Which one of these guys runs B.C.’s supportive housing policy? Squat organizer Ivan Drury demands housing from NDP leader John Horgan after crashing his campaign event in Maple Ridge, May 2017. The B.C. government is leaving thousands of people on its waiting list while it rushes to satisfy squatter demands. (Michael Hall/Maple Ridge News)

B.C. VIEWS: Cast your municipal vote for sanity on homelessness

Thousands on waiting list while anti-capitalist bullies get priority

The latest “tent city” atrocity in Nanaimo should have signalled the end of soft, uninformed support by politicians and media for the professional organizers of urban B.C.’s neighbourhood-invading squatter camps.

In case you missed it, self-styled anarchist-communist-whatever “housing activists” broke into an elementary school and trashed it. This went beyond the usual squatter filth and scattering of government-supplied needles amid the garbage. The destruction was systematic, smashing doors and windows and tossing desks around to make some kind of deluded political statement. The school district is facing a six-figure security and repair bill.

The invaders had time to do this because police didn’t know if they were armed, so they called in the emergency response team for an armoured entry. If this sounds like a response to low-grade terrorism, that’s because it was.

Nanaimo’s notorious tent camp and its associated crime is the latest project of an outfit calling itself Alliance Against Displacement. I started tracing its activities three years ago, when green space next to Victoria’s courthouse was taken over by squatters.

RELATED: Nanaimo schoolhouse squat leaves big bill

In 2016, organizer Ivan Drury bused in “supporters” from the Lower Mainland to the Victoria camp, where among other incidents, a CTV camera operator was assaulted. Drury and company boast of establishing squats in Maple Ridge, Abbotsford, the notorious Whalley “strip” in Surrey and now Nanaimo.

Island organizer Chrissy Brett burst on the scene at the Victoria squat, going on to stage a series of tent camps around the baker’s dozen of municipalities that make up the Capital Regional District. It’s apparently quite easy to round up drifters who have been kicked out of the region’s many shelters, and gather them where they can vent their anger against the system that tries to help them.

Brett constantly plays the Indigenous “stolen land” card. She says she’s from Bella Coola, and as CFAX radio host Adam Stirling revealed in the only critical interview I’ve found with her, she asserts aboriginal rights without any effort to contact the Songhees, Esquimalt or other communities recognized as the actual holders of those rights.

Alliance Against Displacement’s mission statement claims B.C.’s housing crisis is caused by “colonialism and capitalism.” The website gives no hint of how it finances its buses, lawyers, and full-time organizers. It merely appeals for donations from those keen to help smash capitalism and disrupt private property rights.

A couple of weeks ago, an Alliance squad invaded B.C. Housing Minister Selina Robinson’s constituency office, yelling slogans until they were arrested. Apparently Robinson’s efforts to rush out temporary housing and catered meals for residents of their squatter camps aren’t sufficient.

I asked Premier John Horgan about this. He acknowledged that some of these squatters aren’t homeless, and said his priority is to deal with the many “hard to house” people in B.C.

I agree, helping people who demonstrate they can’t provide for themselves is an urgent problem. But that’s not what the B.C. government is doing. Instead, they’re rushing to these staged squats with resources, most recently with “workforce housing” to appease the mob in Nanaimo.

The housing ministry advises me that as of the end of September, there were 7,050 people on its supportive housing waiting list. Why would the squatters bother to sign up?

Municipal governments are key to this mess. Your only chance for four years to elect councillors who will stand up to the bullies is the Oct. 20 election. Candidates either get that or they don’t.

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.

Just Posted

Valley SPCA overwhelmed with 45 cats taken from local property

Many of the cats have never been around humans, or have never been touched or handled.

BIG READ: The two sides of the Strait of Georgia roe herring fishery

The case for the Strait of Georgia roe herring fishery Comox fisherman,… Continue reading

Applications open for record bursary, scholarship funding at North Island College

Current and future North Island College students can now apply for scholarships… Continue reading

Second Stage Players present laughter and love in We Are Family

Get your tickets early to see the Evergreen Club’s Second Stage Players’… Continue reading

Verdict gives murder victims’ parents sense of closure

A guilty verdict delivered earlier this week was “like a weight lifted off the chest.”

VIDEO: Can you believe it? This B.C. hill pulls cars backwards up a slope

Sir Isaac Newton had clearly never been to this Vernon anomaly when he discovered gravity

Comox Valley Hospice Society finds new Ocean Front home

Comox Valley Hospice Society (CVHS) recently announced plans to construct a new… Continue reading

B.C. man sentenced for tying up, assaulting and robbing another man at hotel

Gabriel Stephen Nelson robbed and assaulted travelling businessman in Nanaimo in 2017

B.C. girl and her toy monkey make videos to fight negativity on Facebook

Ava Ast created the Ava and Cello’s Good Deed Page last month

Deadline extended through April to nominate top B.C. educators

Second year of Premier John Horgan’s awards offers $3,000 bursary

Paramedic staff shortage at critical level: B.C. union

A number of units were out of service due to lack of staffing in Lower Mainland, union says

B.C. lottery winner being sued by Surrey co-workers

They claim he owes them $200,000 each, in a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver

Fraser Health under fire again for taxiing homeless man from Langley to Hope

Patient sent to Hope shelter because a spot in the man’s home community couldn’t be located

Dead sea lion discovered on Hornby Island shoreline

Reports indicate animal was shot in the head

Most Read