Tent camp in Nanaimo has attracted up to 300 people. (Nanaimo News Bulletin)

Tent camp in Nanaimo has attracted up to 300 people. (Nanaimo News Bulletin)

B.C. VIEWS: Residents have had enough of catering to squatters

Media myth of homeless victims offends those who know better

Last week’s column on B.C.’s “anti-capitalist” tent camp organizers got some surprising responses, including one from Premier John Horgan.

I raised the question of who is really in charge of supportive housing policy in B.C. Is it Horgan and Housing Minister Selina Robinson, or is it Alliance Against Displacement tent wranglers Ivan Drury and Chrissy Brett, along with their lawyers and financial backers?

All parts of the province struggle with our new generation of wasted street people, mostly feral males left to raise themselves in a culture that worships sex, violence, drugs and rock and roll. And the Left Coast is Canada’s natural gathering place for the drifters and thieves who will do anything but work to support their bad habits. That’s why highway routes into our soft-climate, soft-politics urban regions are where the “tent cities” tend to spring up.

This is being systematically organized in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and southern Vancouver Island. Brett and Drury produce a TV “reality show” where everyone is declared “homeless,” even when most are not, and must be comforted with state money and food. Politicians know that if they question this flimsy fiction, they will be vilified by the feelings-first media chorus as heartless and right-wing.

In fact, Horgan’s NDP government isn’t keeping up with the massive social housing spending presided over by long-time B.C. Liberal housing czar Rich Coleman. And there are signs that Horgan and Robinson are getting fed up with running from staged squat to staged squat with temporary housing and fresh groceries.

“Good column,” Horgan said, flashing me a thumbs up as he headed down the legislature hallway. Perhaps he meant the part about how there are more than 7,000 people on waiting lists for supportive housing in B.C., while trespassing and threats get some to the front of the line. That outrage has to become known before people will rethink the victim narrative they are being fed.

RELATED: Thousands on waiting list while bullies get priority

Actual victims write to me. One Nanaimo resident says he was forced to sell and move out of the downtown area due to the expanding squat there. (When free lunch was offered, this particularly nasty camp suddenly doubled in size to around 300.)

He describes a neighbour, a military veteran with terminal cancer, who had his patio furniture stolen and even found someone sleeping in his spare bedroom.

A reader in Courtenay owns an industrial property that has seen two break-ins recently. He has watched a steady stream of people carrying the stuff they have gathered in the community through his property, and is considering a large and expensive perimeter fence.

When the politicians are as fed up as the police officers and paramedics are, we’ll see policy change.

Tom Fletcher is B.C. legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press. Email: tfletcher@blackpress.ca


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureHomeless

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An Island Health nurse prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy Island Health)
Health authority opening 19 clinics to immunize Vancouver Island residents

Health authority anticipates more than 40,000 people will be immunized over the next month

Cumberland council is backing the business association again. File photo
Cumberland backs homeless veteran count

Briefs: Council continues support for business association

Courtenay Nissan’s Matthew Bourassa, Geoff Piper and Sean LaFleur join YANA’s Ashley Smith, Kelly Rusk and Lisa Wilcox for the 4x4x48 event to raise funds. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Courtenay Nissan eats and runs for YANA

Dealership realized non-profit groups need new ways to raise funds during COVID

Rev. Sulin Milne at St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Comox is part of those helping distribute food to those in need within the town. Photo by Jim Peacock
Comox church serving the community with food through COVID-19

“We knew there were so many people who were facing economic challenges …”

Cole Moore with one of his sisters, Jasmin Moore. Photo supplied
Courtenay man looks to brain surgery for second chance

Cole Moore’s sister sets up GoFundMe to help father looking after brother

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Most Read