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Practicing Democracy

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February 18, 2005

Practicing Democracy Takes A Step Forward

Vancouver City Council Passes Motion to research the feasibility of a "Homeless and Sex Trade Worker Advocate"

Hello everyone, we have good news!!!
Two years after Vancouver City Council voted unanimously to engage in Practicing Democracy, and almost one year after the award winning play closed, we were back in the Council Chambers on Feb. 15, 2005.

IF YOU LIVE IN VANCOUVER there is action to be taken at the end of this update.

Attendance at the Meeting:
Present: Councilors Bass (Chair), Louis, Ladner, Louie, Stevenson, Green, Sullivan, Roberts, Cadman and Woodsworth.
Absent: Mayor Campbell.
Community Speakers: David Diamond, Jamie Lee Hamilton, Ingrid Steenhuisen, Sandra Pronteau, Carrie Gallant. Thanks to all for speaking.

David's speech to Council is available here

Vancouver City Councilor Tim Louis put forward two Motions:

Motion A (see below) is a "housekeeping" Motion that sends all the recommendations marked C2 (possible for consideration) by City Staff to the appropriate working Committees.

The City Staff Report with this information is available here

Motion B (see below) is a first step towards the City creating a new Staff position: "Homeless and Sex Trade Worker Advocate"

City of Vancouver initiatives related to the recommendations in Practicing Democracy: A Legislative Theatre Project

A. THAT the following actions be taken on the recommendations contained in Appendix C of the Administrative Report dated January 27, 2005, entitled "City of Vancouver initiatives related to the recommendations in Practicing Democracy: A Legislative Theatre Project":

* C2 Support Recommendations 153, 154, 155, 156 and all C2 Housing Recommendations be forwarded to the staff preparing the Homeless Action Plan for consideration;
* C2 Support Recommendations 157 and 158 be forwarded to the Food Policy Council for consideration;
* C2 Support Recommendations 113 and 116 be forwarded to the City's Child and Youth Advocate for consideration; and
* Recommendations 145 - 151, inclusive, be referred to the Women's Task Force.

AND FURTHER THAT, Council request all of the above recipients to report back to Council on the outcome of the above-noted C2 recommendations.
This Motion passed unanimously.

B. THAT City Council ask the City Manager, in conjunction with the staff preparing the Homeless Action Plan and the Women's Task Force, to report back on the feasibility of creating a "Homeless and Sex Trade Worker Advocate's position, similar in structure to the Child and Youth Advocate." The mandate of this position would include, but not be limited to:

* helping navigate the relationship between individuals in this sector of the population and the Vancouver Police Department; and
* making linkages between people and agencies to facilitate care, outreach, etc., regarding addiction, health, shelter, food, etc.

AND FURTHER THAT this staff person have the ability to send reports in the name of the advocate to any relevant body advocating for the safety of the homeless and sex trade workers. This would include reports to the Vancouver Police Board, the Police Complaints Commission, the Solicitor General, etc.
Voted in favour: Councilors Bass, Louis, Ladner, Louie, Stevenson, Green, Roberts, Cadman and Woodsworth.
Voted against: Councilor Sullivan
Motion passed.

What happens next? It is certainly the case that there are details to work out regarding a position like this: How the person filling the position would be chosen, for instance, and the precise details of the job. At this point it is very important to secure the concept of the position.

IF YOU LIVE IN VANCOUVER and believe that having a Homeless and Sex Trade Worker Advocate at the City would be an important and positive initiative, please contact both:

the City Councilors and Mayor at:
and the City Manager at:
and please cc:

In your e-mail explain who you are and your connection to the issues, why you think the initiative is important, and that you want to be part of the consultation.

Also please, pass this information on to any agencies that work on issues of poverty, homelessness and/or sex trade workers.

Practice Democracy. Have your voice heard. We will keep you posted.

February 9, 2005

Finally! Practicing Democracy’s Report Goes back to Vancouver City Council

After eleven months Practicing Democracy is finally coming back to Vancouver City Council. The meeting is Tuesday, Feb. 15 at 9:30 AM in the Council Chamber, Third Floor, City Hall, 453 West 12th Ave. The staff report can be found at:

At the very end of the report is another link to a PDF file that is a chart of all the recommendations.
This has been a long and frustrating process. The staff report makes no recommendations and is coming to Council as information only. It does appear that Councillor Louis will be bringing forward a motion regarding Practicing Democracy at the meeting.
IF YOU WANT TO SPEAK AT THE MEETING: Call Pat Boomhower IMMEDIATELY at 604-873-7015. She needs to hear from you no later than 1PM, Monday Feb. 14. Speakers will be limited to 5 minutes.



On Dec. 21, 2004 David sent the following e-mail to the Mayor and Council:

Subject: A Creative City Practises Democracy

Hello Mayor Campbell and all Council members,

I am heartened to see the media report today regarding your unanimous vote to create "The Creative City Task Force" with Councillors Green and Louie as the chairs and Woodsworth as a member.
This seems like a good opportunity to acknowledge the amazing work that Wendy Au from City Staff has been doing on the Practicing Democracy (PD) Legislative report, (along with Councillor Tim Louis and myself) which should soon be ready to come back to Council.
As you might already be aware, many of the recommendations from PD mirror initiatives being undertaken by the City; for instance, all of the recommendations regarding FOOD DISTRIBUTION have already been forwarded to the Food Policy Council; that group has informed us that they are taking the PD suggestions into account in their meetings.
Other recommendations will make their way to the Committee developing the HOMELESS ACTION PLAN. Still others mirror in a not-so-surprising way, recommendations from the PIVOT LEGAL SOCIETY Report "To Serve and Protect" that was just accepted by the Peace and Justice Committee regarding issues of SAFETY in the hands of Vancouver Police for lower income Vancouver citizens. I trust that this report will also make its way to Council.
Still other PD recommendations, because of both their innovation and relevance, will come back directly to Council in, I hope, the not-too-distant future. It is nine months since we finished the run of the award winning play.
I want to take this moment to encourage all of you to follow through with your commitment to creative and innovative approaches to governance, and in particular to participatory democracy, as embodied by the unanimous Council vote to officially participate in the Practicing Democracy project.
All the best for the New Year
David Diamond

October 18, 2004:

We have just had news from the City of Vancouver Clerk's Office that the report-back to City Council has been taken off the agenda.
This is a result of David having had discussions with City Councillors and an agreement that the report needs more work. The discussions between Headlines and the Councillors will continue and deepen. It is our understanding that some Councillors will then meet with City Staff in order to give direction to the report.
This means of course, that there won't be any discussion about the report at the next Standing Committee meeting. For those of you who requested to speak at their next meeting, there is no need anymore.
Participatory Democracy is a process and it seems we are back on track! We will keep you posted as events unfold.