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Friday, January 29, 2010

Musing about S A etc

Originally was going to do some musing here but ended up writing the letter to the editor below. Following it are some links to stories related to the S/A and the RedZone, which for those of you who don't know is a defined area of the downtown in Nanaimo where those convicted of drug offenses in the area are not allowed to frequent.

What strikes me most about the stories of late regarding the Salvation Army charging a buck for their lunch are the asinine opinions some people have about those living in poverty. What also strikes me is that there are a growing number of people who understand poverty isn’t simply about addiction or laziness but about the utter lack of anything resembling a Social Safety Net. Sure, government provides funds to the poor but they are totally inadequate in providing the necessities that would allow a person(s) to move forward.

Poverty PIMP is a term used most often to convey a person or organization profiting excessively by acting as an agent for the poor and disadvantaged and benefiting from their misfortune. They don’t really want to see the problem eliminated, as it is not in their interest, and usually provide just enough of a service to keep the person(s) coming back for more. While the term is often associated with certain social services it is my belief that it could just as easily apply to government as well.

While providing services that allow for whatever government is in power to benefit unduly from the publicity of being seen as working on the problems of poverty and homelessness they don’t come close to providing enough to eliminate the problem. Research continually shows that adequately housed and fed individuals or families would save governments billions and yet we still see huge numbers of homeless and in BC the highest child poverty rates 7 years running in Canada.

Gordon W. Fuller

Jan. 28, 2010
VIHA plan threatens meal programs future {This story is sad and typical of VIHA and the Provincial Government. If the program shuts down it can only add to the numbers of people having to access services like the 7-10 Club [link over to the left]}

Jan. 27, 2010
Giving away meal tickets better than giving spare change

Jan. 26, 2010
400 free meal tickets go to city's hungry

Jan. 26, 2010
Red zone is still necessary

Jan. 29, 2010
Red zone has not ended drug trafficking plague
Red zone has not ended drug trafficking plague
Gordon W. Fuller, The Daily News
Published: Friday, January 29, 2010

There is no doubt that the Red Zone accomplished what it set out to do in the downtown, but only to the degree of the low level street user and dealer. One can still enter most of the bars and nightclubs in the area and within minutes secure whatever the drug of choice for the evening will be, the problem is still there but indoors. The Red Zone moved the problem into residential areas.

With a 30% increase in drug dealing and drug-related crime in 2009 one has to wonder if dispersing the dealers and addicts was really such a good idea.

Until the province and feds get off their collective butts and put funding into detox, treatment and supportive housing for recovering addicts we will always have a problem. Unless the incentive is there, what choice is there but to remain addicted? As long as the penalties for drug trafficking are seen as little more than a slap on the wrist what motivation is there for change?

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