By Mike Archer. “I have directed staff to work on a strategy and (supportive housing) will be one of the scenarios within that strategy …”
With that statement, pronounced in the City’s official newspaper, Mayor Bruce Banman started the revisionist process of trying to put Humpty Dumpty together again.
You have to stop this crap, Bruce. Staff was already directed to work on a strategy with supportive housing in it, all the way back in 2008, leading to two high barrier shelters and one low barrier shelter for Abbotsford (with the province footing the bill) and your refusal, on February 17, to accept the low-barrier part of the deal.
Simple as that
Cover Art: Gustave Doré Death on the Pale Horse
Abbotsford was fine with accepting the two high barrier shelters, but when it came to the smallest low barrier shelter ever considered in the history of BC – the third part of the deal made with BC Housing – you stepped in and cast the deciding vote, against the majority on council, which killed the low barrier portion of the deal.
To have the audacity to think anyone would believe that when you say you have directed staff to work on a homeless strategy which includes supportive housing means anything at all is to treat even your friends and allies with derision and contempt. How stupid do you believe the people of this city are?
As Henry Braun put it succinctly in his column [ACS Housing Proposal – Flawed Or Hijacked?, ” ], “… the process was not flawed but appears to have been hijacked while trying to rewrite history.”
In an age when thinking you have control over the media because of your relationship with an aging newspaper is no longer an advisable strategy for manipulating the public, Banman seems to think that, by waiting a few days, shining off a new hastily-arrived-at strategy, directing staff to do what they already did to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and committing himself to achieving something which would already be in the works if he hadn’t voted against it, this whole sordid, embarrassing mess will all simply slip into the collective consciousness of the community and allow him to move on – having dealt with the homeless question.
The People Who Won’t Go Away
You haven’t dealt with the homeless problem in Abbotsford Bruce. You’ve simply made people’s lives, which are already miserable, just a little worse by chasing them around town in the endless Abbotsford Shuffle. They’re waiting for your next move.
Where will it be this time. Across the railway tracks and back into downtown? Across the street in to the MCC construction site? Up to City Hall (they’d be closer to Addiction Services since it was moved to Clearbrook).
You’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of your friends’ and neighbours’ money fighting your own citizens in court and you show every intention of pouring whatever it takes into the fight again this year.
As with every other initiative or attempt to help the poor get off of our streets Bruce Banman, Les Barkman, Bill MacGregor and John Smith have showed us the true nature of public policy in Abbotsford under this mayor and the man he so wants to emulate – George Peary. To hell with the drug addicts, the alcohol dependent, those with mental illness and anyone else stupid enough to allow themselves to become homeless in this hell hole of a city – go be your miserable self somewhere else.
Four well-off white men chose the irrational fears of a few ill-informed small business owners over the rights to basic human dignity for all citizens in Abbotsford. They were even prepared to turn their back on $15.3 million worth of funding and 60 years of support and break the City’s word with BC Housing – which lived up to its two thirds of the deal and had cash in hand to live up to the third part of the deal.
Who are these four men going to throw under the bus next?
By his decision to destroy six years worth of work, throw hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of preparations and millions of dollars worth of funding away, and leave several hundred people out in the ditches, Bruce Banman instantly made himself into the most reviled, impotent and unimportant political force in the city’s history. In one fell swoop he destroyed the hopes of dozens of the city’s most beat up and vulnerable people, lost the support of the church community and thousands of men and women who weren’t even paying attention to politics in Abbotsford until February 17th, and embarrassed the community in a manner and at a level the community could hardly absorb.
The Chicken Manure Mayor
And on the day when all of the white, middle class men and women who have learned to feel a little ashamed of the food in their bellies because of your actions gathered to ask you to stop … you weren’t even at City Hall to listen to them.
The Chicken Manure Mayor just gave his middle finger to the hundreds of homeless men and women who were beginning to think they might be catching a break after the Abbotsford Chapter of the BC/Yukon Drug War Survivors forced the City to abandon its ludicrous, ultra vires and incomprehensible Anti-Harm Reduction Bylaw.
It’s back to normal. Empty promises from empty politicians and talk of law and order. Law suits and police. Excuses and lies. And what remains of an old media prepared to publish whatever another disgraced one-term mayor is prepared to tell them without once asking who the hell he thinks he’s kidding …
It’s hard to believe people like Bruce Banman, Les Barkman, Bill MacGregor and John Smith can honestly believe they will be allowed to get away with what they have done in one of the most Christian communities in the country.
It’s even harder to fathom why, in a day and age when newspapers are dropping like flies, especially those which represent the power structure instead of the citizens of their communities, the Abbotsford News would publish such tripe without question or argument.
The Four Horsemen
“This issue has divided the community in two … on both sides.” – CBC Radio, Feb 19, 2014
‘The provincial government has to come to the table. We need the participation of service providers, community organizations, churches and businesses to solve homelessness.’ Public Hearing, Oct 9, 2013
“It matters not where they are tended but that they are tended.” – Public Hearing, Feb 17, 2014
“I met two homeless people at a fundraiser and they told me housing is not what they need.” Public Hearing, Feb 17, 2014