A People's Plan for METROTOWN
 

Educate ourselves about the struggles our communities share against landlord and developer power to learn how we can be stronger together.

Organize to defend our most vulnerable neighbours against landlord & building manager harassment, building condition decay, and illegal eviction.

Resist eviction orders.
Stay in our homes
- TOGETHER -

WE WON'T GO!


"I highly encourage people to stay where they are. As you move it will get worse. Wherever you go, it'll be the same story." ~ Martin, demovicted from 5025 Imperial

For two years members of the Stop Demovictions Burnaby campaign have dutifully lined up to speak at City Council rezoning hearings, we have researched and written articles and reports about the impacts of demovictions, and we have protested in the streets, demanding change. Burnaby City Council and their allies in the BC NDP have ignored, silenced, slandered, and dismissed us. Burnaby's passage of the "Downtown" Metrotown Plan is a game changer. The time to protest has ended, and the time to resist evictions has come.

Why should we wait for them to alleviate the crisis they have created? Why should we obey their orders and accept forced removal from our homes? We won’t wait anymore because if we wait, we wait only for our eviction.

We Won't Go is a campaign of recognizing our common struggles, and reclaiming collective belonging. We Won't Go is a mass civil disobedience campaign in 3 concrete steps.

As the flames of mass demovictions rise up all around us in the shape of radiant glass towers, we see the pains of the century and a half of Canadian history reflected back at us. Through these 3 concrete steps we invite to you to join us and defend our neighbourhood. Now is the moment to come together; tomorrow might be too late.

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A WAY TO KEEP OUR HOMES: A STRATEGY TO CHALLENGE CANADA’S PRIVATE PROPERTY RULE

The People's Plan proposes that we stop evictions by refusing to obey eviction notices. To some people that might sound intimidating, or even impossible. We all agree that demovictions are unjust and unethical because they cause so much harm, but they're legal, aren't they? Won't the courts support landlords and send the police to clear us out? Won't we go to jail, or at least won't we get evicted by police and not have anywhere to go? Not necessarily.

An important test in interpreting and implementing Canadian law is the balance of harms. In the contest between a property owner and non-property owners, a judge must consider which party will experience "irreparable harm" through the exercise of the law.

Until very recently, the courts have tended to find that any harm to the price of land or the profits of a business were a greater harm than the harms done to the bodies of working-class, low- income, or Indigenous people. But the enormity of the housing and homelessness crisis, and the protests of low-income people have strained these long standing assumptions. On two occasions in 2016 and 2017, court rulings have recognized that homeless people illegally occupying government-owned lands would suffer greater harms by breaking up the tent cities than the property owner would suffer by allowing them to remain.

So far, these anti-injunction court rulings have been limited to empty land, not buildings, and to governments, not private property owners. But international law suggests that this argument about finding a balance of harms can also apply to private landlords and condo developers attempting mass evictions of their buildings.

The United Nations Guidelines on Forced Evictions call for States to take "intervening measures to ensure that market forces do not increase the vulnerability of low income and marginalised groups to forced eviction." The UN defines forced evictions as "coerced or involuntary displacement of individuals, groups and communities from homes... that were occupied... without the provision of, and access to, appropriate forms of legal or other protection." We believe there is a legally 'unreasonable' gap between the real world displacement effects of real estate market forces and the lack of legal protections offered by Canadian governments.

Beyond the legal tactic, We Won't Go makes a political case in a cultural climate that is growing more and more hostile to profiteering landlords and inhuman development corporations. We are betting that if we all stay, if we refuse to go quietly from our homes to live on our friends couches, in our cars, or in unaffordable and unsafe housing far from our communities, if we call their bluff and challenge the Canadian state to use naked force to remove hundreds of people from their homes to demolish a dwindling and precious rental housing stock, they won't do it.

THE 3 CALLS TO ACTION: EDUCATE, ORGANIZE, RESIST

Burnaby's "Downtown" Metrotown Plan will set off the mass eviction of the whole neighbourhood; we will see rezoning and eviction orders spring up like never before.

The City of Burnaby controls the zoning, demolition, and development permits. But the People's Metrotown Plan includes a community call to action, so we can exercise our power in our homes and in our streets.

In this new "Downtown" Metrotown world, the Stop Demovictions Burnaby Campaign will focus on organizing the thousands of people who are facing the imminent threat of demoviction.

The We Won’t Go campaign is made up of 3 stages so that you can join in no matter where you're at in the demoviction process.