'Vancouver is Dying' filmmaker to headline Kamloops safety forum

Polarizing director at forum

The man behind two polarizing YouTube films about street disorder and Canadian drug policy will be in Kamloops later this month for a community safety forum.

Aaron Gunn, producer and director of Canada is Dying and Vancouver is Dying, is slated to appear on a panel at a June 21 event.

The forum was organized by former city councillor Denis Walsh after a motion proposed by Mayor Reid Hamer-Jackson was voted down by city council last week.

Walsh said he hopes to hold a moderated discussion about crime reduction and addiction recovery.

Gunn is a YouTube creator and filmmaker who produced the popular series Politics Explained and directed Canada is Dying and Vancouver is Dying, which garnered more than 3 million views.

Walsh told Castanet Kamloops the forum is a "nonpartisan" event. He said he believes Gunn brings expertise about “this kind of breakdown and social disorder.”

Gunn is a polarizing figure to many in B.C. He was kicked out of the former BC Liberal Party's leadership race in 2021 due to comments "inconsistent" with the party's beliefs.

Gunn was criticized at the time as an "alt-right" activist — a label he took issue with. In 2021, a Vancouver Is Awesome opinion piece quoted him as saying he is pro common-sense rather than alt-right.

Walsh said Gunn will be one of three panellists at the forum. He is hoping to track down a panellist with a background in law and another with a background in recovery.

“We need to find a bridge to recovery. That's the main goal of the public forum — a path forward,” he said.

"I think it's time we had a look at what what we're accomplishing and what we're not accomplishing."

Walsh said that after the forum he hopes to bring some ideas to Kamloops city council, local MLAs and Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Frank Caputo.

The event will take place at the TRU Clocktower Theatre on Wednesday, June 21, from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.

Walsh said the event will either be videotaped or live streamed on YouTube.

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