Statuesque in Victoria is held in place by successive Mayors & Council because of ties to the Bigger Parties that hold statuesque over BC and in Canada. These Parties are Leadership Cults and are sold to Canadians as Value Based Organizations, but its clear the values are only used for Election purposes & their main focus is serving Corp Greed. Case in point is Homelessness, there is no good reason Victoria should have nearly 2,000 people suffering from a wide range of issues from poverty to mental health living on our streets. The Problem of homelessness ballooned in the early part of the New Millennium. It gestated from the tag team efforts of BC NDP as they left office after the 90’s & the incoming BC Liberals as they closed down Facilities that housed and cared for those in our society with mental health issues. Its not a far reach to assume these members of our society would have trouble caring for themselves on the streets, but that’s where our Government has left them.
Its common knowledge for people of Victoria that the cost of ignoring homeless people far out weights the cost of assisting them into housing. On average ignoring someone sleeping rough costs BC about $60,000 a year. I say its common knowledge because these costs have been shared by community activists for decades. These concerns fall on deaf ears at City Hall who say their hands are tied because of inaction from other levels of Government. In the last Civic Election our Mayor Lisa Helps suggested the best thing for our streets it to fill them with shoppers so nobody can see the homeless? Strange? How did she win?
In 2008 the Street Community took the City to BC Supreme Court for a Charter of Rights Challenge and demonstrated the services provided by the City were unreasonable. They won the Court Case which stipulated quite clearly that our Charter of Rights affords us all reasonable services and so struck down the City By-Law that prohibited people from setting up tents in our Parks. Dean Fortin, a councillor acting as Mayor as Alan Low was away, appealed the decision which he lost. The Judge then let him off the hook, saying since the City had now modified the By-law to allow tenting between dusk & dawn, the Judge explained the Street Community would need to put together a completely new case to challenge these new rules. We have had people tenting in our Parks ever since.
The right thing to do is invest in improving our Street Services & develop solutions that afford the people using them the same security we’d all expect to have in any Public Institution. The reasons the Court found City Services to be unreasonable were related to over crowding, illnesses, and crime that was rampant in the facilities. Details can be found in this report, 112 pages our Media implied weren’t worth reading?
Today we have close to 2,000 people living rough on Victoria Streets. Genuine solutions will arrive after we curb Neoliberalism by electing a Mayor & a Council that doesn’t cater to the tenants of Lowering Taxes for the Wealthiest & increasing the burdens for everyone else. To do achieve this we need to vote past the Big Money Campaigns that have strings attached & choose small money Candidates for City Hall, I hope I can earn your support in this regard.