The Void – Choices And Consequences

By James Breckenridge. For all of us Life is a constant stream of choices.


On a daily basis we face and make choices that have consequences that affect our lives and the lives of others in minor and major ways.


We cannot avoid the consequences of our choices by refusing to choose, by trying to wait it out, hoping someone or something else will tell us what’s the best course of action or a ‘solution’ will magically appear or that someone will eventually tell you what you want to hear.


“When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice. – William James

Complicating the consequences that befall us is the fact that the little choices that seem insignificant can turn out to carry major consequences as life unwinds and we find out that the tiny decisions we make are not as divorced from our major life decisions as we thought or wished.


Major choices, little choices, choices made by not choosing – it all comes down to the same question, a question of taking responsibility, of accepting responsibility for the consequences our choices, behaviours and actions have on our lives and the lives of others.


Justifying, rationalization, blaming, excuse making. ‘it is not our responsibility’ will not prevent the consequences of our actions and inactions from coming home to roost.


Don’t like what you see as you drive along Gladys Avenue? What you see is the consequences of the city’s choice to behave as ‘The Void’ on homelessness and its interconnected issues, rather than acting responsibly and taking effective action.

What is taking place along Gladys should not  be a surprised to anyone.

Victoria also had a policy of harassing their homeless. At least they did until 2009 when the BC court of appeals ruled that in a city where the city government had failed to address the issue of homelessness or take action on affordable housing, the homeless had the right to camp in city parks.

Suddenly Victoria’s council and mayor were motivated to acquire backbones and begin to take needed actions to address homelessness.

Among the first actions taken in Victoria was a Housing First project; a solid base to build on in putting in place the services and supports needed for recovery.

I wonder if Abbotsford’s sudden tolerance with the camps on Gladys Avenue results from the city’s struggle to stay out of court until after municipal elections in November? The mayor, councillors, the city cannot avoid the consequences of their behaviours –  facing Pivot Legal Society in court over [among other things] the right of the homeless to camp in city parks.

Because, not only has the City of Abbotsford failed to take action on homelessness and affordable housing, the city has actively blocked affordable housing, recovery oriented housing and services from being built by BC Housing and Abbotsford Community Services.

I suspect that once the consequences of the mayor and councillor’s behaviour has camps sprouting up around Mill Lake Abbotsford’s mayor and city councillors will find themselves highly motivated, as did Victoria’s mayor and councillor’s in 2009, to support Housing First projects, other affordable housing initiatives and the providing of the supports and services to reduce homelessness, substance use, mental illness on city streets.

Mankind’s greatest gift, also its greatest curse, is that we have free choice. – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Sadly, it seems that only something as drastic and unpleasant as a court ruling that the city can either address the issues or have the homeless camping at Mill Lake, will motivate the city to realistically and effectively address these issues.

Highly ironic that a mayor and city councillors so ethically challenged that only the negative consequences of their behaviours will/can motivate them to address these social issues, felt they had the right to spend taxpayer dollars to instruct, to lecture, the citizens of Abbotsford on the correct way citizens should behave and about character via their ‘Character Council’ (

One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes… and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility. – Eleanor Roosevelt

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