Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Underbelly News
Downtown Eastside

An Open Letter to the Prime Minister

With the dissolving of parliament this morning Mr. Prime Minister, the races now begin all over the country to determine who our next MP's will be.

And without question, the citizens living in Canada's poorest postal code have the most to lose and most to gain regarding who our next representative will be.

Sir, in Vancouver-East, many pundits believe Libby Davies has a lock on the riding she has held since 1997. Perhaps, but perhaps not and this is why the Liberal Party of Canada shouldn't be afraid of providing a strong candidate to challenge her. We need serious, thoughtful and provocative debate of the serious problems within our riding.

For starters, Van-East encompasses the Downtown Eastside neighborhood which as you know has spiralled into a ghetto. Once a blue-collar neighborhood with strong family values and great pride, the abundant jobs have been replaced by crime and drugs as the number one industry down here. The end result has altered a once functional working class neighborhood into a dysfunctional community rife with serial killers and predators.

1500 children are growing up in the Downtown Eastside and their future looks bleak. Its unacceptable for children's playgrounds to be littered with discarded needles, strung out junkies and parasitic drug traffickers.

In the Downtown Eastside, while NDP'rs like Libby Davies and Jim Green promote Woodwards as the salvation for the neighborhood's woes, the line-ups at the soup kitchens and foodbanks continue to grow bigger and bigger. People need Jobs not Hand-Outs.

35% of the population in the Downtown Eastside is aboriginal, yet only 2% of social housing has been earmarked for this population. HIV and AIDS rates in the Aboriginal population are soaring and equal those rates found in third world countries like Botswana and South Africa. It goes without saying the aboriginal community in Van-East has been particularly hard hit by poverty.

And Libby Davies, the MP, while a caring individual, believes representation is based merely on speaking out. All the Speaking Out in the world won't help if there isn't Action to back it up. You can talk the talk but its quite another matter to Walk the Walk.

This is why, Prime Minister Martin, I call on you to offer up a strong Liberal candidate for Van-East. Its important that the riding gets to debate these serious issues between two strong challengers. I don't want the Liberals to place a throw-away candidate in our riding. Our riding deserves better.

There is no question that Libby Davies is popular in Van-East. But is this popularity enough to change the horrendous conditions for people of Van-East?

My belief is we need to provide solutions to the problems here in Van-East. We can start by having two serious contenders compete to be our representative. Ms Davies as the incumbent should have her feet held to the fire. The looming question is what has she delivered for the citizens of Van-East? Passion without people productivity results in nothing meaningful for the neighborhood.

Mr. Prime Minister the next move is yours. I believe there is a strong candidate out there who could challenge Davies. He is Aboriginal and a former Union Leader. He is not a career politician. He really in my opinion, represents the fine traditions of Van-East.

I ask you to contact Mr. Dave Haggard and entice him to run in Van-East. Throw resources into the riding. After all you can be assured that Mr. Layton will be throwing unlimited resources toward the campaign of Ms Davies.

By offerring up Mr. Haggard, you are providing hope for the people of Canada's poorest postal code. We deserve your intervention. Please act now Mr. Prime Minister. The direction of this Country is at stake. If Van-East loses so does the rest of Canada.

Jamie Lee Hamilton
Lifelong Resident of Van-East