Christian Cowley says the provincial and federal governments are to blame for the homelessness problem in downtown Maple Ridge.

Barking up the wrong tree, guys

The district and agencies such as the Caring Place are merely cleaning up after other people’s dropped responsibility.

Editor, The News:

My fellow citizens, Sandy Macdougall and Tyler Ducharme, are barking up the wrong tree when they lambast the district and local agencies about homeless people.

They should be putting the onus or blame or responsibility squarely on the shoulders of the provincial and federal governments, which collect the taxes to cover social responsibility.

The district and agencies such as the Caring Place are merely cleaning up after other people’s dropped responsibility.

I refer these two gentlemen to the appropriate officials to vent their concerns: our government MLA and MP.

Moreover, we all know that it is cheaper to house and support people than to manage them on the streets.

Addictions and mental health are health issues, which are clearly the constitutional responsibility of the provincial government, and under the transfer payment system, the federal government.

Last time I talked to a homeless person, they appeared to be a Canadian citizen. Let’s start treating them as such.

Shame on you, Mr. Macdougall and Mr. Ducharme,  for continuing to loudly blame the wrong people.

Do your homework.

Christian Cowley

Maple Ridge


Don’t shoot messenger

Editor, The News:

Re: Try opening your eyes and your heart, Sandy (Letters, Dec. 12).

R. Murphy completely misses the point in his response to my question on what have bleeding hearts and do-gooders done to deal with the social catastrophe taking place in downtown Maple Ridge.

He, or she, did not mention a single thing they have done personally. Just more whining and bleating about my efforts to raise the issue and inspire appropriate and effective action from the community and every level of government.

At the risk of being repetitive, no one, including me, wants to get rid of the Caring Place, but the vast majority of us living in this immediate neighbourhood want it moved or significantly changed.

The number of people wandering our streets with severe mental health issues is a social and political disgrace. But Murphy’s law seems to be treat them with love and respect, keep our heads buried in sand and everything will be fine.

The mental health problem will never be solved by the good intentions of the Caring Place and its bleeding hearts supportive network.

This issue will require resources and expertise beyond that which appears to be available in the downtown area.

We need the support of municipal hall and senior levels of government, all of whom care little or nothing about those of us who are confronted on a daily basis with the problems stemming from their civic dereliction of duties and responsibilities.

I have no disagreement with the suggestion that everyone should have a hot meal and a safe, warm refuge. However, I object seriously to the clustering of these people in our otherwise livable neighbourhood.

The use of our property and that of others as public toilets and locations for paid sexual activities is totally unacceptable. The related crime and chemical dependencies are problems the Caring Place is simply not capable of solving.

The time has come to seek long-term solutions to all of these problems and to quit criticizing those of us who dare to raise these issues publicly.

If you don’t like my opinions or statements, tell me how you will solve the problem.

Until then, I will continue to defend my right to the quiet enjoyment of my home and neighbourhood.

Sandy Macdougall

Maple Ridge


Salvation Army sees hope in the hopeless

Editor, The News:

As Christmas approaches and we are all busy preparing for the big day, it occurs to me as it does all the time, that those of us who are warm and comfortable, how fortunate we really are.

I hope everyone will take a moment to help the less fortunate in our community, in any way they can.

The Salvation Army, all the people at the Caring Place, try hard to help, but are criticized unfairly at times.

Sometimes there are some who are merciless when it comes to people who are less fortunate – because of upbringing, addictions, poor choices. These people are not going to disappear, so our caring and compassion is needed.

Thank you, Caring Place, for all the good you do. As my late mother used to say, the Salvation Army sees hope in the hopeless and helpless.

Edna Schmid

Maple Ridge

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