Letters: ‘Caring for my community’

Details of higher court ruling on homelessness explained

The city held its first dialogue on homelessness

Editor, The News:

Thank you, Justice Hinkson

Justice Hinkson stated there is no right to housing under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In Justice Hinkson’s latest decision, he speaks to the rights of others in a community. In that, he granted an injunction to remove people from the tent camp in Victoria.

Yes, those who registered in the tent camp were given the opportunity, with conditions, to have access to shelter.

No, he didn’t rule that open use of drugs was allowed.

No, he didn’t rule that stolen property was allowed.

No, he didn’t rule that it was acceptable to urinate on public property or property within the area.

No, he didn’t rule that human excrement was acceptable.

No, he didn’t rule that streets littered with used condoms were acceptable.

No, he didn’t rule that it is acceptable for used needles to be discarded in public places or in neighbours?

No, he didn’t rule that violence towards area residents and businesses was acceptable.

No, he didn’t rule that draining the resources of the police was acceptable.

No, he didn’t rule that neighbourhood residents should accept feeling threatened.

But he speaks to all of the above issues when ruling removal of Victoria’s tent city.

And, yes, all Canadians have rights and liberties.

So do his rulings have any impact in Maple Ridge?

Of course they do.

I have resided here for 48 years. Yes, nearly half a century.

Throughout those years, I have both seen and been a part of the giving, caring nature of our community.

But that caring nature has come under attack from drug users and others who don’t want any help; those who don’t care about the safety of children who walk around needles on sidewalks; those who don’t care that they are stealing a bicycle that a single mom has saved for months to get for their child; those who don’t care about respecting either themselves or others.

So don’t quote wrongly from a judgement.

We need to help the truly homeless; those who find themselves that way because of job loss or marital breakdown; those who find themselves that way because of mental issues, not drug-induced mental issues; displaced seniors that need our help. These are the vulnerable people in our community, not drug users.

And, yes, we need to help the drug addicts. But only if they agree to zero tolerance and want our help.

We don’t need to cater to and spend hundred of thousands of dollars enabling people in drug use. I know of no judicial decision that condones drug use or drug trafficking.

Call me a hater if you want. If so, I’m proud to wear that badge against drug use and drug trafficking.

I call it caring for my community and my neighbours; caring that they have a safe environment to call their home;  a place where children and seniors can walk around and feel safe; a place where a child can leave their bike on their lawn for 15 minutes and it doesn’t get stolen; caring for the safety of the RCMP and other responders;  a place where our residents can go to work and not feel constantly threatened.

I am against purposely locating drug addicts near daycare centres.

I am against the disrespect of locating drug addicts next to our cemetery, a place of solace for many in our community and a place where some of our founding fathers are at rest.

I am against locating non-rehabilitated drug users throughout our neighbourhoods in scattered rental housing.

I am against any facility that pretends its intent is to help people, but actually survives by not helping.

I am against anything less than zero tolerance when we are helping people.

Janet Kirkpatrick

Maple Ridge


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