Mayor Banman! Your Proctologist Called – He Found Your Head.

By February 7, 2013Letters

The headline is the politest comment that came to mind after reading Mayor Banman’s commentson Fraser Mental Health and Substance Use’s [FMH&SU] presentation at the harm reduction forum on Tuesday January 29, 2013.

It is also reflects the obtuseness of Mayor Banman’s comments.

“If you want cooperation, you don’t start with threats,” said Banman.

FMH & SU didn’t start with threats. The statement about exploring legal options was made in response to a direct question from the audience.

The representatives from FMH & SU are bureaucrats not politicians, so while a careful choice of words, spin and gobbledegook were to be expected, outright lying remains the purview of politicians.

The panelists were from, specifically, Fraser Mental Health and Substance Use [FMH & SU] and Mayor Banman and any council members present should have been listening to what was being said, rather than being focused on listening for what it was they wanted to hear.

To those who listened, the representatives from FMH & SU conveyed an abundance of information about the state of affairs within FMH & SU, within Fraser Health and the Ministry of Health.

That the Mayor and Council apparently didn’t hear the useful information being conveyed is not surprising in light of their well-demonstrated selective hearing and that, when it comes to the City’s most vulnerable and marginalized citizens, City Council has shown it does not want to hear it, has no interest in the reality of poverty and homelessness in Abbotsford and has no interest in understanding or addressing the issues in an effective manner.

City Council has excelled at using buzzwords and the Social Advisory Committee to sound politically correct … while accomplishing nothing.

Well, nothing of any positive value. They have managed to let poverty, affordable housing, homelessness and other social issues fester and worsen.

CitySWignWhile the colour of the current notices posted by the City remains bright orange, the date reflects the passage of a decade or more while the wording is more politically correct.

SleepingThe individual is unchanged from a decade ago and remains just as ‘hard to house’. City council’s choices and actions have ensured that, despite the passage of a decade or more, Abbotsford still lacks any accommodations capable of housing ‘hard to house’ individuals. Which continues to leave, as it has for the past decade, those who are ‘hard to house’ no option but to seek out a new location at which to establish their camp, their housing, their home.

Over the decade the zeal with which the City pursues the homeless, the pointless, wasteful chase, has increased to a level of unrelenting harassment that inflicts physical and mental damage on these marginalized citizens, injury that puts the lives of the ‘hard to house’ at risk at levels and in ways they were not at risk a decade ago.

“If you want cooperation, you don’t start with threats,” said Banman.

But extortion by Abbotsford’s politicians is acceptable Mayor Banman? Holding hostage the lives and health of the vulnerable and marginalized citizens harm reduction is designed to help, in order to get what Mayor Banman and the City want from FMH & SU, is acceptable Mayor Banman?

“They’ve actually made matters worse. The council was expecting some better solution from Fraser Health than what we heard.”

If Mayor Banman had bothered to listen he would have known FMH & SU has neither the funds nor the resources to pay the ransom Mayor Banman demands since, unlike Mayor Banman and Abbotsford City Council, FMH & SU cannot simply reach into taxpayers pockets taking dollars as they want.

Mayor Banman’s words draw attention to his attempt to use the health and lives of vulnerable and marginalized citizens to extort what he wants from FMH & SU. In hounding the homeless across the City, while impeding any other option for these individuals but homelessness, Mayor Banman and council have increased the risk of mental and physical health injuries – and death.

I would suggest that before Mayor Banman point fingers and question FMH & SU’s behaviour; he and council might want to bring their own behaviour up to at least a minimal ethical standard.

James W Breckenridge

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Meghann Coughlan says:

    Right on, James!

  • BCGuy says:

    Good luck with that! I think Mayor and council should spend a day in one of the homeless or maginalized persons shoes for a day and see what it’s like. Mayor and council should step up to the plate and assist these people. I think for many of them it was not a choice they wanted to make.

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