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Safe Streets Act - What Is It?

The Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Assocation (DVBIA) has made it their business to clean up what they consider to be their jurisdiction.  Of course, we all know to get nervous with the upper classes start talking about ‘cleaning up,’ as it typically means many of us will be getting our heads cracked and/or losing livelihoods.  As part of this effort, they have hired former VPD goon David Jones as their chief of crime prevention.  David’s absolute disdain for the poor makes him the perfect suit for the job and the DVBIA is glad to have him aboard. 


Dave Jones and the DVBIA have pretty clear goals – all of which result in making the Downtown core area unliveable for poor people.  The Safer Streets Act is an important part of their strategy.  If passed, the SSA will further criminalize poor people by making activities such as squeegeeing and panhandling summary offences.  We know that this will translate into red zones and jail time for homeless and street-involved people – simply for doing what they need to do to survive. 


The Anti-Poverty Committee is committed to making this agenda uncomfortable for the DVBIA. 



More Information on the Safe Streets Act:

APC Squeegee Success!

December 3, 2004

Today the Vancouver Police Department and Canada Place security guards exposed the true meaning of the Safe Street Act (SSA). This show of force took place at a pan-in organized by the Anti-Poverty Committee, which would have disrupted Vancouver Board of Trade-hosted luncheon featuring Solicitor-General Rich Coleman.

A handful of APC members showed up at Canada Place and were met by over 50 police officers and a legion of security guards (reminiscent of an APC demonstration against Gordon Campbell last week where the VPD grossly outnumbered protesters).  The VPD have made it clear that their duty is to serve and protect the Liberals and their financial supporters from the poor working people who are fed up.

Seeing that there would be no way to penetrate the excessive police line, APC members began distributing information leaflets to delegates of the BC Federation of Labour Convention who were meeting in the same building.

After handing out a stack of leaflets and returning to give out more two APC members were stopped by security guards who threatened to “take them down” if they continued to leaflet. The two members dared the security to do so as they moved past the gate that had been set up.

Inside the convention room, the APC members continued to leaflet while a resolution against the Safe Street Act was being discussed on the floor.  As union member after union member denounced the Act and vowed to fight against it, the two APC members were swarmed by security guards who tried to expel them from the building.  Seeing this, dozens of union representatives surrounded the APC leafleters and demanded security to back off.  When learning both APC members were CUPE members, the delegates sent for their local representatives who in turn stood guard while leaflets were again distributed.

The BC Fed’s resolution against the SSA passed unanimously and the Safe Streets Act was recognized as an attack on all working and unemployed people. Union members explained that the Act will be used against picket lines in the same way in will be used to police panhandlers.  People got up and spoke out against the enormous police presence outside and vowed to stand with the Anti-Poverty Committee in their struggles.

The convention closed on those lines and the delegates joined the APC outside. The police quickly withdrew some of their officers,  embarrassed by their obvious overkill. Squeegees where handed out to union members who took turns sqeegeeing traffic. A group of people then joined members of the Squeegee Council who worked the intersection in front of Canada Place.

Although Rich Coleman was able to give his speech on the ‘future of policing in BC’, and the Board of Trade members who aggressively lobbied for the SSA to be passed were not disrupted while toasting their success in social cleansing, the action was a success. The image of union members squeegeeing windows along side street-involved workers was worth a thousand chants. In the rain and surrounded by police, solidarity became more than a gesture - it became the strength of a movement that will defeat this government and struggle for real justice.

CBC: Study pans Ontario Safe Streets Act

VANCOUVER - A report done in Ontario shows that province's Safe Streets Act – similar to a law pending in B.C. – has resulted in tougher times for panhandlers and squeegee kids in Toronto.

The study by Guelph University professor Bill O'Grady shows that the legislation has almost eliminated squeegee kids from the streets of downtown Toronto. read more ==>

LINK: O'Grady's study of the effects of Ontario Safe Streets Act

Enough is Enough Demo

more photos ==>
media reports ==>

No to Social Cleansing!

September 30, 2004


The Safe Streets Act is the latest proposed tool to be used in the war against the poor. By criminalizing acts such as panhandling and squeegee work the Liberals are outlawing the last resorts used to subsist in a life of day-to-day-survival.


This is a social policy the Liberals excel at: take away your livelihood then ensure there is no way to survive. This is a campaign of social cleansing.


When a person is forced off welfare they are thrown into a job club by the ministry. If they or any of the other thousands of people in the same club are unable to secure employment in a limited amount of time they are refused all income assistance and are unable to reapply to welfare for three years.


The Safe Street Act and two year time limit are only a couple examples of how poor people are subjected to a life that you must fight in order survive. The slaughter of women in the sex trade here in Vancouver displays to what extent the horror of social cleansing has been allowed both by government compliance and public complacency.


Placed in the proper context of social cleansing, the SSA revels the ongoing strategy of the Liberals. Creating such a climate of destitution leaves poor working people with little hope or choice. As we have seen with the implementation of the $6 training wage and workfare, people in the cheap labour pool are begging for the opportunity to feed their families.


In this province where schools and hospitals are being closed while millions are invested in supplying a shelter system to warehouse the homeless, all working people must ask how far are we willing to go. When will enough be enough?

"Safe Streets" A Dead End

Gastown Mass Pan-In

February 10. 2004 


On Tuesday February 10th the Housing Action Committee (HAC), the Anti-Poverty Committee (APC), End Legislated Poverty (ELP) and a fist full of supporters stormed the stone sidewalks of Gastown. The small army of well over a hundred poor and working poor people lined the streets in a mass “pan-in.”  Tourists, who usually walk by panners with disdain, were overwhelmed with shock. The police who are more then used to harassing individual panhandlers where left powerless by the mob...  



Safe Streets Act

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What is APC?

APC is...The Anti-Poverty Committee is an organization of poor and working people, who fight for poor people, their rights and an end to poverty by any means necessary.

The poor face constant attack under the capitalist system and these attacks have only intensified under the BC Liberal government. APC is committed to fighting the brutal policies of the BC Liberals through direct action, mass mobilization, and casework.

We oppose racism, sexism, homophobia, and all other forms of oppression. APC is an independent and democratic organization open to anyone who agrees with our basis of unity. We are committed to working in solidarity with the struggles of other progressive movements — locally, nationally, and internationally — to end poverty and injustice.

Contact us :

tel: 604-682-2726
fax: 604-682-2752 apc@resist.ca

332 Carrall St.
Vancouver, BC
Coast Salish Territory
Canada  v6b 2j3