Vision outlines action on overdose crisis, child care while NPA remains silent

The Vision team - Heather DealCatherine EvansDiego Cardona, and Tanya Paz - released their platform for a fairer and more compassionate city today, outlining the next steps they will champion on issues ranging from drug addiction to homelessness to inequality and child care.

“Voting for the Vision team on October 20th means five solid votes on City Council for making Vancouver a fairer, more compassionate city,” said Vision candidate Diego Cardona. “Our platform stands in stark contrast with the NPA and other right-wing parties, who think City Hall is simply ‘a business’ and degrade the city’s most vulnerable residents by calling them ‘vagrants’ and ‘crackheads.’”

The Vision team will make life better for Vancouver residents by fighting for:

  • Real Action to Address the Opioid Crisis - The Vision team will build on the City’s integrated plan to address the opioid crisis by championing:
    • Overdose Prevention Sites in Supportive Housing: We will support expanding these life-saving centres to housing where many overdose deaths occur;
    • Opioid Crisis Fund - We will champion a dedicated fund that will provide more  support for front-line first responders and not-for-profits dealing with the crisis;
    • A Focus on Mental Health and Addiction: We will push for more federal, provincial and municipal collaboration that brings together medical experts, first responders, academics, people with lived experience, and non-profit operators to identify and tackle the challenges that lead to addiction and overdose;
    • Clean Drug Supply - We will work to ensure the availability of clean, prescription options for people suffering from addiction to prevent overdoses;
    • Decriminalization of Possession, Get Tougher on Trafficking - We will advocate for decriminalization of small amounts of drugs while increasing efforts to curb traffickers who are pushing large amounts of dangerous drugs; and
    • Public Awareness - We will work for more opioid and fentanyl public awareness programs to educate people about the dangers of opioids and how to get help, with a strong focus on de-stigmatization and prevention among kids
  • Real Action to Address Poverty and Homelessness - The Vision team will work to make sure we live up to our collective responsibility to support one another by fighting to:
    • Double Modular Housing - We will increase the number of quick-to-build homes that provide homes for the homeless that connect people with the housing, health and social supports they need to be safe and healthy; we’ll fight to make sure Vancouver has 1,200 temporary modular homes in place by 2020;
    • Increase Shelter Space - Shelters are often the first step of moving people into more permanent housing , which is why Vision will work to double that number by 2020, identifying an additional five to ten sites across the city and working to secure provincial funding support;
    • Implement a Poverty Reduction Strategy - Poverty reduction is homelessness prevention. Right now, our city is working with community groups to co-develop the Vancouver Poverty Reduction Plan to increase social equity and reduce poverty. Vision will work to make sure that the plan is adopted and funded;
    • Address Indigenous Poverty and Homelessness - The stark overrepresentation of Indigenous people in homelessness in Vancouver and across the country highlights the impacts of colonialism and intergenerational trauma experienced by many Indigenous peoples. Vision is committed to continuing engagement with Indigenous partners to develop a 10-year strategy that identifies short and long-term goals, targets, and sites for Indigenous housing and wellness in the region, including identifying specific targets for Vancouver;
    • Expand Winter Drop-in Space; Vision believes all residents should have a safe, warm place to come inside to during the cold winter months; we plan to work with the Park Board and our community centres to identify additional locations for drop-in space for homeless Vancouverites during cold weather every winter;
    • Reduce Transit Fares for Children and People with Low Incomes - Vision is committed to working with the BC government to fund a social fare program that will reduce the cost of transit for low-income individuals and families with children, to boost transit use and make life more affordable;
  • Real Action for More Child Care - The Vision team will fight for more high-quality, affordable, licensed child care to make life better and more affordable for Vancouver families; Vision has always been a strong and vocal advocate for child care at every level of government, and we’ve been long-standing supporters of the $10 a Day childcare plan; Vision councillors and school board trustees will work together with the B.C. government and other partners  to open up more child care spaces for licensed, not-for-profit child care providers, on a cost-recovery basis
  • Real Action for Good Jobs and a Living Wage - The Vision team will fight for a strong, sustainable economy that works for people by fighting for:
    • Green Jobs -- We will fight to keep Vancouver a hotbed for green and tech jobs;
    • Fair Wages - Continuing to be Canada’s largest living wage employer and expanding the policy to include the Vancouver School Board;
    • Tackle Precarious Work - We will press the city to take strong action to understand the impacts of precarious work and take action to support people;
    • A Jobs Plan Where Everyone Matters - We will work to increase support for CIty programs that support people who are under-represented in the workforce from finding stable, well-paying jobs;
    • More Affordable Housing -- We will work for more affordable housing for workers of all incomes in every neighbourhood, and to help small businesses attract and retain the best and brightest, as part of our commitment to build 88,000 housing units over the next decade and triple the empty homes tax; and;
    • Public Transit - We will champion better public transit for workers who count on it to travel to their job, including a strong commitment to extending the Broadway Subway to UBC.
  • Real Action for an Engaged City - the Vision team will work to make sure residents are heard in decision-making, and that the way we elect people reflects the wishes of residents and promotes a city where all voices are heard; that includes fighting for:
    • A Citizens Assembly on Local Election Reform - We will work to review and make recommendations on the structure of the city’s elected offices and electoral processes to ensure how we elect people and govern the city best reflects the wishes of the people who live here, and
    • A Commitment to Inclusion - We will work to ensure the City prioritizes engagement with people who continue to be underrepresented in city decision-making, including millennials, newcomers and urban Indigenous people, while recognizing that each group is diverse and has many points of community connection.
  • We Are Committed to Reconciliation - Vision is committed to a sustained relationship of mutual respect and understanding with local First Nations and the Urban Indigenous community, incorporating a First Nations and Urban Indigenous perspective into our work and decisions, and providing services that benefit members of the First Nations and Urban Indigenous community;
  • We Believe Women - the Vision team will be allies to survivors of sexual assault and sexual harassment, and stand strong to ensure all people are treated with dignity and respect.

“Vision Vancouver is the only party that has a detailed plan to not just deal with the opioid crisis, but to tackle inequality by investing in child care and supporting good-paying jobs,” Cardona said. “Whoever the next Mayor is, they are only one vote on Council. If voters want to ensure the next Council is championing action on the opioid crisis and for our city to be a more compassionate place to live, they need to vote for the Vision team for City Council on October 20th.”

Vision Vancouver’s social policy commitments contrast with the NPA and its offshoots like Wai Young and Hector Bremner. The Vision team are warning there is plenty at stake:

  • The NPA have no plan on the opioid crisis - with just over a week until election day, Ken Sim and the NPA have not made a single commitment on how they will deal with the opioid overdose crisis, which is killing on average almost one Vancouver resident a day. NPA councillor Melissa De Genova opposed new city funding for front-line service providers like Vancouver firefighters and the Overdose Prevention Site.
  • The NPA will close emergency drop-in spaces for the homeless - Ken Sim’s handpicked NPA council candidate Sara Kirby-Yung led the charge in January 2017 to shut down overnight drop-in spaces at community centers for homeless people - at a time when temperatures were well below zero.
  • The NPA have no commitment on child care - despite provincial and federal governments putting millions of dollars on the table for child care, the NPA has not said anything about how they will increase child care in Vancouver - potentially walking away from a huge opportunity for Vancouver families.
  • The NPA would roll back temporary modular housing for the homeless- despite the success of the City and Province partnering to open hundreds of new homes in just a few months, Ken Sim has called temporary modular housing “an experiment.” NPA candidate Christopher Qiu led efforts to keep modular housing out of Marpole,  and the NPA’s Sim said he will will review whether or not the program should continue.

“The choice is clear. A progressive council with the Vision team that takes action on the overdose crisis and builds a more compassionate city, or an NPA-led council that ignores the big issues, looks the other way on the overdose crisis and takes our city backwards,” added Cardona

“We invite progressive mayoral candidates to get behind Vision’s plan for a more compassionate, inclusive city. Let’s work together to keep Vancouver a leader on issues like drug policy and child care,” said Cardona. “On October 20th, Vancouverites get to choose a Mayor and 10 city councillors - and we’re urging voters who want a Council that will fight for a more compassionate city to save five of those votes for the Vision team.”