BC Business Magazine: David Eby takes centre court in the fight for affordable housing

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October 27, 2017 | Richard Littlemore

Quoted from the article:

Eby blames (or credits) “a cute girl” for tempting him to the West Coast—a fellow Dalhousie student whom he followed that first summer to her hometown of Vancouver, where he took a summer job with the Law Foundation of B.C. His first major project was to research and write The Arrest Handbook: A Guide to Your Rights, which was ultimately published by a future employer, the BC Civil Liberties Association. He lost the girl but kept the town, returning every subsequent summer to work for the Foundation and then for the federal Department of Justice, where he was accepted as an articling student after graduating from Dalhousie. There he spent most of his time prosecuting small time criminals—poor, drug-addicted women who “were doing what they had to do to get drugs or food.” He says now: “I have great respect for my colleagues and I respect the need for that work, but I couldn’t do it.”

So he was delighted, on the day he was called to the B.C. bar in May 2005, that activist lawyer John Richardson offered him a job at the Pivot Legal Society—a still-new organization that had been founded, according to its literature, “to use the law to address the root causes of poverty and social exclusion.” Eby’s six-month contract—paying only $18,000—turned into four years at Pivot, and was followed by five years as executive director of the BC Civil Liberties Association. “You don’t see many wins in that kind of low-income human rights work,” he says. “Most people think if you were shot by the cops, you probably deserved it.” But it was excellent training ground for politics: “You learn pretty quickly that you can’t do anything without community buy-in.”

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