What a Concept – Homeless Have Rights!
By James Breckenridge. Yes Andrew, the homeless – being Canadians – have Rights that are protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
And as anyone who is following the matter knows, The Abbotsford News‘ obfuscation notwithstanding, the case is about the Rights and Freedoms all Canadians are entitled to and protecting the Rights and Freedoms of Canadians.
Anyone even moderately informed is aware the court case is not focused on the right of the homeless to camp in city parks. The right to camp in a city’s parks is a right only as a consequence of and in redressing the city’s violation of the Charter Rights of the homeless.
24. (1) Anyone whose rights or freedoms, as guaranteed by this Charter, have been infringed or denied may apply to a court of competent jurisdiction to obtain such remedy as the court considers appropriate and just in the circumstances.
As to the question of the need to go to Court … where else, how else, would Mr. Holota have us, have Canadians, settle fundamental questions about Charter Rights and Freedoms and questions concerning the violation of those Rights and Freedoms by governments [in this case the municipal government of the City of Abbotsford]?
Pistols at dawn in front of City Hall?
Unfortunately it is highly unlikely that the question of whether any factual errors, lies of omission and disinformation written, printed and disseminated by Black Press and Andrew Holota about homelessness, the homeless and the actions of the City of Abbotsford are a violation of the Rights and Freedoms of the homeless or simply served to abet the City of Abbotsford in its continuous violation of the Rights and Freedoms of homeless Canadians will be asked or answered.
As a result, although they may be culpable, neither Black Press nor Andrew Holota are likely to suffer any consequences for contributing to the violation of or violating the Rights of homeless Canadians in Abbotsford.
Mr. Holota’s editorial is rife with statements demonstrating the part Black Press and Mr. Holota have played in creating conditions in Abbotsford where going to court to protect the Rights of homeless Canadians from the City of Abbotsford is not a matter of choice but of necessity.
“….the homeless issue in this town got hijacked by special-interest groups.”
Pivot is a non-profit Society [supported by the community through thousands of donations] whose purpose is to represent and defend the marginalized and disenfranchised by defending their human rights through the provision of access to the legal system. In doing this Pivot also protects the Rights and Freedoms of all Canadians.
Perhaps to Black Press, Andrew Holota and the City of Abbotsford, a non-profit Society widely supported by its community, a Society that defends the Human Rights, the Charter Rights of the disenfranchised, is a special interest group.
To the marginalized, the disenfranchised, the powerless, the poor, to all those without the resources to defend their Rights Pivot is a Champion who fights for and defends the oppressed.
It is understandable why, the oppressors would view anyone, anything or any group that would fight for and/or defend a class/group of people that they wish to oppress, harass, persecute and victimize as a ‘special-interest’ group. In protecting the interests of the homeless Pivot acts against the interests of the oppressors, threatens to force an end to the oppression and drags the oppressors into court, out of the shadows, into daylight and makes a public display of them.
It would be interesting, potentially entertaining, to see by what convoluted process Editor Holota came to label the Abbotsford chapter of the Drug War Survivors, whose membership consists almost entirely of those who have been homeless, are homeless or in the process of becoming homeless, as a special interest group vis-à-vis the subject of homelessness in Abbotsford.
To the Homeless in Abbotsford the motivation of Barry Shantz in founding the Abbotsford chapter of the BC/Yukon Drug War Survivors is moot.
What matters to the homeless and all others who are powerless in Abbotsford is that the involvement of Mr. Shantz and the DWS solved a years old dilemma, a dilemma not limited to just the homeless – the barrier raised to holding the City of Abbotsford accountable for its actions by prohibitive legal costs.
Whether it was/is the City of Abbotsford’s violation of the homeless and powerless or the costly illegal subsidy agreement with the Heat, bottomless taxpayer pockets, at least from the view of Abbotsford’s municipal government and politicians, has been an insurmountable barrier to those seeking Justice.
Until Pivot, and the community that supports them, stepped forward to say ENOUGH to the City of Abbotsford and its politicians.
Pivot a special interest group? I suppose if you consider an interest in Human Rights, in protecting the Charter Rights and Freedoms of all Canadians [not just those of the privileged or wealthy], in standing up for the marginalized and disenfranchised as a ‘special’ interest.
Personally, regardless of what the City of Abbotsford, its’ politicians, Black Press or Andrew Holota may believe, I do not regard the behaviour of Pivot as ‘special’; to me Pivot’s behaviour is simply the behaviour of the ethical, behaviour the City of Abbotsford – although highly unlikely to – could learn a great deal from.
As English philosopher Edmund Burke stated – “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”