Wednesday, January 07, 2009


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC

Vancouver Women's Health Collective Discriminates

The Vancouver Women's Health Collective (VWHC) which has been a group in existence since the 1970's and which has an unusual feminist ideology is now the latest group to see the Downtown Eastside/Oldtown area as a place to set up shop and cash in on people's misery.

The VWHC once ran a clinic in the 1980's but closed it down. In more recent times, the Health Collective operates from a small office in the historic Duncan building on West Pender Street. It does not provide direct medical services but offers referrals and has a small library. It is open 12 hours a week.

Now the VWHC has plans to open a women-only pharmacy on West Hastings street next to Army and Navy.

Needed answering is why the Vancouver Women's Health Collective wants to open a drug store in the Downtown Eastside which is already very well served by a number of longstanding Pharmacy's in the area.

Just recently a large Pharmacy, Rexall Drugs, opened up in the International Village complex and a new large scale London Drugs will be opening up in the Woodwards re-development. Also at the corner of Main and Hastings is the Garlane pharmacy and a few blocks east of that is Buckshon's Pharmacy.

So again why is the Vancouver's Women's Health Collective trying to open their own pharmacy?

I think the answer lies on their website which claims that the current methadone clinics are dingy places and not suitable places for women to attend.

As far as I know pharmacies dispense drugs and therefore I've never heard of anyone feeling unsafe going into a pharmacy.

For the VWHC to say that women must have a women-only specific Pharmacy in the DTES is concerning and needs examination.

I suspect the real reason behind the pharmacy idea is to prop up their sagging organization which has become redundant. Imagine only being open 12 hours a week. Their beliefs that a women-born-female-methadone-clinic will be the answer to their prayers is laughable.

I actually had a leading pro-choice feminist who I deeply respect suggest to me that if their Pharmacy doesn't go ahead their organization most likely will collapse.

One must examine why this organization lacks support and I suspect the reason is due to their extreme ideology.

Here is a paragraph on their political agreements taken from their website which puts everything into perspective:

"Therefore, we feel that it is essential that a woman be born a woman and have the physiology of a woman and the psychological experiences of living as a girl and a woman in order to embrace the work of the Vancouver Women's Health Collective. For us, membership and services are open to women who were born women".

So not only does this group want to cash in at the expense of females who are drug addicted, they want the right to freely discriminate against others in the process.

While groups such as the VWHC are entitled to determine their own political beliefs they should not be allowed to deliver public services which the public funds and especially with discriminatory policies in place.

It should be noted that Vancity recently gave this group $50,000 to assist them with their Pharmacy and the City of Vancouver provided them $25,000. They also receive charity gaming funds and federal funding.

Downtown Eastsiders and Oldtown Residents are fed up with these poverty parasites who view our neighborhoods as an means to an end. These Povertarians are using this neighborhood and its inhabitants for their own self-interests and greed.

This endless grazing at the trough must stop because it isn't helping anyone.

Keeping poor people shackled in chains, begging and stealing, trapped in endless drug addiction with no hope for their futures is absolutely criminal and an affront to humanity.

Stay tuned for future developments on this story.

Jamie Lee Hamilton


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC


The former Portland Hotel which was located atop the Rainbow Hotel at the corner of Carrall and Hastings streets, today, reopened with a bang. It has taken on a new name, the Pennsylvania Hotel, which it had been called in earlier times.

One reporter was so excited over the opening that he lavished significant praise calling it the Historic Pennsylvania Hotel but how that reporter could make that claim is perplexing.

The restoration though on the Hotel Pennsylvania is impressive and it should be considering it cost the taxpayers $14 million dollars.

The hotel will house about 43 tenants with chronic drug addictions, mental health and other social impairment needs. The cost though, some speculate is good value since each unit which is approximately 250 square feet has its own bathroom and tiny kitchenette.

The gushing reporter calls them studios but that is quite misleading since the hotel is a Single Room Occupancy (SRO).

The Pennsylvania received a City of Vancouver grant of $50,000 to install a rather large and luminous new neon sign. The grant came from the Great Beginnings fund which says its purpose is earmarking funds in the Oldtown area for various groups to spruce up properties in time for the 2010 Olympics.

The Hotel from the outside looks pretty grand and on outward appearance alone looks like it could house financially comfortable people. In this regard at least there will be less likelihood of stigma attached with living there and that is good for the tenants. Now if only the drug traffickers were not right outside their rooms.

Speaking of the Downtown Eastside and its ongoing drug woes, word now comes that the Vancouver Women's Health Collective is planning on opening across the street from the Portland Hotel, a woman-only-from-birth Pharmacy (likely another methadone clinic) and it too will be receiving funds from the public. But that is another story.

Jamie Lee Hamilton