Abbotsford’s Shame: A Petition Against Empathy

If you are a business owner, you know that “keeping up appearances” is very important. You take pride in your work and achievements and do your best to present your establishment in a way that will make it appealing and welcoming to anyone and everyone.

You would not want to do anything that would label you as “biased” and drastically reduce your clientele. That is what most businesses outside of Abbotsford, BC would do.

However, The Downtown Abbotsford Business Association* and its members have done quite the opposite. Not only did Abbotsford businesses shame same-sex couples/ families out of their establishments during the noted “Successful” Pride Parade in May of this year**  they have taken it to the next level with their disgraceful petition against a housing proposal to aid the homeless by building  a transition house in a currently empty lot.

Now keeping in mind, Abbotsfords’ recent abhorrent acts towards the homeless have attracted nation-wide attention including massive news organization such as CBC and The Globe and Mail.

How can you so strongly oppose someone you've never met?

How can you so strongly oppose someone you’ve never met?

Such acts include, but are not limited to: dumping a truckload of chicken manure on an area under a tree known as “the happy tree” which provided marginal respite for some of the homeless and more recently, Abborsford Police officers facing allegations of cutting down an area of shelters and proceeding to spray all of the tents, bedding and warm clothing with potent mace and bear spray, rendering it completely useless.

I would have thought that with the impressive number of people up-in-arms and the widespread news coverage that Abbotsford citizens would be scrambling to gain some form of integrity and credibility: Especially officials and business owners who have the most to lose.

This simple logic has not been applied by the ADBA and its associates. In fact, a recent petition was launched to oppose the efforts of the Abbotsford Community Services‘ attempt to provide a safe and dry place for those without shelter.

This petition currently has over 2000 signatures and apparently those who have signed it are not only unapologetic but uninformed and arrogant.

This was shown when a meeting was held to “open dialogue” on the opposing parties and those in support of this much-needed project. The ADBA attended this meeting and stated very clearly: ” Q\We are deadly opposed and will always be deadly opposed to this project”. One of our readers sums this up perfectly: “This [was] before the public forum and during the following conversation [they] were corrected on several items of misinformation.

How can you publicly oppose something with so much vengeance before you have all the information …”.

Educate before you alienate.

Educate before you alienate. Photo courtesy of AbbyNews.

Please remember, as you follow these events and those to follow that no, not all homeless people were failures and drug abusers.

Many of them just had a run of terrible events which ended up in a loss of everything.

Most of us can rest easily in our warm beds knowing that this hasn’t happened to us.

However, none of us are ever far removed from it. No one can guarantee your tomorrow, so let’s try to make someone else’s a little less devastating.

*Hereafter referred to as “ADBA”

**Since these incidents Fraser Valley Youth Society has listed “safe spaces” for people of the LGBT community to shop/dine in. There are currently only three (including one unlisted that I know of)!

Please comment here or on our Facebook page

Alternately, you can remain anonymous by contacting us via email.


Further resources:


Abbotsfordonians FOR a transition house downtown

For more information and how to write a letter of support

Informative article from The Province Newspaper


Carrie Besko
Carrie BeskoCarrie Besko is the Editor of The Deroche Decibel. The Decibel is a  newsletter based out of Deroche, British Columbia. We feature local and nearby events, local businesses and resources, family and gardening tips, entertainment and tech news and much more. Our aim is to involve the community as much as possible through writing contests and an open invitation for feedback, comments and writing contributions. We hope it is as much fun to read as it is to write! This is an ongoing learning experience, so please send all feedback to

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