Please join us for the Metro Vancouver Alliance 2018 Annual General Meeting and Delegates’ Assembly. We will be holding elections for the MVA Board and welcoming new and long-standing member organizations. Please RSVP to attend.
The AGM will review MVA’s active and eventful year campaigning on affordable housing, income justice, accessible transit and social inclusion and set our focus for the coming year.
Help MVA take action on this agenda and plan for the year to come.
Today, the North West Indigenous Council Society (NWIC) has announced that it will undertake a consultation on Indian Registration, Band Membership and First Nation Citizenship. This consultation meeting will take place from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm on Sunday, March 10, 2019 at the Britannia Community Services Centre’s Astorino’s venue, located at 1739 Venables Street in Vancouver.
In June 2018, the Government of Canada announced the launch of a “comprehensive and meaningful consultation” that would involve joint work with First Nations and Indigenous organizations across Canada. The NWIC consultation meeting is part of this larger process that will wrap up on April 3, 2019. The discussions are expected to go beyond Indian Act registration and Band Membership issues and focus on the broader issues associated with self-government and self-determination.
Ms. Claudette Dumont-Smith, Minister Bennett’s Special Representative, will be attending the NWIC consultation. She is lending her expertise to the process concerning the core issues of Indian Registration, Band Membership and First Nation citizenship. Ms. Dumont-Smith is responsible for preparing a final report on the consultation activities, as well as the recommendations that will be used in a report to Parliament that must be tabled by June 12, 2019.
The mandate of NWIC is to enhance, promote, protect and foster the social, economic, educational, cultural, health, well-being and rights of Indigenous Peoples within British Columbia. We embrace and promote the 46 articles contained in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We promote reconciliation and the 94 Calls to Action contained in the Truth and Reconciliation Report and strive to build a unified voice and vision on core issues impacting Indigenous peoples in British Columbia.
For more information contact:
Scott Clark, President
North West Indigenous Council Society
Check out MVA leader Maria Robinson speaking truth to power about HandyDART funding in the Vancouver Sun today!
Maria Robinson, former co-chair of the transit Research Action Team represented MVA at the provincial budget lock-up last month (new baby in hand).
February 19, 2019
Victoria – Metro Vancouver Alliance (MVA) is a broad-based alliance of 57 civil society institutions who work together for the common good. Our member and sponsoring organizations represent 200,000 people in Metro Vancouver and over 700,000 people across the Province.
At our Provincial Election Accountability Assembly on April 4, 2017, we received commitments from Premier Horgan and Andrew Weaver on our provincial priorities. In May and October 2018, we met with Minister James and asked her to prioritize and support these commitments in the provincial budget. Today we attended the budget lock-up and examined how the Government is doing on our promises.
With an overall theme of affordability and helping families, MVA is encouraged by the spending priorities in today’s provincial budget which address the affordable housing crisis, access to transit, access to healthcare, and income inequality in British Columbia. This is how the budget aligns with our priorities.
Until now, British Columbia was the only province without a plan to reduce poverty. MVA received a commitment from Premier Horgan to work with us and our partners at the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition to develop a bold and comprehensive strategy to address the depth of poverty in our province. We are pleased to see the government unveil a Poverty Reduction Plan in this session. Related budget items include eliminating MSP premiums; eliminating student loan interest; raising income and disability rates by $50/month; removing barriers to access the BC Employment Assistance program; and funding community-operated rent banks. It is an encouraging start and will begin to make an immediate impact in people’s lives. We look forward to hearing the full details of the plan this Spring. We continue to work with our partners at the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition and government to address the depth of poverty in our communities. This work will be ongoing until we see meaningful change in the lives of our members.
Housing unaffordability continues to top the list of pressures facing families in BC. MVA called for the BC Government to spend $3B a year to build 10,000 new affordable housing units per year for the next 5 years. Budget 2018 introduced a housing plan to invest $7B over 10 years for 114,000 housing units. In 2018 they built 17,000. The 2019 budget shows the continuation of this spending commitment. It also includes funding for 200 additional modular units for homeless, bringing the total to 2200. This is not enough to meet the needs of BC residents; we had hoped to see a greater investment in truly affordable housing to meet the commitment we secured from Premier Horgan in 2017.
Accessible & Affordable Transit
In 2017, MVA asked Horgan to commit to increasing HandyDART vehicle service hours by 5% for the next 4 years across the entire province through special funding directly from the province. HandyDART service in all jurisdictions is suffering, and HandyDART riders with it. As in 2018, there is no line item for this in the 2019 budget. BC Transit is getting an additional $21M in funding, so we will see some further increase in service. It is not enough and we will continue to advocate for more HandyDART vehicle hours.
Access to transportation is critical for BC residents. We must be able to get to work, to school, to the doctor, to see our families, and to participate in civic life. MVA has asked the province to fund free transit for children and a sliding-scale low-income transit pass. There is nothing in the budget to reflect funding for these programs.
MVA asked Premier Horgan to commit to increase access to coordinated primary, community, and social care services. We specifically recommended and received commitment for an annualized global funding model for Community Health Centres, and for investment in 20 new community-governed, not-for-profit Community Health Centres by 2020. The 2019 budget invests in many areas of healthcare, including 5 more new urgent primary care centres, as well as expanding and upgrading hospitals and improving integrated mental health care services. Our ask for new Community Health Centres and a global funding model however is not addressed.
This was MVA’s first invitation in the budget lock-up. This recognition is a testament to the power of the work we are doing together. Although there is more to do, we are pleased to see the provincial government engaging with civil society organizations. We will continue to build on this momentum.
Maria Robinson / maria0[email protected] / 778-773-2895
Tracey Maynard, Lead Organizer / [email protected]
MVA is at the Provincial Budget Lock-up today. Maria Robinson from Our Lady of Guadalupe Tonantzin is representing MVA. She'll be following up on the commitments made to MVA by John Horgan on behalf of the alliance. She'll be asking tough questions of the ministers and their staff, connecting with other organizations and preparing our response to the budget 2019.
We've done much work this year with the Minister of Finance on our budget recommendations for affordable housing, affordable public transit, community healthcare and poverty reduction. Tomorrow we will interpret the budget to determine if the promises made to our alliance of organizations have been upheld.
If you have a question to send with Maria, or would like to connect with her directly before or following lockup, please reply to this email and we will connect you.
Please look forward to our initial response to the budget with more detail later in the week.
Join us on February 19th as we launch Metro Vancouver Alliance’s Faith Caucus
When: 19th February 2019, 11:30 A.M.-1:30 P.M.
Location: St Mary’s Catholic Parish, 5251 Joyce Street, Vancouver (at Joyce Skytrain Station, parking available)
This luncheon will be an opportunity to build relationships with clergy and lay leaders from various faith traditions across Metro Vancouver. Together we will explore the values that motivate us to act together for the common good.
What’s on the menu? We will feed you lots of good stories about the meaningful impact that broad based faith organizing has had on Canadian society. (There will also be food, of course!) Come with an appetite to relate with one another, and we promise that you will walk away with more than enough material for a great sermon or reflection!
This event is open to current and prospective MVA members. RSVP required online at metvanalliance.org, by email at [email protected], or by phone at 778 883-5934. Please make note of any dietary restrictions you may have.
On Nov 9 and Nov 10, I participated in an IAF-organized seminar on the future of work in Phoenix, Arizona. The seminar was led by the MIT professor Paul Osterman, who delivered the material in an engaging and accessible way. The audience was geographically diverse, including representatives from California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Iowa, and British Columbia.
Despite an increase in low-wage jobs over the last decade and a hostile organizing environment (only 6.5% of private sector workers in the US are unionized), Osterman’s message was an optimistic one. He argued that unemployment will decline as baby-boomers continue to retire, and declining unemployment will give workers additional bargaining power, both in the United States and Canada. Since this trend is already becoming visible, Osterman advised that now would be a good time to lift health care assistants out of poverty, win living wage campaigns in our cities, and improve lives of residential construction workers who are often missclassified as independent contractors. In essence, it’s a good time to be an activist.
This was my first time to attend an IAF seminar. Knowing that an MIT professor would be lecturing, I went in with high expectations. Osterman certainly delivered; his presentations and ensuing discussions made my inner geek happy. What I did not expect was that the audience would consist solely of organizational leaders, many of whom were professional organizers. I had never before seen a room full of individuals who are ready at a moment’s notice to deliver a rational speech, act out an emotional anecdote, or make the room laugh. Was this lucid expressiveness an example of a highly refined social sensibility, or of a martial art? Whatever the answer might be, knowing that these people are out there, fighting for the common good, is both comforting and inspiring.
When not in lectures, seminar attendees would spontaneously meet with each other. These relational meetings made me friends. They also boosted my understanding of political and demographic complexities as they appear across a large chunk of the continent. Many of these discussions are still with me, as I think about opportunities facing Metro Vancouver Alliance, and my union, CUPE Local 23.