Fire at the Washington Hotel in Vancouver
I’ve just heard that there is a fire at the Washington Hotel in Vancouver. This is a hotel run by the Portland Hotel Society, which provides living space for hard-to-house residents in the Downtown Eastside. Liz Evans of the Portland was kind enough to attend a dialogue on global drug policy that we had last year, where we talked about Vancouver as an innovator in finding ways to address addiction and homelessness issues (including through InSite, the city’s safe injection site). The work done by the people at the Portland is amazing, particularly because of their willingness to experiment and deviate from conventional approaches. To me it’s a great example of how Canada has the potential to provide a model to the world – especially given that innovation is one of our five key areas of potential leadership – and could do so more effectively if all the major actors (including government) supported the efforts of the Portland and others working in the Downtown Eastside.