British Columbia: Rants

Since people want a place to vent about B.C., here it is – feel free to comment! It really sucks that the rest of the country is such a shit hole that you have to move to B.C. to cope. You move here and it costs a fortune to live (mostly in dumps), Vancouver is a gloom-hole that’s too expensive to survive and glorified as the only ‘livable’ place in Canada. What a nightmare. What a fucking nightmare.


“I’d like to comment on BC, and racism. In the Fraser Valley, BC, you’ll see some of the most disgusting displays of racism. Take Abbotsford, BC for example. On the west side the public schools are nearly 99.9% Punjabi. Why? because the white people figured out they can move to the east side of town. Or, the white people (the Dutch and the Mennonite) put their children in their own schools. Now, the fault is firmly on the shoulders of the public school district, which built beautiful, newer schools on the “white” side of town. They allowed the problem to grow and fester and grow and fester until it’s virtually intractable to fix. How depressing and sad for “multicultural” Canada that we are all carved up into our ethnic groups like this.

 
Also, is it not incredibly racist to see the Chinese as only dollar signs? To invite people from a communist country to come over and buy up all your real estate? This is of course colonialism–where those with the most money get to buy up the land. So, while there is some poetic justice for the “cakers” sadly the Indigenous are just going to continue to be dragged down with the rest. What a joke Truth and Reconciliation is! Wouldn’t it be more honest just to let the Indigenous know they don’t stand a chance? I mean that at least would take some courage. Then the Indigenous would know exactly where they stand.”

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I’d also like to comment on how BC got itself in such trouble with the Chinese/China. (And think about, for a moment, the sad state of the education system in BC. The choice schools are so filled with international students, coz they come with the money honey, that local smart kids can’t even get spots! Some districts have signed ‘Aboriginal Enhancement Agreements’ but try holding those districts to their word and getting your own super smart kid into an excellent school. Fat chance!) Back to the Chinese–the “cakers” thought they were “smarter than” the Chinese. They thought they would know if they were being taken advantage of because white people are inherently smarter than the Chinese! How stupid! How completely stupid and foolish to think that you are smarter than an imperialist country that has existed for 4,000+ years, and is just coming out of Communism. As if that was ever going to end well for Vancouver. And even when the LOCAL Chinese Canadians were calling it out–they turned it on them and accused people of colour of being RACIST against the Chinese! Nice one “cakers”–smart. 

Canada is 150 years old and it’s still doing business as it always has–exploiting the land, exploiting its people, and chasing the dollar. Now, wouldn’t it be something if we actually had VALUES in this place? Where we valued our children, where we built great schools–oh yes, our schools are just crap right now. They emptied out the city of Vancouver and drove everyone out to the Fraser Valley–so the Valley’s schools are filled to the brim. And the housing continues to be built with no planning–no new schools being built. No new parks. Money, money, money, money. And you ask local Canadian people to speak out. To fight. It’s always crickets. Always. I feel so sad for this country. I worry about the future of my own children here.

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“How about how they killed off the natural diversity of the forests, making deals with Monsanto, and killing off all the trees like aspens that are natural forest fire guards? So now, we can’t even enjoy our summers because we are drowning in smoke. (Note one Canadian who has true values, visit the site stopthespraybc.com, Mr. James Steidle is giving up all his time and risking his safety to expose the disgusting mismanagement of BC forests.) Now, to be fair Washington state and California are also killing off all the natural diversity in their forests that work to keep the forest healthy and help to repel forest fires naturally. But you’d think BC would understand that the one thing we should take very, very, very good care of is our forests. But nope, the kill off any trees that aren’t seen as having dollar signs attached to them. And, as the kill off the natural biodiversity, there is less food for the wildlife to eat–animals like moose are dying off. So, for Canadians to claim they value their natural landscape is really silly, isn’t it? As for the rain, if you learn to see it as nourishing the beautiful woods, then it can be beautiful. But it’s hard to love the rain if you hate everything else. I think really for BC the problem is more the corruption, which makes everything seem grey.”

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“I have to say I am really impressed by anyone who comes here as a newcomer (I’m assuming you’re a newcomer?) and cares about the state of the Natives. Again, this is something Canada has down a TERRIBLE job on. See, it is WRONG to invite people in and invite them to settle on land that is basically stolen, whilst pretending as a nation that we are “doing” Truth and Reconciliation. For example, how many Chinese millionaires are educated on their way into Canada that they are buying land in Vancouver that is unceded? None are, of course–and millionaires don’t tend to really care if they are settling on stolen land, right? They’re like, I paid for this land so how dare you tell me it’s stolen. But if Canada truly valued justice, it could try to attract newcomers who care about values, justice, and true multiculturalism. But really, Canada is just trying to attract newcomers with money. This is very dangerous because regardless of cultural backgrounds, we are all human–and humans who really care about money tend to just really care about money. Thus, unless we have more newcomers like the author of this blog–like dude, you totally get social justice, we need more people like you–well, I don’t see much hope for Canada.”

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“Okay, on Chilliwack. Do you know about the draining of Sumas Lake? If not google it, lots on it online. But basically Sumas prairie was once a beautiful lake–a lake the Sumas people based their lives upon. It was their food source and also their source of transportation. Well, when the Dutch/Mennonites came they decided they would use their talents for draining things to drain that lake. “They” (meaning the Brits and the Mennos/Dutch) all “voted” and decided this would be a great idea. The Sumas people thought it couldn’t be done–but oh, it was done. And in fact, to this day the lake water is drained into canals. They exposed fertile farmland. And, they got VERY rich off that fertile farmland–I believe they purchased that fertile farmland for VERY cheap. The Sumas people wept and wept–they watch fish flap and die. They saw their way of life literally drain away. I’m not sure if they have yet to be adequately compensated. But really, what compensation would ever be enough?”

“Next time you drive out to Chilliwack think about that sad story. Ironically, of course, every few years there are worries about Sumas prairie FLOODING. Because, of course, it’s meant to be a LAKE. This only happened in about 1920. If you tell locals about it some of them will say things like, “Oh yeah, that was my grandfather who helped drain that lake–it was amazing what we did.” They still don’t get how BAD it is that they did that.”

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Refuge in BC? Not Quite.

As I go through the process of covering the country, one idea presents itself: taking refuge in B.C. from the inept backwardness of the rest of the nation. This is a pretty common idea among desperate cakers, but B.C. itself isn’t all that pretty when you glimpse beneath the surface.

I’ve already covered the Thompson-Okanagan, and will get to Vancouver and area soon enough.

When people speak of moving to B.C., they almost always mean the Lower Mainland, Greater Vancouver Area or possibly Van island. Most people forget that at least half the province (“north”) is as bad as anywhere else they’re fleeing from.


Not only is it subject to the same terrible winter weather as the other provinces, but it can also boast of terrible poverty, redneck towns, and staggering levels of ineptitude. Having personally lived in northern British Columbia I can tell you it’s as awful as anywhere else.


Let’s begin with some shit town communities.


We’ll start with
Prince George:

It’s the largest city in northern B.C. with a population of just over 70,000 people. A few years back it made it into Maclean’s magazine as Canada’s most dangerous city (a title it held for three years), although by 2016 it had dropped to third place.


21% of children there are living in poverty and over half of single parents are living below the poverty line. The minimum wage is $12.65/hour despite the ‘living wage’ being nearly $17/hour; and (according to a government study) 65% of studied residents were either on social assistance or disability.


Nearby on Highway 16 – known as the Highway of Tears – women (up to 40, according to some groups) have been going missing for decades. There are probably multiple serial killers at work. It’s been argued that little has been done since most of the victims are Aboriginal. And in classic B.C. corruption, whistle-blower Tim Duncan claims emails pertaining to the issue were deleted (he calls the B.C. government a “cesspool”).


Let’s move on to some other shit towns. How about Smithers? A town of less than 6000 people with almost no vacancy rate; an average rental is $750/month; no proper services or access to them. There is limited employment and most people can’t afford to travel anywhere. Basically, a typical northern B.C. town.


How about Hazelton? The village and surrounding district has 627 residents. See: same issues as before, but worse: a poverty rate of 80%. The town’s biggest news and “hope for the future”? An outdoor hockey rink.


What about Vanderhoof? A town with a population less than 5000 people. And more of the usual for B.C.: a nearly 20% “low income” rate; 10% unemployment rate; about 90% of people have to drive. See: same issues as noted above. Women regularly go missing or wind up murdered, and a local serial killer was sentenced a few years ago.


How about Prince Rupert? Its population is just over 13,000 and on the decline. It had a child-poverty rate of 30% in 2016. See: same issues again.


Let’s try Dawson Creek, a city of just under 13,000 people. Like most work in the north (B.C. and elsewhere) the majority of employment is through extraction and a lot of the industry is going to shit. Again, close to 20% of children are living in poverty. See: here we go again.


I could write about another ten shit towns, but why bother? Surely you get the point by now?


Overall, 1 in 5 children live in poverty and it’s been that way for years. As of 2017, it was the second-worst province for child poverty. The province only just now passed a poverty reduction plan/legislation – half assed, as per usual. 


Its affordability is classed as “severe” and is the least affordable of the provinces (generally speaking) for housing and rentals. The average home price is $700k or more. 


The takeway:


Half of British Columbia is encompassed by the “north” which is a collection of barely populated cities and shit towns where unemployment, poverty, and violence are abundant. A lack of proper transit forces people to hitchhike or pay absurd costs to travel. There’s a fair chance if you take risks while travelling you could be killed by serial killers. (With Greyhound stopping its services in Western Canada, there is now no reliable transport in the North – particularly along the ‘Highway of Tears’.)


The main sources of employment are extraction industries, and whenever clean energy comes into use those jobs will be wiped out and northern B.C. will become more of a wasteland than it already is. There’s nothing to see, nowhere to go, no money to get there; a lot of boredom and despair.


The Okanagan is unaffordable except for the wealthy few and has become a cesspool of drug trafficking, addiction and crime. 


Vancouver is extremely expensive and just below Toronto in costs of living. Overall, B.C. is the most expensive place to live despite having a lower minimum wage than four other provinces, and rate close to a couple others. B.C. is jokingly referred to as “Bring Cash”. 


Welcome to B.C., Canada … !