Okay, I'll admit it: I've been inspired by the Occupy Wall Street protests – the tenacity of the demonstrators, the passionate speakers who have rallied the crowds, the outpouring of support, the live-streaming of shaky handheld images of sidewalks, the snacks, the fashions.
Most of all, I've been inspired by the long and detailed lists of demands produced by the protesters.
And so, given that Vancouver's own protest is set to begin Saturday, and given that the Vancouver civic election is just five weeks away, I have a few demands of my own.
I intend to occupy Vancouver, leaving only occasionally for holidays, business trips and cross-border cheese-shopping until my demands are met.
Demand One: The immediate cancellation of any Twitter account belonging to any candidate running for council, the park board or school board in the Vancouver civic election. This includes accounts belonging to any of their campaigners or political staff. Candidates must also refrain from posting links to any clearly partisan third-party websites masquerading as authorities on civic issues, or blogs that consistently favour one party over another.
On Nov. 20, you may reactivate your accounts, but tweet only one of the following: “Thank you for your support,” or “We'll get them next time. LOL.”
Demand Two: That all civic politicians refrain from being photographed in front of/standing next to/sharing a frame with any project/building/roadway/community amenity paid for by taxpayers. If the project was initiated by a previous council or mayor, the candidate may be photographed but only if hugging or high-fiving the original proponent.
Further, any discussion by candidates about the Olympic Village site must be prefaced by the phrase, “It was my fault too…”
Demand Three: That any public comments on separated bike lanes end with the phrase, “… and I voted in favour of this.”
Demand Four: That during the campaign period all disgruntled citizens refrain from being photographed in front of/standing next to/sharing the frame with that which has made them disgruntled. This includes abandoned construction sites, laneway houses, tree houses and poorly trimmed hedges.
Demand Five: That any mention of the word “green” is in reference to something that is actually the colour green.
Demand Six: The immediate reinstatement of the letter “g” at the end of words such as working, living, thinking and doing. This applies to both civic candidates and all elected members of the B.C. Legislature.
Demand Seven: An immediate moratorium on the word “folks,” spoken, or in printed quotes attributed to any civic politician.
Demand Eight: An end to ominous background music in broadcast political advertisements that becomes airy and optimistic toward the end, when the name of the politician who purchased the ad is mentioned.
Demand Nine: An end to all accusations and allegations gutlessly phrased as questions. This includes the phrases “come clean on,” “own up to” and “cleaning out the henhouse.”
Demand 10: An end to using homeless people as a scorecard that measures the success or failure of housing policy. This includes a moratorium on all photo ops with homeless people.
Demand 11: An end to declaring a moratorium on anything, especially in cases where a moratorium would have literally no effect.
Demand 12: That candidates be prohibited from promising housing, transit projects, amenities, immigration policies or trade policies over which they have no jurisdiction, or for which they have no money.
Demand 13: That candidates refrain from promising measures to make housing more affordable in Vancouver.
Demand 14: The immediate removal of the “Like” button from any Facebook page belonging to a civic candidate.
Demand 15: That all candidates and elected officials be prohibited from tweets or Facebook status updates that begin with the phrase, “Just had a great meeting with…”
Demand 16: That candidates refrain from posting pictures of just-consumed seafood dinners.
Demand 17: A prohibition on Burma-shave style sign displays aimed at early-morning bridge commuters who are already busy texting, after all.
Demand 18: A prohibition on any bets or wagers by civic officials that involve the loser wearing the jersey of the opposing team.
Demand 19: A complete and immediate ban on the “thumbs up” gesture.
Demand 20: That candidates and elected officials refrain from treating residential and business property owners as bottomless pits of easily available cash.
Stephen Quinn is the host of On the Coast on CBC Radio One, 690 AM and 88.1 FM in Vancouver. firstname.lastname@example.org