Monday, July 12, 2004


Underbelly of Vancouver
Downtown Eastside


Well don't call this prostitution reform activist a puritan or abolitionist, however, it seems to me that Slots in Parks proponents are selling out their principles and values in return for some extra jobs and tighter control of City finances. And dragging the municipal party COPE along with them to obtain their exclusive power is no doubt going to cost.

For the labour movement to influence politicians and the political process is one thing, however attempting to exert tighter control of a democracy is ill thought out. As a matter of fact, its a travesty. While unions historically have fought for better wages and benefits for workers and this is admirable, yet I don't think for a moment pioneering unionists, my father included would have been proud to see Union leaders lining their own pockets to the determinant of ordinary citizens.

Talk about the big sell out. And this is exactly what Union leaders are doing. Yes folks, just to remind you, Unions and their leadership now appear to be governing city hall through fear, intimidation and electoral reform. Threats of withholding financial support if COPE doesn't do its bidding is their number one ace card. And their argument to COPE is that if COPE doesn't support Slots in Parks, the life and fortunes of Hastings park, the PNE and Racetrack go down the tube. As do the fortunes of COPE.

Clearly deriving income from gambling in city parks should be a no go. Yet the City plans to do just this. In a report going to council on Thursday July 15th, City Senior planners Jeff Brooks and Larry Beasely are recommending 600 slots be approved for Hastings park. COPE appears on the verge of rubber stamping this report. Already COPE has funded groups from anticipated revenue streams of expanded gambling. Next up, with WARD elections not far behind, cultural and community groups may need support to finance their activities. While the majority of community groups do amazing work, relying on gambling revenues is not cool. We therefore need to be remindful of this.

COPE seems to be shrieking its previous party of the little people label and in turn, will become known as the party of big people and their bigger interests. By handing over the keys to the bosses who will soon control Vancouver is for this lifelong resident, a nightmare. Shame on you COPE!

Please folks remember you have an opportunity to express your opinion. If you do not believe Gambling should be permitted in City Parks, send an email or write to the Mayor and council.

July 15th, then the referendum on October 16th, will be turning points on the livability of this city. Will the keys be turned over to the big Ward Bosses or remain in the hands of the little people. Be heard. Start by saying No to Slots in Parks!

Jamie Lee Hamilton
(604) 781-3361