CCEC Blog
Search
 

The Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty (WGIFS) would like to express solidarity with the most vulnerable who were displaced from the Strathcona Park Tent City on May 3, 2021, including seniors, people living with disabilities, chronic illness, addictions and poor mental health. Since the time we began our residency at the Strathcona Fieldhouse in 2019, we have witnessed some of the saddest experiences of the human condition, which have made us understand the need for a transformative justice approach to address the underlying systemic injustices that created the conditions at the encampment.

 

A transformative justice approach calls for accountability of ALL parties involved to play a role in dismantling the colonial matrix of power that is built on a long history of genocide, associated with eviction, displacement, and normalizing the criminalization of disadvantaged peoples, thereby perpetuating the ongoing cycles of unresolved trauma underlying the flawed foster care system, racial capitalism, drug and alcohol addictions, sexual violence, and lack of justice the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, and 2SLGBTQ.

The camp was located in one of the most gentrified and poverty-stricken neighbourhoods in one of the wealthiest cities in the world. It is time for courageous and bold action to abolish the white supremacist structures and processes that caused the disparities. Sadie Keuhn, an Elder in the Black community with a long history of anti-poverty and anti-racism leadership, states: “I believe that most people believe that every one of us has a basic right to safe housing. One which is accessible and affordable and which we have a say about. All these things seem so simple and straightforward and so very important attributes of a just society. We must make it so”.

 

As tensions and polarizations have increased within the  Strathcona Park known for its rich history of social justice activism, there is a dire need for reparations to the land and displaced communities. We call for defunding the police and allocating more adequate financial, technical and human support to develop trauma-informed land-based healing programming in the Downtown Eastside community, where  Indigenous, Black, People of Colour, and poor working-class white people are overrepresented.

 

The WGIFS calls on governments, police, homeowners, and organizations to work with communities to develop more just and adequate frameworks for socially responsible policies and nature-based planning in park spaces. Increasing access to the infrastructure and support needed for Indigenous-led, land-based healing programming in the park can serve to restore the land, territory and dignity and breathe some much-needed healing and regeneration into the DTES. We call on all involved to join us in a decolonizing approach to making reparations with the Coast Salish, whose unceded land and waters we occupy as uninvited guests – to chart the pathway to transform the darkness surrounding the trauma and harm that’s been caused. Heal the land, heal the people.

 

 

Media Contacts:

 

Dawn Morrison, Founder/Curator

Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty:                                      778.879.5106

Currently rated 0.0 by 0 people

A surge of attacks in one of Canada’s most multicultural cities is surfacing long-simmering racial tensions. Vancouver is known as one of the most Asian cities outside Asia where 25% of the residents speak a Chinese language.  However, the past year has seen a 700% increase in anti-Asian racism incidents.  More anti-Asian hate crimes were reported to police in Vancouver than in the top 10 most populous US cities combined.

Last Monday was declared a Day of Action Against Anti-Asian Racism.  With almost 50% of residents of Asian descent in BC experiencing a hate incident in the past year, we are confronting an undercurrent of racism that runs long and deep. It is a history that includes the 1885 Chinese Head Tax, 1923 Chinese Exclusion Act and 1942 Japanese internment camps. For more information on the history of anti-Asian racism, download the book,  Challenging Racist “British Columbia”. The booklet, co-published by the CCPA-BC Office, ties the histories of racism and resistance to present day anti-racist movements.

Locally, a new coalition founded by a Burnaby woman committed to stopping anti-Asian racism, organized small group rallies across the Lower Mainland.  In  April, she founded the Stand With Asians Coalition (SWAC) after hearing that there was a 350% increase in incidents of anti-Asian racism in Burnaby related to the pandemic. SWAC is currently a community of over 1,700 people that raises awareness to combat anti-Asian racism and to foster inclusiveness. Learn more on their facebook page

We also need to look at anti-racism through a wider lens. We need to recognize that all forms of hate in public spaces create unsafe conditions for members of all racialized communities.  For example, we are hearing of companies, organizations and communities doing work around JEDI that is justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. These are more than just buzzwords, they represent concepts, themes, and actions and truly involve representing the interest of all people. This is a much more complex issue and conversations that we need to foster and be part of in our communities. We will be exploring JEDI and also critical race theory in future blogs.

What comments do our members have on anti-racism?  Do you feel that Vancouver has lost its image as a progressive multicultural city with our increasing anti-racism incidents?  Add your comments to the blog.


Currently rated 0.0 by 0 people

Anti-Asian racism has increased significantly during the pandemic. In BC, there have been more violent incidents and hate crimes directed towards individuals who appear to be of Asian descent. There have also been many instances of microaggressions, hostile attitudes, and racist comments during what is for all of us, an already frightening and stressful time.


The release of the booklet called, Challenging Racist British Columbia: 150 Years and Counting, is co-published by CCPA BC and timely in light of recent events. They document how this recent cycle of anti-racist activism is part of a broader history of Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities challenging white supremacy – particularly since 1871 when BC joined Canada.  Unfortunately, the past 150 years of history in BC has embedded systemic racism in our society and institutions. 


The book also recognizes those people who have been doing the work of anti-racism and anti-colonialism in BC for the past 150 years. They say that these historical figures are presented not as addendums to our provincial history—they are its history. 


Challenging racism is a complex issue as we need to work on both ourselves and on our society.  The book says, “the work is to dismantle our own inequities, racism and lack of diversity; and work together transcending privilege and transforming our institutions.”  We all need to rethink where we've come from, and where we want to go in terms of racial equality. 


The booklet is available free - click here to download a PDF - and there will be more resources available to support learning and teaching the histories of racism, resistance and present day anti-racist movements.  You can also click here to register for a virtual Book Launch on March 21 at 3:00pm PST. The event takes place on the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination whose theme this year is youth standing up against racism. 


Currently rated 0.0 by 0 people

Food insecurity is getting worse. Before COVID, one in eight Canadians struggled to put good food on the table. During the pandemic, it’s become one in seven—a 39 per cent increase. Food insecurity goes much deeper than hunger. It impacts our physical and mental health, social connection and community, employment and aspirations, family life and more.

Ian Marcuse is the Grandview Woodland Food Connections (GWFC) Coordinator and a long-time CCEC member. He works out of Britannia Community Centre.  He is a member of the Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Network (VNFN), a network of community organizations committed to promoting food security in neighbourhoods across the City of Vancouver.  This holiday season we are encouraging our members to support the work of the VNFN and the GWFC as they are providing emergency food for those who need extra support at this time. 

 

Read how Ian Marcuse and the GWFC has responded to the rising food insecurity in our neighbourhood: 

At the time of the initial COVID lockdown in mid-March, we deemed food access an essential service and within days mobilized the necessary resources needed for an effective response to COVID food insecurity in East Vancouver. This COVID Emergency Food Home Delivery Program ensures that food is provided in a dignified way including completely barrier free access, home delivery to ensure safety and health are a priority, and an emphasis on quality and highly nutritious foods. Our hampers are especially curated to support healthy outcomes for receiving households.

Since our programs started, we've delivered 6,250 food hampers. But we have also been able to increase our existing capacity in building a more resilient and responsive community food security program by establishing new relations with food suppliers, farmers, referring agencies, funders, volunteers, and new community members who we might never have connected with in the past.  More importantly, we have gained new insights and engaged in many conversations with peers, funders, policy makers and others about the systems that cause food insecurity and advocate for a more equitable food system in the long term. Interestingly, COVID has opened an important policy window to push for the change needed and the GWFC is lending a strong and informed voice to the change needed.

  • 520 Households in East Vancouver supported

  • 1,500 Individuals

  • 218,750 lbs of food distributed (average 30lb/box)

  • 120+ volunteers mobilized 

  • 3,600 volunteer hrs logged

While a temporary program for us, this response to COVID has been meaningful and important and continues to meet immediate food security needs at the community level by ensuring that the most vulnerable in our community have access to good food. However, as COVID numbers increase, demand for the program continues to grow especially for households with compromised health and facing financial hardship. We now have a waitlist.

Click here to donate to the Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Network. 
Contact Ian to get involved and to make a donation to the Emergency Food Program  gwfcnetwork@gmail.com or phone  604-718-5895
If you are experiencing food insecurity or know of someone who needs extra food support at this time, please contact your local Food Bank Community Partner.

Currently rated 0.0 by 0 people

November is Financial Literacy Month and the theme is “Understanding Your Finances”. Check the Government of Canada website for practical tips and tools on budgeting, savings, investing, fraud prevention, avoiding debt and building a strong credit history. Learn the 10 things you should know during times of financial uncertainty. 

They are also offering webinars: 

Financial Literacy Month is online in November. Follow them at @FCACan  and #FLM220.

If you have questions or concerns about your financial wellbeing, please give us a call. 

 

Currently rated 0.0 by 0 people

The federal government committed to support businesses and individuals through this pandemic. We will see investment in a child-care program, standards for seniors care, a disability benefit modelled after the Guaranteed Income Supplement for seniors, and initiatives in the areas of homelessness; and support for working women, migrant workers, Indigenous people, and racial minorities. COVID-19 has exposed a lot of problems that are not new. We need to ask ourselves, “Did this Speech from the Throne address the problems while embracing a Green New Deal and Just Recovery?”


Sadly, not.  There was little new commitment to take action on climate change and the environment.   CCPA quoted from Seth Klein’s new book, A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the climate emergency, that we must adopt an emergency mindset. 

 They also say that the speech “fell far short of expectations for a bold, just and green recovery - and is silent on the billions of dollars this government is spending on fossil fuel subsidies and the Trans Mountain pipeline.”  The bottom line is that we hoped to see more green initiatives at the federal level. 


The speech also failed to address a guaranteed base income. And its proposed measures are largely downstream measures, rather than investing in the root causes of, for example, incarceration for racialized and Indigenous peoples. The vulnerability of migrant workers is another issue and you can learn more on the  Together For Full & Permanent Immigration Status For All campaign. We are also falling short to support a resilient public health care system that includes funding to address the opioid crisis, a mental health crisis, and ongoing climate emergencies. The pandemic has exacerbated existing inequities, worsened poverty, and we are more vulnerable by the economic shocks of COVID-19.  


We need a stronger commitment towards a Just Recovery at all levels of government.  We are now entering the provincial election campaign and have an opportunity to ask our candidates some hard questions and vote for representatives that commit to helping us weather the pandemic and ensure a just recovery. 


Currently rated 0.0 by 0 people

Internet provider discontinues service in Haida Gwaii - Aug. 19.  The COVID-19 crisis has brought into sharper focus a digital divide that is both socioeconomic and geographic. As our lives have shifted to online, many of us take for granted our internet connection and the access that comes with it. The Internet is considered a basic service, but there are too many people who don’t have accessible, inclusive and affordable service.


A Digital Divide is a difference in access to technology between nations, regions and people based on demographic factors such as income, race and age.  One year ago, we wrote a blog on the Digital Divide and its importance to our communities. The crisis has highlighted how essential an internet connection is to daily life - to earn a living, to access mental health resources, or to apply for benefits - and why it’s unacceptable that one in 10 Canadian families do not have a home internet connection.  


Racialized, low-income people are being hardest hit by the Divide. With COVID, it has become more difficult for marginalized populations to stay connected to their social and community support networks.  This is not only in remote areas or on Indigenous lands but here in Vancouver. The Binners Project in the Downtown Eastside, for example, had to change its weekly meeting to phone calls. Most Binners, who do not have access to the internet or a cellular phone, felt more disconnected and lonely as many still are not employed.


Internet access is expensive both as a customer and for the service providers. Many rural, remote, and Indigenous communities don’t have access to a good connection due to the costs to service a small number of people. A town with a population of 14,000 reports that it can take at least 2 hours to download large files like homework.  Teachers with slow or no access are wondering how they will provide online learning for their students. ACORN reports that more than one third of Canadians have to make sacrifices to afford home internet, like forgoing spending on transit or even food.


The Province included internet and telecommunications in the list of services that must continue to be delivered during the pandemic, describing these services as “essential to preserving life, health, public safety and basic societal functioning.”  Home internet is used for vital life activities and at the same time remains unaffordable and inaccessible.  Let’s support a Just Recovery where all British Columbians have access to high speed internet. 


Please share your comments with our members.


Currently rated 0.0 by 0 people

We’ve come to a fork in the road. We need to decide if we are an ‘oil country’ or a ‘country of nature?’ Do we want the previous status quo, with its now-obvious holes in our health and social well-being nets, and its trajectory towards climate catastrophe? Or do we want to “build back better” in ways that fight climate change, inequality & injustice?


We talk about  building a healthier, fairer, greener province based on a clean economy. We want to support strong climate and clean energy policies needed to build a resilient economy. We know the projects generated from a clean energy framework can put people to work in safe, healthy, well-paid jobs. We understand that a green recovery is a  just recovery and we don’t want anyone to be left behind. 


The Premier’s Economic Recovery Task Force is scheduled to release its findings from the 6 week public consultation process this month. The report aims to provide recommendations on how the $1.5 billion fund set aside for recovery spending will be deployed.  A member of the task force,  The BC Federation of Labour, submitted, “We must make up for lost time in addressing the climate crisis, with an accelerated and inclusive path to a green economy. The global collapse of oil prices is only the latest drastic swing in the fossil fuel economy — and one more sign that a sustainable future must rely on a swift transition to cleaner, renewable sources of energy.” They continue by saying, “We must look beyond economic indicators to human outcomes — our goal entails nothing less than the end of poverty, homelessness and other inequities. And it goes deeper: a meaningful connection to the communities they live and work in and with — even in times of crisis, with no exceptions.” Reading submissions like those of the BC Federation makes it sound hopeful that the BC Economic  Recovery Plan will support a Green New Deal. 

At the same time, however, we continue to invest in fossil fuel projects. The Trans Mountain Pipeline, owned by the Canadian Government, continues to be built despite knowing there is no longer a market in Asia or in the US to sell the gas; that we publicly committed  to climate action in the Paris Agreement; we have a flawed consultation process with Indigenous communities; a  failure to consider the risks posed by increased tanker traffic; ongoing protests and other concerns.  We know that the BC Recovery Plan Task Force is represented in favour of heavy industrial business and is  lobbying to have their projects be financially supported through the Plan.  

The Report
is scheduled to be released this month.  Let’s see how well the  recommendations reflect the importance of workplace safety, strong public services, and our collective responsibility to take care of each other. We have the chance to address those gaps, and to do much more. We can build back better than before.

Currently rated 0.0 by 0 people

Rooted in social justice values—like human dignity and freedom, fairness, equality, solidarity, environmental sustainability, and the public good—and a strong belief in the power of participatory democracy, CCPA released its’ 25th edition of the Alternative Federal Budget (AFB) Recovery Plan. 


It is time to put human rights, labour, environmental protection, anti-poverty, arts and culture, social development, child development, international development, women, Indigenous peoples, the faith-based community, students, teachers, education, and health care workers at the forefront of policy planning and decision-making. 


2020 is  a critical turning point, a year in which the systems that sustain our societies failed. Greenhouse gas emissions dropped, highlighting the irrefutable link between how we live and climate change. Globally, billions of lives have been disrupted, more than half a million lives lost.


In Canada, we are guilty of racial, ethnic, and Indigenous injustices. The inequities that were baked into our systems have been exposed and exacerbated by COVID-19.  We need investments in a just, equitable and sustainable recovery and to fix many areas of public policy. 


The AFB Recovery Plan identifies the following immediate action items: implement universal public child care so people can get back to work, reform employment insurance, strengthen safeguards for public health, decarbonize the economy, and tackle the inequalities in gender, race and income. 

The Plan includes an analysis of key areas being impacted by COVID-19 including affordable housing and homelessness.  We know that when eviction bans are lifted, more households will be on the brink of homelessness.  Also, the closure of daytime services and public spaces offering washroom facilities and internet access created challenges for those who depend on these shared services.  

We need to increase our social housing stock and in Barcelona they are doing this by seizing empty apartments.  The city told the property owners to fill the vacant rental units with tenants or they would take over their properties. The landowners have one month to comply. Would or could our city government be willing to take such bold action? 

At CCEC, we work to reduce barriers to open a bank account and to provide equitable and just access to financial services. We know this is our chance to bend the curve of public policy toward justice, well-being, solidarity, equity, resilience, and sustainability.  Learn more and read the CCPA Alternative Federal Budget Report to build healthier communities where no one is left behind. 

Currently rated 0.0 by 0 people

We have an opportunity to build back better. We need a recovery map that fixes the systemic inequalities that are embedded  in our communities. 

It is tempting to want to return to the status quo pre-Covid, but that cannot happen.  There were too many crises raging that will worsen if nothing is done.  For example, last month Vancouver recorded our highest number of opioid related deaths.  Income inequality, an inadequate social safety net and climate change are just three of the crises that must be addressed. 

We have an opportunity to redesign our economic programs, social infrastructure and public services to build an inclusive, fairer and more resilient economy. During Covid we learned that we need to invest in our workers, our shared prosperity and to have economic justice for historically marginalized groups. 

We can all agree that out of Covid, we are more aware of care and compassion.  Dr. Henry’s words, “Be Kind. Be Safe. Be Calm”  resonated with us. 

CCEC was formed in 1976 by groups who were unable to access financial services through banks and other credit unions. We continue working to reduce barriers to open a bank account and to provide equitable and just access to financial services.  

We encourage our members to get involved, speak up and be part of shaping our community economic development.  For example,  @JustRecovery and the #BuildBackBetter campaigns.  Share your stories with us.


Currently rated 0.0 by 0 people

Search

home | online bankingprivacy code  | contact | site map
© 2015 CCEC Credit Union. All Rights Reserved.