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

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

The Village of Salmo has told Cody Puckett and Ashley Nelson that clearing land at this property doesn’t constitute building a property according to a bylaw. Photo: Submitted
Work in progress? Salmo family, village at odds over property construction

Cody Puckett says he’s being evicted from his own land, which the village disputes

Finn Lydon. Photo: Submitted
UPDATE: Winlaw boy reported missing has been found

Finn Lydon was was located last evening

Dr. Albert de Villiers, Chief Medical Health Officer for the Interior Health Authority. (Contributed)
‘People need to start listening’: IH top doc combats COVID-19 misconceptions

Dr. Albert de Villiers says light at the end of the tunnel will grow in step with people’s adherence to PHO guidance

(File)
One death and 82 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

1,981 total cases, 609 are active and those individuals are on isolation

Youth Climate Corps members April Gariepy, Summer Monkman and Linn Murray at work in West Arm Provincial Park, fall 2020. Photo: Submitted
Youth Climate Corps members April Gariepy, Summer Monkman and Linn Murray at work in West Arm Provincial Park. fall 2020. Photo submitted
VIDEO: Kootenay youth climate group works to protect Nelson’s water supply

Youth Climate Corps members spent five weeks thinning forest in West Arm Park

Boundary Community Food Bank President Mike Wakelin thanked Grand Forks’ first-responders and city employees who donated food last week. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Boundary Food Bank see recent uptick in clients after CERB runs out

President Mike Wakelin said demand plummeted while the benefit was available to working Canadians

Melissa David, of Parachutes for Pets and her dogs Hudson and Charlie are trying to raise money for a homeless shelter that will allow pets and are seen in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘My only wish:’ Children asking pet charity to help their furry friends at Christmas

Parachutes for Pets says it has received 14 letters from children in the last week t

Melissa Velden and her chef-husband Chris Velden, stand in their dining room at the Flying Apron Inn and Cookery in Summerville, N.S. on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. The couple is hosting holiday parties with appropriate distancing and other COVID-19 health protocols in place at their restaurant. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Celebrities, Santa and Zoom part of office holiday parties being held amid COVID-19

Many will send tokens of appreciation to workers or offer time off or cash

Richard Reeves examines a painted film strip in his home studio. Photo: Aaron Hemens
PHOTOS: Pandemic inspires creativity for Creston animator Richard Reeves

For more than 30 years, Richard Reeves has been creating abstract animated short-films by drawing and painting images onto strips of film.

Good Samaritan Mountainview Village located at 1540 KLO Road in Kelowna. (Good Samaritan Society)
First long-term care resident dies from COVID-19 in Interior Health

Man in his 80s dies following virus outbreak at Mountainview Village

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

Most Read