Perhaps You Should Listen To What You Say?

By James Breckenridge. Do you ever find yourself wondering if politicians ever bother to actually listen to what they are saying?

Do politicians ever actually THINK about what they are saying?

Or must politicians be able to disconnect their brains and/or shut off their ears before they can spout what comes out of their mouths?

How have we reached a point where politicians don’t even try to dazzle us with brilliance but go straight to baffling with bullshit?

Watching Bruce Banman on Unfiltered with Jill Krop had me shaking my head and wondering ‘does Banman ever listen to what he is saying?’

I don’t know if she was, but Jill Krop certainly looked flabbergasted when Bruce Banman appeared on her show – and began to speak longingly of the ‘good old days’ when “We got to use shock therapy, sterilization, frontal lobotomies.” And how “…back in the day we used to do things like it was a never ending prison sentence.”

Until that bad, bad Supreme Court decided that a health issue, even a mental health issue, did not take away a person’s rights TO NOT BE BRUTILIZED by the government.

After listening to Bruce Banman speak longingly of the depraved treatment so many endured at the hands of the government, it was no wonder Ms Krop was off balance when Banman began to regurgitate the different amounts spent by the different Health Authorities on mental health as he sought to baffle with bullshit and shift responsibility to Fraser Health for his [and his cronies] blowing off $2.5 million to build, and $$$$$ millions more to operate and provide services, from the provincial government for the Abbotsford Community Services Housing First housing.

I do mean ‘baffle with bullshit’. Bruce Banman’s contention was that the problem was that Fraser Health spent the lowest amount per capita on mental health services of the five health regions. The implication being that throwing money at the problem would fix it.

Included in Mr. Banman’s litany of numbers was the fact that Costal Health spends considerably more per capita on mental health than Fraser Health. Ignoring the fact Costal Health will be reducing their spending on mental health and cutting mental health services in the coming fiscal year [April 1, 2014 – March 31, 2015].

More importantly, the implication Mr. Banman was making, that spending per capita had a direct correlation to the mental health of citizens in the health region, means:

Given: that per capita spending determines the mental health of a Health Region

And: that Costal Health spends significantly more per capita than Fraser Health

Then: the cities in the Fraser Health region have a worse problem with metal illness, substance use and homelessness than does Vancouver.
Perhaps someone should take Mr. Banman downtown Vancouver and show him Hastings?

Speaking of baffling with bullshit, let’s examine Mr. Banman’s excuse mongering for an irrational [as John Smith described his vote] vote against the ACS housing proposal.

Mr. Banman loudly proclaimed that ACS should have been talking to the ADBA from the moment ACS began speaking to BC Housing.
Setting aside the fact the ADBA’s rabid, fear mongering Not In My Back Yard response to the ACS housing proposal makes it clear there was nothing ACS could do that would cause the ABDA to behave rationally and in a civically responsible manner…..exactly what was ACS to be talking to the ADBA about.

It was not until ACS and BC Housing had reached their agreement that ACS had anything concrete to take to the public.

Anything prior to that point would be speculation, rumour, Maybes, “I heard that……”, fear mongering, lies, false and misleading statements – “you have to listen to the people in the neighbourhood” [unless the person or business proposing the rezoning contributes to your election campaign].

It is because the behaviour in the preceding paragraph is exactly what has happened in the past [and what happened to the ACS proposal even though the reality of the project was clearly spelled out and accessible to anyone who was interested in facts, not fiction] that BC Housing requires all the Ts be crossed and the Is dotted before a project is presented to the public.

And what was that nonsense about C7 zoning being sacrosanct? There was no trouble with re-zoning for social enterprise housing at the Fraser Valley Inn……..of course that was housing for young professional and University students. And how is it Money Mart is downtown when C7 zoning excludes that type of financial business unless it is a bank?

If services for the people and the needs of the community are not permitted, why was ACS included in the C7 zone rather than excluded? Was it to limit the services ACS could offer unless it relocated services to a different location in Abbotsford, as happened with the moving of Substance Use counselling to Clearbrook?

Then there is the matter of funding for the ACS housing proposal.
BC’s Finance Minister [one of Abbotsford’s MLAs] in a series of interviews with local media stated clearly that the ACS housing proposal would be built where and how proposed or the money would leave Abbotsford and go to ‘a community that was committed to building housing to serve the needs of the homeless’.

And the reaction of Mr. Banman and his nay saying council cronies?
That the Finance Minister was joking? Mistaken? Telling a Fib? Didn’t mean what he said in the interviews?

That Fraser Health, under provincial review for going $50 million over its budget for the past 3 years, would miraculously find millions of dollars to spend on housing in Abbotsford? After Abbotsford had turned down millions of dollars for housing from BC Housing? With Abbotsford insisting that housing conform to the traditional recycling people model, rather than the recovery based Housing First model?

And just when you think the excuses out of City Hall on homelessness could not get any lamer and the bumbling any more Pink Pantherish, Mr. Banman attains a new level of lame when the promise of a plan to address homelessness in

Abbotsford turned out to be an announcement of the formation of a Task Force.

A task force made up of citizens who would tell council how to deal with homelessness and other social issues just as the Abbotsford Social Development Advisory Committee was to do – at least before ASDAC told mayor and council to approve the ACS housing proposal.

Not a bold roar from Abbotsford City hall but a loud WIMPER; as City Hall declares that in over a decade of studying the issue of homelessness City Hall has learned – Nothing.


At this point I am not looking to be dazzled by brilliance, I will settle for rational behaviour.

Because the politician’s reliance on baffling with bullshit has dug all levels of government into financial holes of such proportions, we cannot afford the negative consequences if we fail to stop digging.

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