threat. "You can portray anybody as a threat", he says.

An "incident report" exists to confirm that Nick was in fact barred for a month. But you can bet that the version of events in that report differs from Nick's. And that's part of the problem. When people are barred, the administration's version of events is written up in an incident report and later typed into a computer data base to be forever used against the named individual by City staff.

"Do you think Clague deserves the Order of Canada?" Nick was asked. "No," he responded calmly.

If Jean had done any real background checking she would have discovered that one case of civil liberties abuse under Clague's administration has been fought for eight years. And is still being fought. In fact, a complainant on this particular case corresponded with the City of Vancouver about it as recently as last summer. [The City of Vancouver was Clague's boss when he was Carnegie Director.]

The case involved a woman who lodged a complaint when she arrived to use one of the three Vancouver Public Library computers in the Carnegie Senior's Lounge and was told she was barred from using the computers. No reason given. She went upstairs to use one of the VPL computers in the third floor computer room and was told she was barred from there too. When she asked a Carnegie Security guard, Phil, to give her a reason, he said he didn't know why she was barred, despite the fact that incident reports are supposed to be filed to justify a barring from City property. Phil arranged for Director Michael Clague to speak with her.

She sat with her friend, Louis M. for a couple of hours waiting for Clague. When Clague arrived with a security guard in tow, he peeped through the window of the room in which she was waiting, gazed at her up and down, and skittered away. Louis, at the time, described Clague's behaviour as "odd", according to a written account on record with Carnegie and the City of Vancouver. Minutes later, Phil arrived to tell the woman that Clague had left her a letter at the front reception desk.

In the letter dated Saturday, January 15, 2000, Clague wrote, "Either Sandy [MacKeigan, a supervisor] or I will be back to you on Tuesay." The woman wrote in a document summarizing the case, "I was expected to serve my sentence for at least three days without knowing what I was accused of."

The woman found it a noteworthy coincidence that she was barred after lodging complaints about the fact that when she would go into the Senior's Lounge to use a computer, she was asked by a coffee seller to go home with him to watch pornography, or advised to die her hair and lose 20 pounds to make herself more attractive to men. [A female Board member at Carnegie said that she too had been asked by the coffee seller to go home with him and watch pornography.]

The woman pressed for answers about this abuse of civil liberties. She accused the Clague administration, in writing, of keeping the population of the Center down through forced "attrition", barring so many people that a large number simply never returned. One man who has been going to Carnegie for 30 years, says that he and everyone of his friends has been barred, most of them never returned, some got more involved in street life and died of AIDS or drug overdoses.

Two months later, the woman got a letter dated March 3, 2000 from City Manager, Judy Rogers, stating that if she wanted access to computers, she would have to respect Carnegie's policy of having no food or drink at the computer. "I would encourage you to accept this policy...." The woman says she had not violated any such policy and even individuals who do are not barred; they are given a warning.

The fact that Clague has a double standard for how women are treated and how men are treated is clear from an incident that occurred when the above woman was in the Seniors' Lounge some time later. A man whose offers to buy her coffee, etc. were declined became enraged kicked a coffee table into her kneecaps -- she moved her knees just in time to avoid serious injury -- and called her an "old cow" in front of a room full of witnesses. The incident was reported to a security guard and Clague was made aware of the event. But the man was not barred. He was simply told not to do it again.

"Do you think Clague deserves the Order of Canada?" she was asked this evening as she sat at McDonald's chatting with friends. "Noooo!," she said.

If the Governor General had done any real background checking such as speaking to low income regulars at Carnegie, she might have learned that, in the above woman's file, there is a document describing an assault of another woman under the Clague administration. A fifty-something woman with a British accent, had wanted to go into an AIDS banquet in the Carnegie Theatre. The "doorman" was an elderly woman who has been in and out of hospital with mental health problems. She decided she didn't want to allow the British woman entry. But she offered to allow the woman accompanying her to enter. The British woman protested verbally and security was called. Security are routinely called on people at Carnegie who raise their voice in protest.

Two security men grabbed the British woman and dragged her by the arms and legs out of the building as she continued to loudly protest. Nothing was done about this assault.

Such scenes are not uncommon at Carnegie.

Although the incidents described above could create the impression that women were prime targets for Clague's barring practices, it was primarily men whose civil liberties were abused at Carnegie. That remains the case. Single men make up the bulk of the membership.

During Clague's administration, barring became a contentious issue and he was under pressure to address it. Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users threatened to take legal action as their members, when they were not out of their minds on drugs, were denied access to VANDU meetings held in the building. How can you hold a meeting if your members aren't allowed to come? Although many Carnegie members were not particularly sympathetic to a bunch of drug addicts, VANDU did bring to public attention a barring policy which was affecting non- addicts as well. They began to embarrass Clague.

A Committee was struck during Clague's tenure to grapple with the barring issue. The Committee put in many hours, Carnegie Board member Peter Fairchild recalled at a meeting this summer, as members demanded an explanation as to why a homeless man, Bill Simpson, had been barred. Despite the work of the Committee, the barring policy remained largely unchanged.

And now Clague is awarded the Order of Canada, an award given to people who have achieved the highest level of lifetime achievement.

Clague's failure to make serious changes to curb civil liberties abuses at Carnegie Center is viewed by several longterm members as having laid the groundwork for the current "police state" environment occurring under his successor, Ethel Whitty. "He was her teacher!", Bill Simpson emphasized this evening as a group of Carnegie regulars had coffee at a nearby McDonald's restaurant. Clague stayed at Carnegie for two months after Whitty arrived in order to train her. Even after he officially left, he remained connected to Whitty, being Carnegie's arts funding "bag man", sometimes returning to the Center to speak with her.

With Whitty as Director, homeless Bill Simpson was barred from the Carnegie Learning Center in January 2007. He was told that he was barred for blogging on the Downtown Eastside Enquirer. He wasn't even a blogger for the DTES Enquirer. Then, two weeks after being elected to the Board of Directors in June 2007, Simpson was barred from the entire Carnegie Center indefinitely. Whitty personally delivered him a letter informing him that the barring was due to the fact that he operated a website which "features links" to the Downtown Eastside Enquirer blog.

Simpson asked Whitty if he would be allowed to enter the building to attend Board meetings and she told him no. Poor people were being denied representation by the man they had voted for. But the Whitty adminstration is being exposed for the environment of civil liberties abuses that exists at Carnegie in a way that Clague never was. There is a reason for that.


Downtown Eastsiders have discovered blogging. And bloggers haven't let the issue of unfair barrings go. Now the mainstream media is onto the story. The Vancouver Sun published an article on the Bill Simpson case on Dec. 24/07. CBC radio's Morning Edition with Stephen Quinn has arranged to interview Simpson on Jan. 2/07 at 6:55 a.m.

Previously, Michael Clague deftly deflected media interest in this issue. When the Georgia Straight newspaper contacted him about the unfair barring of low income people from Carnegie, they reported his response being that this was a "dated" issue. "There was nothing dated about it", says one woman who was still fighting her case at the time. But what could the victims of unfair barrings do, other than write a letter to the editor and hope it got published. They didn't know about blogging at the time.

Although the barring of members without due process is a major issue that the Governor General should have reviewed before awarding the Order of Canada, it is not the only issue. Bloggers have been reporting that low income people are too often locked out of services such as the computer room and Learning Center, which the taxpayer richly funds Carnegie to keep open. This problem, which bloggers have called "The Great Taxpayer Rip-Off" did not start under Ethel Whitty. It was an ongoing problem under Michael Clague's administration. Key services at Carnegie were routinely locked during welfare cheque week on the Downtown Eastside. "They seem to have a stereotype that everybody on welfare will be drinking and drugging until their welfare cheque is spent," says one woman. When the computer room is open on Welfare Wednesday, it's going full tilt, often with a waiting list.

Michael Clague and Ethel Whitty and other povertarians claim, especially when they have the ear of funders, to give a voice to the poor. Well, the poor now have one. They got it from Google Blogger. Get used to it.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Looking for the Blog that Miro Cernetig Mentioned in his Column on the Barring of Bill Simpson ?

[Photo: Vancouver Sun]

Looking for the blog that Vancouver Sun columnist, Miro Cernetig, mentioned in his Dec. 24th Vancouver Sun column on the barring of William "Bill" Simpson from Carnegie Center? This is it.
Cernetig wrote about the Downtown Eastside Enquirer, although he avoided actually mentioning it’s name. We knew that Cernetig had interviewed Simpson and was writing a column about his barring from Carnegie after being accused of being linked to the DTES Enquirer blog. Simpson told us.

Related stories:

City of Vancouver Bars Elected Blogger From Board Meetings

City on "weak, weak ground" in Barring Elected Blogger

Both Santa and Sinclair Show Up at BC Fed Christmas Eve Dinner

A free ride to a free dinner. That's what the BC Federation of Labour offered for its 12th annual Christmas Eve dinner at the Maritime Labour Hall in Vancouver. A free City bus left every half hour from the Carnegie Center to take people to the east side hall for dinner. The bus was packed, standing room only. Easily over a thousand people showed up for the dinner which started at about 4:30 p.m., with people coming and going for over three hours.

Santa was there too with gifts for kids, nice gifts, not chintzy ones. One kid got a blue Sesame Street character doll which played a red guitar.

The volunteer servers were in the Christmas spirit, exuding warmth and friendliness that didn't seem at all faked. One server would ask every single person in the food line up, “Do you like brown or white meat?” and she would give you exactly what you wanted.

There was gravy too. And cranberry sauce, the kind which has some of the round berries still intact. The breaded dressing was tasty. It was a more traditional dressing than last year when it was compressed into a loaf from which everybody was cut a slice – although that tasted ok too. The dinner also included mixed corn, carrots, and a bun. For dessert there was a selection of pies, including pumpkin pie, my favorite.

The servers constantly circulated, asking if you would like more pie. One guy at my table worked through a few pieces of pumpkin pie and one which I think was apple. He wondered if the server thought he was packing it away to take home – he did take one piece of pumpkin pie home – because he noticed that eventually, “When she saw me, she would turn the other way.” That’s the same guy who joked, “Hey Santa, cut your hair you fuckin’ hippie.” Santa didn’t laugh.

And there was coffee, tea, juice, and pop. The BC Fed was a little more street smart this year. They gave out only open cans of pop and juice boxes. They discovered last year that the underclass was prone to sticking a few extra cans of pop or boxes of juice in their pockets to take home.

There is one way the BC Fed out does most of the other Christmas dinners attended by the underclass: they don’t mind if you go back for seconds.

Jim Sinclair, President of the BC Fed, was at the Christmas Eve dinner, as he is every year. He doesn't just make an appearance; he stays for hours dishing up food, chatting up pork choppers, always wearing a red and white hat like the one Santa wears. But it is getting more difficult for Sinclair to pass himself off as jolly and benign. Because the secretaries won't shut up. The problem started when secretaries at CUPE Local 116 – CUPE staffed that office with non-union secretaries -- began speaking up about unfair labour practices. One secretary wrote to Jim Sinclair about the double and triple workloads and office rage she had been expected to absorb from the union brass. She later discovered that the letter had been turned over to the Vancouver Police, which doesn't even have jurisdiction at CUPE 116, and she was investigated for “WORKPLACE HARASSMENT”.

When the secretary reminded Sinclair and CUPE boss, Barry O’Neill, that a woman speaking up about working conditions is not engaging in workplace harassment, something happened that was as mysterious as Santa sliding down your chimney to surprise you with a gift. The “workplace harassment” offense for which she had been investigated and cleared months earlier, suddenly got retroactively changed to “HARASSMENT/OBSCENE COMMUNICATION". What is harassing or obscene about speaking up about working conditions, she would like to know. But that was not a question to ask Sinclair on Christmas Eve, when he was spreading goodwill.

There was lots of goodwill in the donated clothing room at the BC Fed Christmas Eve dinner. One woman at the dinner got a crisp, white, fitted shirt. And she got some brown jeans, a tad faded. "I've worn them both twice already," she has since told me. A man, a former False Creek squatter who now works off and on doing car repairs, told me the other night that he had been at the Maritime Hall dinner and got a beige golf shirt as well as a t-shirt with a Fire Department logo on it. In addition to clothing, the servers let him take home an extra dinner for his roommate.

A guy who came really late was given some potatoes and vegetables. The turkey had run out, so they gave him a whole apple pie to take home to make up for it.

There was a live band playing upbeat Christmas music. The musicians were enthusiastic. But the music was too loud; it was well beyond the level allowed by WorkSafe BC. Bill Simpson, a homeless guy from the Downtown Eastside, came over to our table to say hi, and had to lean over and position his mouth just inches from a person's ear to be heard.

Simpson was chatting about an article in the Christmas Eve edition of the Vancouver Sun. He had been quoted in the article as saying that workers in the Downtown Eastside poverty industry [most of whom are BC Fed members] are "co-dependent" on the poor they serve. In other words, they need the poor to stay poor as the poverty industry is a goldmine of high salaries and union dues.

Everybody walking into the Martime Hall on Christmas Eve was met by two friendly hostesses who said "Merry Christmas", and handed them a ticket which they could exchange on the way out for two small grocery bags filled with carrots, onions, and potatoes.

You can go to the BC Fed Christmas Eve turkey dinner, whether you are poor or not. You can count on nobody being too concerned about who you are. At Christmas everything changes.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Thief Steals Santa's Gift at Carnegie's Annual Boxing Day Turkey Dinner

Carnegie had it’s annual Boxing Day feast today. Free of charge, you could get a sit down turkey dinner in the theatre. Santa was there too. Everyone coming out of the dinner was carrying a gift, a GEAR sports watch. One woman had not had hers for more than 20 minutes before somebody absconded with it.

The woman had gone upstairs to the Carnegie Learning Center and was showing people her new watch. She set it down for a moment -- it was still in the box -- when she got up to show her friend a news article. Presto! The watch vanished.

A man quickly gave her the watch he had just gotten from Santa at the dinner. He said he doesn’t wear a wristwatch and had been keeping an eye out for somebody to give his to.

Even though the woman left with a watch, friends say she was shaken after being the victim of such a brazen theft.

There is a problem with theft at the Carnegie Learning Center. Recently, teacher Betsy Alkenbrach had her wallet stolen from her office. A few months earlier a technician from Vancouver Community Net was very shaken after having his laptop stolen. And Learning Center students still recall the time a few years ago when a new computer printer was purchased and had yet to be bolted down when somebody walked out the door with it.

But no thief could take the turkey filling the stomachs of everyone leaving Carnegie's annual Boxing Day dinner. Four people reported that the dinner was tasty. They were pleased that it was a traditional turkey dinner, unlike in recent years when the Boxing Day dinner has been ham or roast beef. Although the dinner was free, to get a ticket you had to have a Carnegie membership card.

In addition to turkey, each plate served had on it a mix of light and dark meat, gravy, mashed potatoes, breaded dressing with raisons and celery in it, and mixed corn, peas, carrots, and little cubes of turnip. For dessert, there was cake with raisons, apricot, and nuts in it. Also coffee and apple juice.

There were two regular musicians from Carnegie playing Christmas background music on guitars at the dinner. But it wasn't actually in the background. The impression I got from people was that the music was nice but a little too loud. Music and television being played at ear damaging levels is an ongoing problem at Carnegie.

Carnegie Director Ethel Whitty joined other staff to serve plates of food at the Boxing Day dinner. There were three sittings in the Carnegie theatre of about 80-100 people each.

But at the last sitting, the 6 p.m. sitting, some people with advance tickets got turned away. Carnegie had run out of food.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Arrives And Homeless Bill Simpson Remains Barred From Carnegie

And so this is Christmas. And what have you done. . . .

Sam Sullivan, Vancouver's "do nothing" Mayor, and Vancouver City Council have just approved a huge Christmas gift to 600 City managers. These managers, many of whom already make between $100,000-$200,000, will receive an almost 25 per cent wage increase over the next five years.

But they have done nothing for Bill Simpson.

Low income people who frequent the Carnegie Center had hoped that by Christmas, the barring of William "Bill" Simpson from the City-operated Carnegie Center at Main and Hastings would have been lifted. In January 2007, the homeless man was barred from the Learning Center on the third floor of Carnegie Community Center. He was told that he was barred for daring to blog on the Downtown Eastside Enquirer.

One problem: he wasn't the blogger.

In June 2007, two weeks after Simpson was elected by low income people to the Carnegie Board of Directors, he was barred again -- this time from the entire Carnegie Center. Carnegie Director Ethel Whitty and Assistant Director Dan Tetrault -- both richly paid by the City of Vancouver -- delivered him a letter in person barring him indefinitely. Simpson asked Whitty if he could at least enter the building to attend Board meetings and she said no. The letter Simpson received was on City of Vancouver letterhead and was signed by the even more richly paid City General Manager, Jacquie Forbes-Roberts. Forbes-Roberts accused Simpson of operating a website which "features links" to the Downtown Eastside Enquirer.

Wait a minute. When a man is elected in Canada, City managers can't say, We don't like you and you can't come into the building for Board meetings. That denies representation to voters. That's not Canada. That's China. If Santa manoeuvering his clumsy sleigh can figure out where Canada ends and China begins, why can't Mayor Sullivan and his City managers.

As Mayor Sullivan and his henchwomen, Forbes-Roberts and Whitty, wind up a year of blog burning, and of preventing Simpson from setting foot in the well heated Carnegie Center over Christmas, all Downtown Eastside residents can do is go to sleep on Christmas eve with images dancing in our heads of Sullivan facing the electorate next year. Maybe we'll get the last laugh. Ho, Ho, Ho.

Related stories:
City of Vancouver Bars Elected Blogger From Board Meetings

City on "weak, weak ground" in Barring Elected Blogger

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Sixty Santas Show Up At The Ivanhoe Hotel

On Saturday evening, Dec. 15, 2007, roughly 60 Santas swarmed into the Ivanhoe Hotel, adjacent to Pacific Station on the Downtown Eastside.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Let Them Eat Turkey

At noon today, about a thousand people showed up for the film industry's annual outdoor Christmas dinner at Oppenheimer Park on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

Turkey is what Downtown Eastsiders are left with since the povertarians stopped the trickle of film industry wealth that reached the poor. A few years ago, for example, there was a Claude Van Damme film on the Downtown Eastside and the film company gave people whose lives were severely disrupted $100 each. That doesn’t happen any more.

Povertarians at the Downtown Eastside Residents Association and some of the housing co-ops made deals with the film companies, supposedly “on behalf” of people whose lives are disrupted. A guy who has lived for years at a housing co-op on Powell St. explains that the film industry has at times given his co-op $1,500, selling out residents whose lives are disrupted by filming, particularly residents who have apartments at street level. They get nothing now. Except a headache from sleep cut short and noise, lights, and constant exhaust fumes from idling trucks. In exchange for the donation from the film industry, the Co-op appoints a "film liaison" to handle complaints from residents. Any resident living in a small suite, putting up with filming just meters from their bed and fumes coming through their only window, is no longer individually factored into the production costs of a film. To the film companies, they seem to be nothing more than, to use an expression made popular on Coast to Coast radio, "useless eaters".

A few years back, the film industry was printing the newsletter for the cash-strapped Downtown Eastside Resident’s Association. Not surprisingly when residents came out to a town hall meeting to air grievances about the film industry, DERA’s then Executive Director, Terry Hanley, opened the meeting by asking them at the beginning of the meeting to “be nice” to film industry representatives. It was at this meeting that one resident recalls first learning that turkey was what the film industry would be 'giving back' to the community; compensation to individual residents seemed to be off the table.

DERA also arranged for the film industry to hire Downtown Eastside residents, which translated into their friends and political allies, not to mention Hanley’s brother and common law husband. Such deals became a substitute for the film companies giving a few bucks compensation to residents sucking tail pipes or being kept up late by the film crews. I could go on for pages about this. But what it has all boiled down to now is:

Let them eat turkey.

So I went for turkey. My friend and I stood in the line up today – it had stopped raining by this time but the ground was thick with mud -- for about 10 minutes. The dressing was tasty, lots of mushrooms in it. It’s the best stove-top dressing I’ve ever tasted. With the turkey (I was pleased to get some dark meat), there was gravy and a heap of cranberries, mixed corn and carrots, and mashed potatoes. The meal, served in styrofoam, was steaming hot.

The guys handling the turkey and other hot food inside the catering trucks – there were several catering trucks -- were working their asses off. I noticed it. Another guy noticed it too. “See how fast those guys are moving,” he said.

There were also two clothing tents, one for women and one for men. The line-ups to the tents were long. It was about a 40 minute wait. Some of the people – correction: many of the people – in the line-up were rough. They were occasionally yelling at one another while grabbing clothes inside both the men's and the women's tents.

The clothes were decent. One long time Downtown Eastside resident pointed out that the drug users will sell them for crack or something. Staff gave everyone a black garbage bag to fill with clothes. That was your limit. A women who came out of the women's clothing tent with a full bag told me that there was one man in there -- all the rest were women -- and he was the 'enforcer', telling women, "OK, you're bag is full. You have to go now." He was mostly targeting the women who were getting unruly, she said. She is not a drug user and got a few sweaters, and dressy cardigans which she intends to wear if she finds a job next year. She also got lots of second hand socks. "I really need socks," she said.

A middle-age man got the first pair of dress pants, grey, that he’s had in years. And he got a pair of black wing-tip shoes.

As people stood in the line-up for food or clothing, volunteer staff walked back and forth handing out raw carrot and celery sticks, pretzels, Nestle’s lemonade coolers, Coke Zero, oranges and bananas, even tailor-made cigarettes. They also gave out brand new winter hats and gloves, and plastic baggies containing, shampoo, toothpaste, and soap. One woman, the same one who needed the socks, was happy to get some shampoo. She also got a black hat with stripes that had a “Dollar Giant” tag still on it.

The staff and volunteers working at the event were all fresh-faced, middle-class. They were pleasant and patient, even when people in the line ups occasionally lost their tempers and started yelling at one another.

There was a live band too. Not a band hamstrung by political correctness either. They were daring to sing songs containing the words “Christmas” and “Jesus”. Like the song that goes, "Go tell it on the mountain, that Jesus Christ is born." I would bet that most of the people in the workers and underclass people in the line ups were raised Christian. Most were white or native, with the occasional Chinese person.

The Turkey tactic has worked. Most Downtown Eastside residents no longer ask for compensation for having lives disrupted by the film industry. They seem resigned to the fact that the povertarians who run their lives, have shut down any semblance of a free wheeling market in the film industry. They line up for turkey in the drizzle and the mud. Don't get me wrong; there are still some old cases being fought. Like the one of a woman who felt that the filming of "It's a Girl Thing" starring Kate Capshaw -- with a guy who looked like Steven Spielberg, helping to direct the actresses -- turned into an abuse thing. And there's the case of the woman made ill by a generator during the making of a Honda commercial on the 100 block Powell St. Let’s just say she sees Muriel Honey at the Vancouver Film Office not as Santa, more as Freddie Kruger.

The fact that Downtown Eastside residents are supposed to be satisfied with turkey as payment in kind for film disruptions is not subtle. In one of the above complaints, a woman was told in writing by an industry spokesperson that the industry hosts a turkey dinner every year to give back to the community. She resents the assumption by the film industry that junkies and low lifes are her "community" and she does not believe that lining up with such an unpredictable crowd at the park in the rainy season should be a substitute for compensation. When residents of Kerrisdale were irritated by fake snow dropped on their houses, a female resident complained about it to an news television crew but added, "Of course, we got compensation." Kerrisdale residents were not told to line-up for turkey.

A guy dressed up like Santa was standing near the band at the turkey dinner today. But Downtown Eastsiders know the truth; there is no Santa in the film industry. He's been hijacked in his sleigh.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Criminal Investigation Into United Way Requested

Today a Vancouver woman requested that the new Vancouver Police Chief, Jim Chu, ensure that a criminal investigation she requested into United Way in 2003 is carried out. She had asked that United Way be investigated for fraud/public mischief.

The original request for an investigation was made after then United Way director, Ron Dumouchelle, lodged a police complaint against the woman in an attempt to prevent the dissemination of a Report on United Way to donors. The woman makes a compelling case that evidence in the police report was consistently fabricated or misrepresented and that it culminated in an effort to subject her to "political psychiatry" under fraudulent pretenses. She points out that United Way was not the sole offender here. Constables J.P. St. Amant and Lee Patterson, after being briefed by Dumouchelle and anonymous witnesses at United Way, played a major role in libelling her in the report. "It was a joint effort," she says. "It looks from the report like they were feeding off one another."

Shortly after requesting the criminal investigation in 2003, the woman received a telephone call from Sergeant Warrent Lemecke informing her that the criminal investigation was being postponed until a complaint she had lodged with the Police Complaints Commission in the case was processed. The VPD did not, Lemecke claimed, want to perform "parallel investigations". "It was an excuse," she says. "The Vancouver Police collect donations for United Way and the last thing they want to do is investigate them."

The fraud and political psychiatry to which the woman was subjected, she alleges, has done irreparable harm to her wellbeing and reputation. In seeking an investigation, she has the support of the ad hoc group, Canadians Opposing Political Psychiatry [COPP]. COPP is encouraging individuals targeted for "political psychiatry" to insist that a criminal investigation be carried out.

School Board Boss Asked to Resign from United Way Board of Directors

In recognition of International Human Rights Day last week, Chris Kelly, Superintendent of the Vancouver School Board, was asked to resign as a member of the Board of Directors of the United Way of the Lower Mainland.

The Dec. 11 request was made by a woman -- known in previous posts as the whistleblower --who alleges she became a target of political psychiatry by the Vancouver School Board in Nov. 2002, after announcing her intent to campaign in the then upcoming election about VSB "duplicity" in handling bullying complaints.

This is the second time the whistleblower has asked Kelly to resign from the United Way Board. She first made the request on November 6, 2007. Kelly didn't acknowledge receipt of the request even though she asked him to do so.

The whistleblower has the support of Canadians Opposing Political Psychiatry in requesting Kelly's resignation from United Way. It is the position of COPP that it is hypocritical for Kelly to be using United Way to promote himself as an individual committed to the larger social good, while he has done nothing in response to evidence that “political psychiatry” is being practiced by the Vancouver School Board to undermine political opposition. Political psychiatry practiced by the VSB, according to COPP, is similar to that practiced in China and the former Soviet Union.

Kelly was not an actual instigator of the alleged political psychiatry which has led to the request for his resignation. The political psychiatry was instigated in Nov. 2002, while the VSB was searching for a new Superintendent. When Kelly was hired as Superintendent, he inherited the political psychiatry scandal, a case which one VSB administrator referred to in a memo as "an ongoing problem."

Failure by Kelly to address evidence of political psychiatry practiced at the VSB resulted in COPP, "as a last resort", organizing an international boycott of high school diplomas issued by the Vancouver School Board. "Kelly had ample opportunity to avert that boycott," says the whistleblower. "He knew about it for years before it ended up on the internet." The future of every student in the school system is being affected by that boycott, but she says she has never seen Kelly show the slightest concern about it.

United Way promotes Kelly on their website as a visionary. In fact, he kicked off the United Way Campaign in September with a speech promoted on their official website as “a powerful vision."

Even the alleged fraud and misogyny to which the whistleblower was subjected after the VSB arranged for her to become the target of political psychiatry seemed to be within the comfort zone of Kelly. He has done nothing about the administrator who arranged for the whistleblower to become the target of political psychiatry after Sergeant Garry Lester, the VSB School Liaison, told him that there was "nothing untoward" about her conduct.

Kelly has done nothing about the fact that any sign of competence or intellectual ability in the female whistleblower was identified as social deviance by the psych nurse briefed by the VSB at the beginning of the political psychiatry exercise. Her letter announcing that she would be campaigning in an upcoming election was identified as "BIZARRE" behaviour. The fact that she had taken the time in the letter to substantiate claims by several people that their bullying complaints against a physically and verbally abusive teacher had been mishandled was considered suspect -- "It's "a little long, don't you think?", the psych nurse asked, peering at her through squinted eyes. [The psych nurse admitted that he had not read the letter but was relying on a briefing by the VSB.] Papers and books scattered around the whistleblower's computer in her work environment appeared to be the basis for the label "cluttered" in the report. The fact that she had submitted routine Freedom of Information requests was considered a key sign of mental illness -- in fact, "freedom of information requests" was the SOLE entry in the section of the psych report requiring that the official reason for the visit be identified.

Even vigorous physical exercise by the whistleblower was considered a sign of social deviance. When the psych nurse recruited by the VSB intercepted the whistleblower after her exercise class when she was still wearing her gym clothes, the fact that she was sweating appeared to be used against her. She was identified as having "strong body odor".

In campaign advertisements, United Way claims that, "Everyone's potential can be realized." The contradiction between this claim by United Way and practices at the Vancouver School Board which appear to be within the comfort zone of Kelly was cited as a reason why he should resign as a United Way Board member.

Attitudes of the VSB can best be summed up by comparing the resources they invested in attempting to discredit the whistleblower as a mental case, while avoiding investigation of a clearly disturbed male VSB administrator. This male administrator was working as a Principal at a VSB school in Nov. 2002 and appeared, the whistleblower says, to become "fixated" on her. "I had never been to his school," says the whistleblower, "I had never spoken to him; I had never heard of him; I had never expressed an interest in going to his school. But he had it in for me." But this Principal was determined to subject the whistleblowing woman to political psychiatry. He showed VPD-School Liaison, Sgt. Garry Lester, a copy of the whistleblower's letter announcing her intent to campaign in the upcoming tightly contested election. This was his basis for wanting her targeted for a psychiatric assessment at her home, assessment for potential apprehension to a mental hospital. Lester read the letter and told him that there was "nothing untoward" about the whistleblower's letter. But the administrator pressed Lester to essentially perform an illicit favor and approve the visit. "This is fraud," says the whistleblower, who in turn pushed for a criminal investigation.

This Principal then turned up at the whistleblower's home. He seemed to be "under the influence of alcohol or something" and pressed her to drop her complaints. He stood on the sidewalk speaking to her over her intercom, at one point telling her that if she had to deal with the "little c*nts and their mothers" that he had to deal with on a daily basis, she wouldn't last. Her livingroom window is close to ground level, just a few meters from the building's intercom system, which resulted in the Principal's loud, belligerent comments being heard by a man sitting in her apartment. The incident was reported in writing to the VSB and they were given the name of the witness and how he could be reached before he left town. The VSB did not contact either the whistleblower or the witness. Kelly, in the years since, has continued to allow this administrator to be in charge of children. "[This Principal] tried to do serious harm to the reputation and wellbeing of a woman he had never met and Kelly acts like it's business as usual for this guy."

"I believe. . . . that everyone deserves respect". That's one of the lines in this year's United Way campaign advertisement.

Not only was the whistleblower disrespected but she felt terrorized enough by VSB political psychiatry tactics that she did not campaign in the Nov. 2002 election. But she feels that the terror campaign initiated by the VSB has never ended. Kelly has done nothing to get the life long record that anybody targeted for political psychiatry -- even when cleared -- has adjacent to their name on the police computer system. Second, she says, Kelly has "left me dangling", never knowing to whom the VSB will next release the defamatory political psychiatry file they have on her. She discovered through Freedom of Information that her file had repeatedly been released by VSB staff to individuals external to the VSB Head Office. Kelly failed to respond to her written request dated Nov. 7, 2007 that, due to the "extreme level of libel" associated with the political psychiatry, he stop allowing her name to be released in regard to this case. He had to work within privacy legislation, she reminded him. The whistleblower has reason to be concerned about security as the "political psychiatry" record she was left with as a result of VSB actions has surfaced on two occasions to interfere with her life. "I feel stalked," says the whistleblower, "and Kelly doesn't seem to care how I'm treated."

"I believe. . . that every person has value." That's a line from a United Way Campaign advertisement.

This is a bad time for Kelly's link to political psychiatry to be exposed. United Way was exposed just two months ago for having a more direct link to political psychiatry. A Dec. 2002 case surfaced in which United Way had attempted to stop the dissemination of a Report on United Way by arranging for police to begin visiting a woman thought to be making it available to donors. The resulting police report has since been demonstrated to be rife with fabricated and misrepresented evidence. As United Way worked with police on the case, a VPD Car 87 assessment of the woman was arranged under allegedly fraudulent pretenses. Car 87 assesses a targeted individual for apprehension to a mental hospital.

If Chris Kelly fails to resign from the United Way Board of Directors, it is time that his fellow Board members request that he do so. COPP and the whistleblower agree with United Way campaign advertisements: "That a safe, supportive community is everyone's responsibility."

Does John Edwards' Alleged Affair Matter?

It's hard to miss allegations on the internet that the married with children Democratic presidential hopeful, John Edwards, had an affair with Rielle Hunter. Hunter worked with Edwards producing videos for his campaign. And now she's very pregnant.

The National Enquirer has been pounding away at this story. You can bet that they believe their source is reliable and have had them polygraphed. They know who they're dealing with: Edwards is the son of a mill worker who got rich working as a litigator. The National Enquirer may have lost their nerve at one point, as the story was dropped from their website. But it was not long before they had slapped it right back up again.

The National Enquirer photographed Hunter coming out of the office of her ob/gyn wearing a black sweater with a white heart on the front -- sorry Reille, Edwards' heart is with the woman he recently told the media he's loved for "30 years plus". His wife may have gotten fat and gotten cancer but he still sees her as his one and only, which made me respect him ...while I still believed him.

The Edwards camp has claimed -- it took them awhile to get around to it -- that the father of Hunter's unborn child is Andrew Young, a close aid to Edwards. Hunter also claimed in a written statement that Young was the father. But the National Enquirer claims that Hunter told a source that Andrew Young, his wife and young children, had come over to her home for dinner. The National Enquirer, being as sharp as the Downtown Eastside Enquirer, asked the question: Does a guy bring his wife and kids over to the home of the mistress he's knocked up?

Andrew Young is not a man who can be entirely relied upon for the truth, even when it comes to his own name. When the naughty National Enquirer showed up at his home, he denied he was Andrew Young. He responded to questions by yelling that they didn't even know who they were talking to. When his wife suddenly called him "Andrew", he shot her a dirty look.

Even Reille Hunter is a shaky source when it comes to her own name. She has previously been known as Lisa Druck. But when she answered her door when the National Enquirer came knocking, she told them she was neither.

Neither Hunter or Young have accepted the National Enquirer's offer to take a polygraph. One of the first things they ask on those tests is your name.

The mainstream media is finding this story impossible to ignore. On the CBS evening news recently, Katie Couric began poking around. Edwards responded, "I think that, as you point out, there have been American presidents that at least according to the … stories we’ve all heard, that were not faithful, that were in fact good presidents. So I don't think it controls the issue."

There is no shortage of people who agree with Edwards. A friend of mine in Canada's left wing New Democratic Party says he believes it matters not a whit whether a politician has affairs behind his wife's back. A conservative friend believes it generally doesn't matter, but adds that when a politician's wife and mother of his small children has cancer, it does matter.

I believe affairs matter, especially if a politician is playing the family values card. They speak to character. They tell us that this politician is a person who says one thing and does another.

If Edwards did have an affair, his name would be added to a long list that includes many more names than Bill Clinton. I recall Hillary Clinton being grilled about Bill's affairs during an election campaign and diverting attention to his rival, George Bush: Do you think George Bush has never had an affair? And I remember Gary Hart getting caught frolicking with Donna soon-to-be-a-Guess-jeans model, on his yacht. Hart was actually a model of classiness compared to married Senator Larry Craig from Idaho who recently stuck his hand under the wall of an airport bathroom stall, attempting to grab some sex on the go. His wife stood beside him when he later resigned.

Just as Elizabeth Edwards stands beside John on the campaign trail as the accusations of infidelity fly. Not the sort of stress a woman should be under when her breast cancer has returned and spread to her ribs.

When reporters on the campaign trail asked Edwards about the National Enquirer article, he said, "The story is false. It's completely untrue, ridiculous."

If there proves to be any truth to the story of an affair and pregnancy behind the back of Edwards' cancer-stricken wife, voters may be tempted to dismiss him: See you later, litigator.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

DETAIL Left Out Of Press Conference About Aqsa Parvez' Murder

A press conference about the murder of Aqsa Parvez given extensive coverage by the CBC and CTV "features Sheik Alaa El-Sayyed, imam and head of Mississauga’s Islamic Society of North America — that’s the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) that has been declared [by U.S. prosecutors] an unindicted co-conspirator in terrorist financing, a small point left out of every single account of this event."

That quote is from Morgaan Sinclair's article, "Why Is This Girl Dead??? Aqsa Parvez and Islamic Double Speak" on Blogger News Network. Sheik El-Sayyed said at the press conference that the murder of Aqsa Parvez has nothing to do with Islam.

[Dag, who used to contribute to Jihaad Watch, says Sinclair is correct about the ISNA being an unindicted co-conspirator.]

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Evidence That The Murder of Aqsa Parvez Was Pre-meditated

Muhammed Parvez faces second degree murder charges for strangling his daughter, Asqa, on Monday. But prosecutors continue to interview her friends and have the option of raising the charge to first degree, if there is enough evidence that the murder was pre-meditated. There is some evidence of pre-meditation:

“She got threatened by her father and her brother,” said Dominiquia Holmes-Thompson, who had known Aqsa since the two entered high school. “He said that if she leaves, he would kill her.”

Comments from friends to the media also revealed that when Asqa would spot her brother on the street, she would scramble to put on her hibjab, saying,"He'll kill me."

But it is unlikely that the charge will be raised to first degree murder because the standard of proof "beyond a reasonable doubt" is so high. The fact that Asqa had gone home to get her belongings when she was killed by her father on Monday morning, could be used by the defense to raise doubt in a jury's mind about how seriously the advance threats to kill her should be taken.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Courage of Aqsa Parvez

Islam kills girls and women all the time. Kills them, beats them, cuts off their clitorises. So it came as no surprise that Aqsa Parvez had the life strangled out of her.

When 16 yr. old Mississauga high school student, Asqa Parvez, stood up to her fundamentalist Islamic father, Muhammed Parvez, over his insistence that she wear a hijab and succumb to other religious restraints, she risked being killed. And according to her friends, she knew it. She knew Islam.

Aqsa’s friend, Dominiquia Holmes-Thompson, 16, recalled Aqsa saying that it was possible that something could “happen” to her. Asqa was afraid of her father, according to friends, who say he strictly controlled her and would not allow her to go out. She was seen at school with bruises. She began staying at the home of a high school friend, defying her father. “He said that if she leaves, he would kill her”, Holmes-Thompson says.

Asqa was willing to stay in a shelter. But she returned home one last time, reportedly after her brother saw her at a bus stop and offered to take her home to get a change of clothing. It is not uncommon for a brother in a Muslim family in Pakistan — where Asqa was born — to lure a girl to a place where the family can make her the target of an “honor killing”, an angle now being investigated by police. It was after Asqa returned home that her father called 911 and said, “I killed my daughter.”

When Asqa -- Al Asqa is the name of a Muslim Holy site -- stood up to her fundamentalist Islamic father, she was doing a favor for women everywhere at risk from Islam. Like those who fought Sharia law in Ontario, did all women a favor. And like a few female teachers in Ontario did all women a favor a few years back when they said they did not want girls to wear the hijab in their classrooms because it was a sign of the subjugation of women.

And now Asqa’s dead, which underscores just why Islam has to be stood up to, instead of being coddled by the great Canadian multi-culti bear hug.

Guess who else had an Islamic father who believed women should be subordinate? Marc Lepine, aka Gamil Gharbi, who massacred 14 women at L'ecole Polytechnique in Montreal. (See "Wet P*ssy Benches" Commemorate Murdered Women on this blog.)

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Butt-Grabber Busted

At a dance in the Carnegie theatre on Saturday night, a man helped himself to the butts of several women on the dance floor. He just started grabbing their butts.

Police came and he was handcuffed and arrested.

Nine women gave statements to police. At 2:30 a.m., some of them were still at the police station giving statements.

Jail for Grandson of Medicare

Booking photo of Keifer Sutherland taken Dec. 5, 2007 and released by the Glendale Police Department.

Keifer Sutherland started his 48 day jail sentence for his third drunk driving conviction on Dec. 5th. Sutherland is known as the character, Jack Bauer, in the television series '24'. But Canadians know who he really is.

Keifer Sutherland is the grandson of Tommy Douglas, father of Canada's universal medicare system.

Keifer Sutherland was born to Shirley Douglas, the only biological child of Tommy Douglas. An actor herself, Shirley Douglas gave birth to Keifer and his twin sister, Rachel, when she was married to actor Donald Sutherland.

Keifer Sutherland is not the only star in the family. Tommy Douglas was voted "The Greatest Canadian" of all time in a televised contest hosted by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in 2004. And he had been dead for decades.

Douglas was known as a modest man. He wasn't above giving a speech standing in the back of a farmer's manure spreader, although he did joke that he was standing on the platform of the opposition. And he always took the position that if it wasn't for the hard-working grassroots people promoting him, he wouldn't be in the position he was in. Some of that was his Saskatchewan upbringing: in Saskatchewan, you never act like you're better than anybody else.

You can see that lack of snobbery in Keifer Sutherland. Autograph collector Michael Wehrmann told the New York Post newspaper that until his arrest, Sutherland had not snubbed people seeking autographs: "He was one of the best. He would always stand and sign for a half hour...."

It was when Sutherland's grandfather became leader of North America's first socialist government, the New Democratic Party government in Saskatchewan, that he pushed for a universal medicare program. As a child, Douglas had injured his leg and it would have been amputated if a doctor, who saw the condition as one his students could learn from, had agreed to give him free treatment. But that experience solidified Douglas' belief that health care was a right, not something that should be dependent on the generosity of others.

Douglas pushed for a Canada wide medicare program when he left provincial politics and became leader of the federal New Democratic Party, a party which claims to be committed to improving the lives of the working class. That was the class that famed Canadian writer Alice Munroe grew up in, and she says it wasn't all bad. Now in her 70's, Munroe says there was a freedom in growing up in the working class, not a lot of pressure about what you did with your life, as long as you stayed out of jail.

Friday, December 7, 2007

"Wet P*ssy Benches" Commemorate Murdered Women

Yesterday was the 18th anniversary of the murder of 14 women at L’ecole Polytechnique in Montreal by Marc Lepine. Last night there were lit candles and fresh flowers on each bench in a large circle of 14 pink granite benches in front of Pacific Station in Vancouver. The benches are a monument to murdered women in Canada, prompted by the Montreal massacre.

Downtown Eastside residents have been known to refer to this monument as the “Wet P*ssy Benches”.

That’s because each stone bench has the shape of a vulva carved into the top of it. What do you get when you carve that shape into a stone bench in rainy Vancouver? A puddle.

Benches that you discover you can't actually sit on are not the only misleading aspect of this monument though. This monument is part of a Canada wide censoring of the real story: the fact that the killing of these 14 women was at least partially a product of the misogyny of Islam.

Media avoid mentioning during events commemorating the Montreal massacre, that Mark Lapine’s name was Gamil Gharbi, until he changed it at the age of 14. That’s a Muslim name. His father was an Algerian-born follower of Islam, whose Canadian-born wife discovered, as she told a divorce court, that he "had a total disdain for women and believed they were intended only to serve men." It’s not an accident that he had that attitude. That’s what Mohammed taught, the prophet who spoke for Allah.

And it may not be an accident that his son Marc Lepine was yelling “alla akber or something…” as he gunned women down, a female witness told a radio station on the day of the massacre. That was reported by writer Mark Steyn, whose source was a good friend in Montreal. But that radio interview was never to be heard again. Censored.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somalia-born devout Muslim who became a feminist and has written about Islam’s misogyny, says that Islam, unlike other religions, is determined to push the world back into the 7th Century. Islam responded by issuing a death order. She now needs 24 hr. guards. That’s the way Islam deals with feminists. It’s hardly surprising that Marc Lepine yelling, “feminists!” as he gunned down women at L’ecole Polytechnique.
Where the monument gets misleading is on a pink granite track on the ground encircling the benches. On the track are carved the names of hundreds of women murdered by men. This is the treacherous track to moral equivalance. No distinction is made between Marc Lepine and murderers from cultural backgrounds which view the killing of women as an aberration that should not go unpunished. Lepine was socialized under Islam, which teaches that it is acceptable to murder uppity women. Hirsi Ali lived in terror of being murdered by her father when he sent her to Canada for an arranged marriage and she instead detoured to Holland.

In front of the circle of benches is a pink granite arch that reads, "Marker for Change". Come on. Things aren't going to change until people can talk about the contribution of Islam's misogyny to the massacre of the Montreal women without being afraid of the politically correct types -- some of whom were no doubt involved in the planning of the monument -- dismissing them as racist. Until we can commemorate the murdered women by being honest about what victimized them, monuments like the one in front of Pacific Station are just useless wet p*ssy benches in the rain.

Mike Quits Carnegie Board

Last night at the Carnegie Center Board meeting, a decision was made to remove Grant Chancy from the Board as he has not shown up at a meeting for some time. This means that a by-election to fill Chancy's seat will have to be held.

Michael Read, Secretary, did not want the Board to remove Chancy as it would increase his stress level. Read announced that if the Board did this, he would have to resign too. And he did.

The Carnegie Board is having trouble keeping seats filled. Two weeks after a homeless man, William Simpson, was elected to the Board last June, Carnegie Executive Director Ethel Whitty delivered him a letter from the City barring him indefinitely. He was accused of operating a website which "features links" to a blog which criticizes Carnegie staff. Simpson stands on the sidewalk out front during Board meetings. The incident lead to international news coverage of Vancouver's "blog burning" City staff.

Board member Sophie Friegang wanted a review of the barring of her fellow Board member, Simpson, saying a "terrible mistake" had been made. No luck though. So she resigned too. She submitted a letter stating something to the effect that she couldn't work with a people who did not respect human rights.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Man Throws Soup, Gets Arrested

On Sunday night, a French guy who sometimes volunteers as a dishwasher at Carnegie Center in exchange for food vouchers, got into an argument with Anthony, a kitchen supervisor and CUPE member.

The French guy was heard yelling near the cash register while buying soup. He then walked into the larger cafeteria area which was crowded with people sitting at tables eating their dinner. it was roughly 6:30 p.m.

Security guards, all CUPE members, were already in the cafeteria. It is possible that Anthony had called them when the argument started. Carnegie staff are quick to call security when an argument erupts.

The French guy threw his ceramic bowl of soup at Phil, a veteran security guard. There was soup on the floor, spread across the length of the room. Phil and a new security guard grabbed the guy. Phil called John, a security guard who was in an adjacent dining area, to come and help.

The three guards held the French guy down. One was holding his legs, one his arms, one his shoulders. A witness said, "It was like everybody was remembering the tasering [death] at the airport and they made sure to give this guy space to breath."

Security called Vancouver Police who arrived in less than 5 minutes and put handcuffs on the guy.