By Mike Archer. I was struck by the prominant role taken by Darryl Plecas and Simon Gibson at the recent announcement by Rich Coleman that the BC Government would be putting up the money to build and fund a small supportive housing shelter for men who suffer from alcohol dependence.
If you look into the background of Abbotsford’s longstanding inability to deal with its homeless crisis you will find Simon and Darryl, like two poster children for how not to treat your fellow human beings, justifying and arguing for the very bylaws and actions taken by authorities in Abbotsford which have led to the humanitarian crisis it must now deal with.
The fact the City is forced to ask the provincial government for money to clean up the resulting humanitarian disaster adds further, sad irony to the image.
In the first half of Simon’s political career he fought the evils of the bottle through prohibition. He then devoted the second half of his local political career defending the City’s illegal and immoral ‘Anti-Harm-Reduction’ bylaw which discriminated against the victims of the drug war by denying them lifesaving healthcare services.
As the RCMP Chair of Criminology at University of the Fraser Valley, Darryl made a career and wrote a book arguing that municipal authorities and police had the right to conduct warrantless searches in the name of defeating the drug gangs. His arguments have since been discredited and the practices he recommended shown to be unconstitutional and illegal.Supported by Darryl’s arguments and Simon’s bylaws, Bob Rich’s Abbotsford Police Department (APD) has systematically harassed and abused an entire class of citizens for their illnesses, diseases or economic circumstances.
As a direct result of the arguments, beliefs and actions of these men, the City of Abbotsford is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars a year figting with its homeless population through a series of law suits and human rights complaints which could end up costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars more as they are resolved.
As a direct result of Abbotsford’s failed war on drugs and its failed war on the homeless, the BC government is having to spend upwards of $15.3 million just to start to clean up some of the mess these men have helped create.
Poverty, alcohol dependence, mental illness and drug addiction require society’s immediate attention and their victims deserve to be treated with love, compassion and help … not abuse from police.
If we are going to move forward as a community, from the dark and painful ideas, beliefs and practices which have ruined the lives of so many people, shouldn’t we stop honouring and rewarding the people who caused the misery?