For Immediate Release
October 9th, 2013

The Coalition of Progressive Electors today indicted Vision Vancouver’s failed approach to supporting technology sector jobs in the city, in the wake of the announcement that Pixar is closing its Vancouver operation.

“Vision’s approach has been to provide subsidies and special deals for friends and insiders while neglecting the industry and its workers as a whole,” stated Stuart Parker, a member of COPE’s board of directors. “There are fundamental structural reasons that the technology sector is pulling up stakes in our city and we need a civic administration that will address these problems.”

“But our government has the wrong approach. What is needed is a secure light industrial land base, a city that is affordable for tech sector workers and a level playing field for all firms in the sector,” Parker explained. “Subsidizing your favourite company out of city coffers is not the way forward. Today, while Hootsuite, a local social media concern, is holding a ‘job fair’ at their city-subsidized operation, real, family-supporting jobs are leaving Vancouver.”

Parker pledged to enact the following changes to secure the technology sector base:
• Create a strengthened Industrial Land Reserve and end the overtaxation and breakneck conversion of light industrial space into commercial and residential space
• Enact a municipal labour code to penalize companies taking advantage of the provincial exemption of the tech sector from the forty-hour work week
• End special deals with friends and insiders for free and untaxed space that is corroding companies’ confidence in fair treatment by the city
• Insure the existence of affordable rental housing in the city to reduce worker commute times and enable sectoral wages to go further
• Recognize tech sector workers as an often-culturally distinct group and factor late-night commuting, improved pedestrian access and other distinctive features into civic planning

“Fundamentally, Vision doesn’t get it. They think that the health of an industry is based on insider deals and exploiting workers. Even though that theory has been discredited over the past fifteen years since Vision Vancouver councilor Tim Stevenson voted, as an MLA, to abolish the forty-hour work week for the sector and gut their overtime, Vision is still flogging the same shopworn anti-worker policies that consistently fail in the US. What makes an industry healthy is fair treatment, ending corruption and attracting workers with fair working conditions and an affordable living space.”

For more information, please contact:

Stuart Parker

Vision shares blame for Pixar leaving Vancouver, party must stop picking winners and losers and support Tech Sector workers