Greetings from the Underbelly of Vancouver, the notorious Downtown Eastside. My goodness, every day, I am gifted with news that I can challenge.
The latest juicy bit of news the Libby Davies vs Shirley Chan race has given me is really entertaining but also very serious. In the Wednesday June 9, 2004 edition of the Vancouver Sun, the incumbent MP for Van-East after being challenged by her opponent Shirley Chan over her housing, states that she only moved into her subsidized townhome after her late husband/spouse fell ill in late 1996. Whoa slow down here Ms Davies, lets put this into its proper historical context.
In late 1996, your husband was building you a home on Gambier Island when he fell ill. Libby's Paradise I think is what he called it. At this time, while you worked at the Hospital Employees Union, Mr Eriksen, your son Lief and yourself stayed at your mothers home in West Vancouver. This can be confirmed in a Vancouver Sun story when your then husband/spouse Bruce involved himself in a internal fight which was occurring at DERA, the organization he founded. Your husband stated at this time in the Sun story, that he took the bus and traveled from West Vancouver where he was staying at your mother's home while he was receiving medical treatment for his cancer.
Around the same time, you were in discussions to represent the NDP in the anticipated spring election. However, the fact that you lived in West Vancouver and Gambier Island posed some logical nightmares for the party since a rival for the NDP nomination lived in the East End and had strong ties to the neighborhood.
So when a subsidized 3 bedroom townhouse came up in an East End co-op, you probably thanked your lucky stars! Mr Eriksen had a place to receive palliative care and you had a Van-East address from which to fight a nomination and subsequent election which occurred in June 1997. By the way congrats on your win!
But wait a minute something isn't quite right here Libby. I think the voting public in the poorest postal code in Canada has the right to know a few things about this time and since a few matters have been raised regarding your subsidized home, don't you think the public also has the right to know the following details:
Wasn't it Feb of 1997, that you successfully won the NDP nomination at a meeting held in Hastings Park? Since you are a champion of wards wouldn't the optics have looked bad, actually horrible, had you not had a residence in the Eastside where you were planning on running? Finding a place quickly in Van-East probably wasn't difficult for you given your connections. However, is it possible Ms Davies that you and your husband were given preferential treatment in securing housing because of who you knew and who you are? And notwithstanding your husband's serious medical condition, what about the other helpless sick people of the area, many who continue to wait up to 10 years for affordable housing (Dera Housing report). I hate to think of the poor single mother with three kids who could have used that affordable co-op in which you lived while you made over one hundred thousand dollars a year as an MP for the riding. Noteworthy Ms Davies is your claim in the Vancouver Sun article of yesterday, that you only moved into the co-op due to your husband's illness. But wouldn't it be a more accurate to say you also benefited by ensuring you had an affordable home in the riding while at the same time you were seeking to represent Van-East voters. Did you have any feelings of remorse taking a home from someone who desperately needed one, considering you Libby already had two lovely homes?
Alright Ms Davies, I know what your probably thinking as you read this - I'm being quite mean to you in pointing these facts out. But in all fairness Ms Davies, I'm willing to give you some slack from that period of time which was difficult for you, however, what I'm not willing to give you is this. Why did you continue living at your affordable housing provided to you at taxpayer expense in the intervening 7/8 years since your husband passed away? Is it true you paid $700.00 a month while you earned over a hundred grand a year? Was it your intent to build up a nest egg so you could purchase a home later on? I also think the public has the right to know how much you paid for your new home, how much your mortgage is costing you and if circumstances have changed since you were paying $700.00 for a subsidized unit six months ago compared to what your now paying for your mortgage?
Finally Ms Davies, don't you owe it to the the disenfranchised, the poor, the victimized and the vulnerable who you puportedly represent to clear this mess up? To not do so, shows Ms Davies that you have lost touch with the residents of the Downtown Eastside. Those of us living in V6B 5N2 deserve more then self-serving politicians! I hope your listening.
Saint or Self-Serving. June 28th will tell.
Jamie Lee Hamilton