01/17/2013 10:01 EST

Vancouver 'Homeless Fines' Punish The Poor: Blog

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A homeless man sits on the street in downtown Vancouver on February 10, 2010, two days before the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics. Vancouver, often ranked as one of the world's most livable cities, is also plagued by a chronic and growing problem of homelessness. Activists say that the millions of dollars spent to host the Olympics would have been better spent helping the province's poor. AFP PHOTO/Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

The City of Vancouver is looking to massively increase penalties for certain bylaw violations, a move that one activist blog says amounts to a "fine for homelessness."

The Mainlander writes that the city's proposal to increase maximum fines from $2,000 to $10,000 on 42 city bylaws is an attack on "low income people" for actions such as jaywalking, sleeping outside and selling goods on the street.

The city wants to increase the fines so that they can be an "effective deterrent" against bylaw violations. Coun. Geoff Meggs said in a blog post that current maximum fines of $2,000 are "no deterrent" to activities such as illegal parking, illegal signs or building code violations.

"A homeless person in Vancouver already gets a minimum $1,000 fine for erecting a tent in public," claims a Mainlander post. "But the new revisions propose extending that punitive logic to all aspects of daily life."

City council met to discuss the bylaw penalties on Tuesday night but three of them, concerning city land use, street vending and traffic, were struck from the agenda because they are currently the subject of a constitutional challenge.

In the end, council only passed increases for zoning and sign infractions.

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