As I wrote yesterday- Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES) has become a power-base for some of the more radical elements of the NDP. The Old-Left Saviour Industrial Complex (OLSIC®) have been profiting off of the poor in a number of ways including political power, union jobs and many millions of dollars in funding. Today’s story is about how this funding is used and manipulated for the benefit of politicians.
Today’s story also has an element of corruption…
The W2 Media Centre’s sordid history began long before it’s conception. The building where W2 resides is inside of Vancouver’s infamous Woodward’s Building. The site originally belonged to a large department store that went bankrupt in 1993. The building was abandoned for many years until it was finally decided to turn it into condos- that’s when the fit hit the shan.
A group of the usual suspects decided to do everything within their power to stop the development. They started off with a squat inside the old building. When they were kicked out of the squat, they setup a tent city on the sidewalk. Some of the squatters included Marxist troublemaker Ivan Drury, Kevin Annett’s sidekick Ricky Lavallee, and anarchist flower shop owner Ruth Meta.
As Meta explained it to me, W2 was part of a compromise use to pacify the radical campers. The developer and the city provided a space that was supposed to be used as a media centre for people in the DTES community- unfortunately, things didn’t turn-out as expected. The only place you’ll find people in genuine need at the W2 is at the front door, asking people for change.
That’s not to say that the W2 isn’t blessed with its share of diversity- you wouldn’t believe the cast of characters who pass through the place. Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson will be there on Friday morning, David Eby has had multiple appearances, Renewal Partners books space there, TIDES Canada too- even NDP leader Thomas Mulcair.
David Eby and Thomas Mulcair aren’t the dirtiest things to happen at W2 though. This is also the site of the infamous Occupy Vancouver video where Sasha Wiley-Shaw (Creepy Bittergrrl) participated in a mass bullying of a man who asked hard questions about OV’s finances.
Not dirty enough yet? Well, I’ve got more- the W2 Media Centre has also been used for rave nights (with bars) and sadomasochist sex parties. I’ve alerted mayor Gregor Robertson about this situation- but, he has yet to have responded.
W2 is also the location of one of the most shameful incidents in the history of the Vancouver activist community. It was shortly after the anarchist violence at the 2010 Olympics when they held a debate between pro-violence anarchist Harsha Walia and peace activist Derrick O’Keefe. Walia packed the audience with people who backed her and they collectively bullied O’Keefe for the crime of speaking out against violence.
Up until a couple of hours ago, I thought that was as dirty as the W2 got. But, then, I discovered an article from Jeff Lee in the Vancouver Sun that raises some interesting new questions. What Lee published was a list of organizations that paid for tables at a fundraising event for VISION Vancouver– the political party of Mayor Gregor Robertson.
Think about this for a moment. The City of Vancouver gives the property to W2, a non-profit, so that they can provide services to the people of the DTES. Instead, they provide services to political parties, anarchists, rave clubs and sex parties. Then, with the money they raised, W2 pays-out for a table at a fundraiser for the mayor’s political party.
Is this legal? I don’t know- I don’t have enough knowledge about Canadian campaign contribution laws. That said, the whole situation seems a bit immoral. There’s a conflict of interest here- right? What percentage of W2’s activities are dedicated to political activities? It seems like a lot…
Perhaps this explains how Gregor Robertson has neglected to take any action over W2 using city-provided space for sex parties. After all if W2 is such an essential space for VISION and the NDP, and as long as their busy raising funds to them- how could would Robertson imagine interfering with them?
And, as usual, the people who the space was dedicated for are outside pan-handling at the entrance…