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.

BC legislatureHomeless

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Semi overturns along Highway 22 in Rossland

The 40-year-old female driver was uninjured from the accident

Trail lands $65,000 airport grant

Money to be used for upgraded weather instrumentation at YZZ

Mitchell’s Musings: Rolling the dice for all the marbles

Columnist Glenn Mitchell looks at the snap election called Monday, Sept. 21

105 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death as health officials urge B.C. to remember safety protocols

There are currently 1268 active cases, with 3,337 people under public health monitoring

U.S. Presidential Debate Takeaways: An acrid tone from the opening minute

Here are key takeaways from the first of three scheduled presidential debates before Election Day on Nov. 3

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

A $2 billion investment this year could help parents during second wave of pandemic

Search suspended for Indigenous elder last seen mushroom picking in northwest B.C.

Mushroom picker Thomas (Tommy) Dennis has been missing since Sept. 16

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

‘Bonnie’ and ‘Henry’ among latest litter of service dog puppies

B.C. Alberta Guide Dogs names two pups after provincial health officer

Most Read