Roughly ten brightly colored cardboard fish were held by people standing on the steps on the Vancouver Art Gallery at lunch time Tuesday.The weather was more suitable to fish than to people, wet with puddles. But the sun appeared shortly after about 60 people gathered in front of the Art Gallery. They listened to speakers protesting the failure of organizers of the 2010 Winter Olympics to make good on their promise to build social housing.

The protesters wanted the world to know that governments renegging on their promise to make social housing an Olympics legacy are considering coughing up $90 million to expand the aquarium in Stanley Park. In a handout at the protest, protesters summed up their case:
“While more than 2000 people are sleeping on our streets, the Vancouver Aquarium expansion is about to provide luxury homes to captive fish for $90 million. The fish aren’t happy about it and neither are Vancouver residents.”
With the exception of several reporters and tv cameras, the crowd was made up largely of familiar faces from the Vancouver left. Wendy Pederson, a key organizer of the event is becoming a big fish in their little pond. “Our governments are rolling in dough,” Pederson, a full-time paid organizer for the Carnegie Action Project on the Downtown Eastside, told the crowd as she held a microphone on the steps. “All of the money they spend on these tourist projects and then on top of that, last year the province had a 4.1 billion dollar surplus. That’s money on top of all of their spending.”
Dag Walker, a blogger at the Vancouver site, Covenant Zone, has a different take on the surplus. “If the government has a 4.1 billion dollar surplus, they should be cutting taxes.”

The Carnegie Action Project and the other groups which organized the protest, Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users [VANDU] and Citywide Housing Coalition had one key demand: that government get to work right away and build 3,200 units of social housing.

The handout highlighting key points revealed a sense of entitlement characteristic of such protests: “Do I need to grow gills to get a home?”, Clyde Wright, Vice President, Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction and Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users member, was quote as saying. 
Some taxpayers take issue with this sense of entitlement. . . .
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view photographs of the protesters with  their fish, go to Downtown Eastside Enquirer
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