Tent camp in Nanaimo has attracted up to 300 people. (Nanaimo News Bulletin)

B.C. VIEWS: Residents have had enough of catering to squatters

Media myth of homeless victims offends those who know better

Last week’s column on B.C.’s “anti-capitalist” tent camp organizers got some surprising responses, including one from Premier John Horgan.

I raised the question of who is really in charge of supportive housing policy in B.C. Is it Horgan and Housing Minister Selina Robinson, or is it Alliance Against Displacement tent wranglers Ivan Drury and Chrissy Brett, along with their lawyers and financial backers?

All parts of the province struggle with our new generation of wasted street people, mostly feral males left to raise themselves in a culture that worships sex, violence, drugs and rock and roll. And the Left Coast is Canada’s natural gathering place for the drifters and thieves who will do anything but work to support their bad habits. That’s why highway routes into our soft-climate, soft-politics urban regions are where the “tent cities” tend to spring up.

This is being systematically organized in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and southern Vancouver Island. Brett and Drury produce a TV “reality show” where everyone is declared “homeless,” even when most are not, and must be comforted with state money and food. Politicians know that if they question this flimsy fiction, they will be vilified by the feelings-first media chorus as heartless and right-wing.

In fact, Horgan’s NDP government isn’t keeping up with the massive social housing spending presided over by long-time B.C. Liberal housing czar Rich Coleman. And there are signs that Horgan and Robinson are getting fed up with running from staged squat to staged squat with temporary housing and fresh groceries.

“Good column,” Horgan said, flashing me a thumbs up as he headed down the legislature hallway. Perhaps he meant the part about how there are more than 7,000 people on waiting lists for supportive housing in B.C., while trespassing and threats get some to the front of the line. That outrage has to become known before people will rethink the victim narrative they are being fed.

RELATED: Thousands on waiting list while bullies get priority

Actual victims write to me. One Nanaimo resident says he was forced to sell and move out of the downtown area due to the expanding squat there. (When free lunch was offered, this particularly nasty camp suddenly doubled in size to around 300.)

He describes a neighbour, a military veteran with terminal cancer, who had his patio furniture stolen and even found someone sleeping in his spare bedroom.

A reader in Courtenay owns an industrial property that has seen two break-ins recently. He has watched a steady stream of people carrying the stuff they have gathered in the community through his property, and is considering a large and expensive perimeter fence.

When the politicians are as fed up as the police officers and paramedics are, we’ll see policy change.

Tom Fletcher is B.C. legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press. Email: tfletcher@blackpress.ca


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Convicted animal abuser to return to B.C. court May 21

Catherine Jessica Adams is facing a breach of probation charge

Northwest Fire Centre open burn ban lifted

Recent rain, cooler temperatures have lowered the region’s fire risk

Telkwa pot plant application passes review

Cannabis company claims new Health Canada regulations are working in its favour

Cullen demands action on Ecstall River

Failing to penalize parties involved undermines all salmon conservation efforts, MP says

Governments, industry bid on optimism amid timber review

The possibility of reduced forestry activity in the near future is sinking… Continue reading

UPDATE: B.C. pilot killed in Honduras plane crash

The crash happened in the Roatan Islands area, according to officials

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Carbon dioxide at highest levels for over 2.5 million years, expert warns of 100 years of disruption

CO2 levels rising rapidly, now higher than at any point in humanity’s history

B.C. residential school survivor’s indomitable human spirit centre of school play

Terrace theatre company plans to revive Nisga’a leader Larry Guno’s Bunk #7 next year

B.C. ferry stops to let black bear swim past near Nanaimo

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Most Read