By Mike Archer. Candidate Bruce Banman famously stated, “Just because I disagree with your drinking doesn’t mean I have the right to force you to drink out of a dirty bottle,” by way of explaining, before he became Mayor, his understanding and agreement with harm reduction methods of keeping addicts alive – something others in this community believe the City should have the legal authority to deny to addicts.
The same man, two years later, is leading one of the most publicly embarrassing and ludicrous assaults on the people assembled in Jubilee Park for safety in numbers and in order to demand the same rights as other citizens of the community.
The Drug War Survivors are simply asking to be treated with a modicum of humanity; to be allowed the same healthcare services to which every Canadian citizen outside of Abbotsford is entitled; to be able to rely on the same protections as other citizens from attacks with chicken feces by City workers, abuse by police, and the harassment implicit in the ‘disperse and displace’ homeless policy the City and its police have been using for so long.
Even if you were to win this battle you will lose Bruce.
Who Will Be In Court This Winter?
The body of evidence which may need to be presented and discussed in open court, day after day after day after day may shed some light on just how badly the political leaders, the police and the service providers of this city have acted towards some of the homeless over the last decade.
Some of us in the media can’t wait to follow the proceedings so that we can finally put some faces and names to the people in the shadows who seem to have created a culture in which some pretty bad stuff like pepper spray, chicken feces, destruction of property, harassment and abuse may have been allowed or even condoned.When your new friends in the power structure realize that the course you have charted in fighting the Drug War Survivors may bring them all out of the shadows and into the legal and media spotlight for weeks and months on end when the trials get going … they may ask you to change your position.
If you really intend to drag the individuals from within Abbotsford’s power structure who may have been responsible for the Abbotsford Homeless Crisis we and many others will be sitting with bated breath in the gallery at the courthouse waiting to see who gets subpoenaed.
Maybe it’s time to stop talking like a tough guy to the beat up remnants of your homeless policy and negotiate with them.
Stop abusing the power with which your friends and neighbours entrusted you by pushing them around. Find out what they are asking for. Then help them achieve it.
Trust me Bruce – your friends don’t want you to fight this one out in a court of law just to see their faces and names plastered all over the media.
Take my advice and make a deal.
Or don’t. Either way we’ve got a ‘Reserved’ sign on our seat in the courthouse gallery in anticipation.