Eby 1 Firefighters 0: Former Vision candidate scores victory

Post by Daniel Fontaine in

19 comments

firehall mural
An "offensive" mural in Vancouver's Firehall #2 is being removed. Photo: The Province

It's not often I publicly agree with former Vision Vancouver candidate David Eby, but when it comes to his recent efforts to remove an offensive mural at a downtown fire hall, I say bravo. Eby is the head of the BC Civil Liberties Association and he's been leading the charge to remove a mural (see above) which depicted the Angel of Death with the following caption:

It's not the end of the world, but you can see it from here.

Due to Eby's efforts, the firefighters have backed down and announced they will remove the mural. In response to all the controversy, Vancouver's assistant fire chief Wade Pierlot told The Province:

The fact that it offends one person is enough for me.

Prior to the recent media stories, I doubt that many people were aware the fire hall had this mural hanging in full view. However, now that this has become public, I think the VFD deserve credit for how they've handled this potential PR disaster. Their decision to remove the mural quickly will clearly nip this issue in the bud, even if it does anger some of their front-line firefighters who see this as political correctness gone mad.

Eby makes it quite clear as to why he pushed for the mural's removal:

Maybe it was appropriate 15 years ago [when it was put up] but it is not appropriate now. I think the best argument you can make for the mural is black humour -- people having to deal with this every day. If that's the best argument, it's not good enough.

In 2010, images like the one depicted in Fire Hall #2 should no longer be acceptable as something we display in any of our public institutions. Kudos to Eby for raising this issue and for successfully getting the VFD to remove it as soon as possible.

19 Comments

I would like Mr. Eby to volunteer to ride with the fire fighters for a full week.

God bless the firefighters who put their lives on the line to help the public. On a constant basis. Think about it.

So much for free speech and artistic expression. God forbid someone associate a syringe with death or suggest that the DTES was the last stop for many people the firefighters tried to rescue.
Mr. Eby is obviously addicted to media attention and is digging deep to find a way to stay in the spotlight.
This takes sophomoric PC thought-control to a new absurd level.

I can't believe that citycaucus is actually supporting David Eby. Are u guys going all mushy on us? I think Eby is off base on this and u shodn't be encouraging him. This is political correctness gone mad. If I was a fire fighter who voted for vision I'd be rethinking my voting priorities. Love this blog but can't agree with your support of Eby.

What next? Are the photos of scantily clad women in the hallway next to the change room also going to come down? Eby shouldn't stop at taking down the murals. He should also get them to take down the sexist images on display at some firehalls. If you think it ain't happening, just head down to your local hall and take a peak for yourself. This is equally as offensive to women.

Daniel, I'm a bit shocked that you would agree with David Eby, who is supposed to be defending civil rights, yet demands a firehouse remove a piece of artwork that has hung there for years because some people find it offensive.

I think it's offensive that the City of Vancouver painted over a cool mural on Beatty Street with a horrible bright blue colour in the cover of night on Christmas Eve. Will you and David Eby please demand that the City have that removed, too?

When City employees tried to have a piece of graffiti-like anti-Olympics artwork removed from the front of a gallery's building early February, David Eby said it was a threat to freedom of expression. This is the same person demanding that the firefighters remove their artwork from public view.

Thank you, Tom Hu and all the others who have pointed out Mr. Eby's hypocritical stance on this one.

If ever there was a cry from the heart, this mural is it. Ask Hall 2 men and women how many trips they make a night to Insite alone to pick up the OD's off the floor for transport to St. Paul's---and Insite is supposed to be the "safe place!".

As usual, Mr. Eby patronizes the miserable of the DTES and capitalizes on their misery. Drug addicts are the first to say "Don't end up like me!". Mr. Eby prefers to infantilize the drug addicted of the area, inferring that this kind art of discriminates against them.

I consider the art at No. Two Hall to be not only appropriate political expression made under our own Free Speech law (the very one Eby purports to support when his balaclava clad buddies tell him to butt out when they come to town to break windows) but also an honest, anguished and disgusted look at the politics of the DTES.

Mr. Eby, what are you afraid of?

PS.

Assistant Fire Chief Wade Pierlot--- grow a pair, why dontcha?

Stand up for your own people, who have to deal with the continued political inaction of the government (today's and years passim) while suffering the smug pc self-righteousness of people who have so much vested in seeing that things never really change downtown.

Actually, here's another artisitc idea: a painting of les miserables in the middle of a chessboard...

I can't believe that Citycaucus supports the removal of that poster from the fire hall. And for what reasons? After reading the blog, political expediency and the fear of offending even one person? Indeed, no matter what you say or write (just look at this site) someone will be offended or disagree.

Clearly, the top brass at VFD doesn't want to expend political capital for this battle. But maybe it shouldn't roll over so easily.

The poster is a valid form of artistic expression for those fire and rescue crews who work on the frontline of DTES. Sure, it's grim and dark, but it doesn't promote hate.

I have nothing against David Eby, but someone in his position should realize he has to defend freedom of expression and civil rights for everyone, not just his subversive friends on DTES. Eby should realize after the way he was treated by the protesters at the Olympics and the way certain thugs allied to the protesters resorted to violence that these people aren't your friends or constituents.

What happened to freedom of expression? Sure, in Vancouver you're only free if absolutely no one is offended. No wonder this town can never be an innovator of anything insanely great- real innovators are radical thinkers who are undesirable in a conformist, PC place like Vancouver.

Interesting that the VFD union bigwigs are silent on this one. Didn't the firefighters union support Vision and by extension David Eby during the last campaign? I have to wonder if they are feeling a bit of buyers remorse now. The union should be fighting this and the mayor shouldn't be pushed around by Eby so easily. Who's running this city anyways?

Where was Eby when the poverty pimps plaster their inane posters all over public property? It offends me every day I walk down Commercial drive. Can I ask that those be removed please?
A phony baloney in a phony job

"The fact that it offends one person is enough for me."

How the hell does he ever get anything done?

And you agree with this? I found your olympic cheerleading a bit much, this is over the top.

PS.

Your article title 'Eby 1 Firefighters 0'.

What a childish way to get your point across.

Yeah, we sure showed those loser firefighters who is right.

I don't think that poster is offensive at all. That is unless you have very thin skin. Cut the firefighters some slack.

On the other hand, I agree with Sarah (5:05PM) . I don't think that girlie pictures have any place in the work environment especially when all FDs are recruiting women. Remember the bozos in the Richmond FD who did their darndest to make the working environment uncomfortable for women. No room for that nonsense in our society.

It's a waste of money removing this mural! And it's a waste of money and time even discussing about it!
A lot of "art" is offensive to some people but who cares about those people's opinion? I wouldn't care that much about what other people think...

The mural is NOT offensive Daniel.

I worked on the DTES fro five years. It depicts the realities.

There isn't anything offensive. What's offensive is that instead of having three successive Mayors do something about the ills that plague Canada's most impoverished postal code, Messers Campbell, Sullivan and Robertson only perpetuated the problems through rhetorical spin, outlandish initiatives and hiding, respectively.

It's a gruesome piece of "art" and has no place in any workplace.Period.

Its a public workplace. And as such firehall #2 should be neutral of visual statements or art if you call it that. Yes the Dtes has problems. Lets help them up not put em down.

Pictures showing what real firefighters encounter daily would clearly be more effective.

The Firefighters at Firehall #2 are paid Professionals and should act like it.

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