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LETTER: Maple Ridge resident concerned there’s plenty of money spent on criminals but not homeless

Alberta woman’s weather-related amputation has local letter writer wondering about her rights
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Homeless people in Maple Ridge have been camping along the Fraser River waterfront, but rising waters were pushing them out during June 2022. (The News files)

Dear Editor,

I usually write about what I believe is important to the people of Maple Ridge or what impacts the people of Maple Ridge. However, I decided to make an expectation because what happened to a homeless, disabled Edmonton woman.

Her name is Laurie-Lynn Discoteau, shocked and saddened me. An Alberta homeless shelter, that is allegedly funded by various levels of government, turned some homeless people away, in severe weather, due to alleged lack of space.

I discovered the prior sad scenario when I was watching the news. Discoteau experienced frost bite and her foot was amputated, because she was turned away from a homeless shelter in Edmonton.

The shelter staff declared it was full.

If the shelter received government funding, from any level of government, then the said level of government allegedly violated Laurie-Lynn Discoteau’s section 7 (life, liberty, and security of the person in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice) Charter right, and section 12 (Everyone has the right not to be subjected to any cruel and usual treatment or punishment) Charter right, and leaves the said level of government susceptible to a constitutional challenge regarding the shelter’s “policy or procedure” of turning homeless people away during Edmonton’s life threatening and/or life altering severe cold weather.

The temperature was -40° Celsius, when Laurie-Lynn Discoteau was turned away from the shelter.

What I find ironic is the various levels of government have virtually unlimited amounts of money to house criminals.

It seems like criminals have more rights than homeless citizens.

Linda Meyer, Maple Ridge

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• READ MORE: LETTER: Resident wary of politicians claiming credit for closing homeless camp

• READ MORE: Formerly homeless woman creates list of more than 20 street people who have died in supportive housing

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