May Day – 2008

While we celebrate the achievements and gains of
working people – the eight-hour day and weekends off, workers compensation,
universal health care and the right of working people to organize – we should
not forget the cost of those gains.

Last week workers in Vancouver rallied to remember the 139 BC
workers killed on the job. On average in BC, more than 3000 working people are
injured every week, and 20 are permanently disabled each and every working day.

In 1968 the Coalition of Progressive Electors was
formed to bring the concerns of working people to a Vancouver City Hall
dominated by the electoral arm of big money interests – the NPA. Early COPE
organizers included Frank Kennedy, chairperson of the Metropolitan Advisory
Committee of the Vancouver and District Labour Council, and Harry Rankin, who
was elected to City Council in 1966 on a platform that focused on the needs of
ordinary working people in Vancouver: low cost housing, a ward system, tax
relief for homeowners and protecting public parks such as Stanley Park from

This May Day 2008, COPE marks 40 years of advocacy
for working families, as well as those on fixed income, renters and
home-owners, small and sustainable business, and neighbourhoods and communities
that make up the cultural diversity of Vancouver.

In Solidarity,

Ellen Woodsworth
COPE External Co-Chairperson

COPE Dim Sum social focuses
on city governance

What does City Hall do? What really matters in your child’s education? What
about our community centres and parks?

Hear what your elected officials – City Councillor David Cadman, School Trustee
Sharon Gregson, and Park Commissioner Loretta Woodcock – have to say on these
questions while enjoying a Dim Sum luncheon with old friends and new

COPE has been organizing a monthly Dim Sum luncheon for the past three years to
facilitate dialogue, mutual learning, networking, and enhance understanding and
support of the immigrant communities.

Past participants include Members of Parliament, Members of BC’s Legislative
Assembly, City Councillors, School Trustees, Park Commissioners, community
activists, teachers, new immigrants, and even an English lord who, unlike
Conrad Black, is an active member of the social democratic movement.

At this Saturday’s Dim Sum we will share a variety of delicious foods from an
array of vegetarian and seafood dishes. Invite your friends, relatives, and

When: 11 am, Sat, May 3,

Where: Rich Ocean Restaurant, 777 W Broadway (at Willow) Van (free underground parking)

Cost is only $15 per person, all inclusive. Thanks to generous contributions from
previous Dim Sum attendees, the Dim Sum is free or by donation for unemployed
and under-employed.

RSVP: Meena Wong at or call 604-603-7447 Seating is
limited, so please book now.

STAND for HOUSING on May 03

At 1 pm on Saturday, May 3, people from across BC will Stand For Housing.

In Vancouver
people will Stand for Housing at 1st and Commercial Drive.

Homelessness – a crisis in our province:

-More than 10,000
homeless people in our province. Affordable rental housing disappears while
land prices soar and land speculation increases in every community in BC.
-No federal social
housing program since 1993.
-Welfare rates do
not meet basic needs: single rental accommodation for $375 is non-existent in Vancouver.
-Minimum wage does
not pay rent.

It is shameful that thousands in our province are homeless and dying in our
streets, parks and alleys and that many more are one step away from
homelessness. The problem affects more people than those with mental health and
addiction issues. The lack of affordable housing impacts seniors, youth and
low-income workers. Immediate action is needed.

What is needed?

Instead of continuing to depend on "market forces" to solve housing concerns,
all levels of government must take action to build housing.

We need:

-A permanent, national social housing program.
-A comprehensive, provincial housing program that works with municipalities and
communities to build affordable housing for people at all income levels.
-Public land for non-market housing – no sale of public land to private
-Improved access to social assistance, increased welfare rates and a higher
minimum wage.

Both the federal and provincial governments have budget surpluses. Construction
of homes for all can start now. There is no excuse for delay.

For STAND materials contact:
For STAND locations:
For any more information:

May 1, 2008 May Day; Dim Sum; and Stand for Housing

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