‘ Buncha bums’ is the pejorative comment that won’t entirely vacate my consciousness when I think of the denizens of that so-called tent-city on the former grass next door to the Victoria Provincial Courthouse. Hey, how about Law & Order, Criminals In Tents, that’d work if I were of a more judgmental nature.
I am torn on this issue. A whole slew of folks protesting their homelessness have decided to ‘occupy’ a public space. Some of those homeless are actually British Columbians, so it would seem that our society is obligated to look out for them.
So the good burghers of Victoria, and to give credit where it is due, have rallied to find adequate housing for them, and in the process give them the boot from this little chunk of Victoria’s ‘green and pleasant land’. And I think, by any standards, what they are offering them is pretty darn decent.
I recognize that homelessness is a dire thing, not just in Victoria or Vancouver or virtually everywhere in the world, but also in this town. A few years ago I was commissioned to write the Homelessness Study and the findings were informative and sad in many cases and to a degree we have done bugger all about it other than to fulminate. Not saying there aren’t individuals who are involved in helping, just saying it ain’t going away.
I also could lapse into an apologist mode and say ‘I have been lucky’. But that isn’t really the case. I have worked hard all my life, have made sensible decisions and other than a foray into drinking too much many years ago, I am not addicted. The only area in which I am blessed is that my mental health seems reasonably functional.
That all means that I spent many years getting a decent education and after that suiting up each morning and going to work whether I felt like it or not. I was forced in that realm to kiss a few asses I didn’t feel deserved to be kissed. I also paid my bills and didn’t live extravagantly. All good. And better than the lot of some folks, I will concede.
But, back to the tent-city and the poor. The ones I have always felt for are the so-called ‘working poor’; those with the shit jobs (and shit jobs are the norm not just in this community but in many communities) minimum wage and no benefits and no hand-outs like the welfare folk get. That is so fucking wrong, in my esteem
Anyway, both the City of Victoria and the provincial government to some degree have attempted to find a solution to the impasse there and to get the denizens therein the hell out. They have found some housing and to their credit some of those unfortunates have been grateful for what has been offered and are moving on.
But there are others who maintain that what has been offered isn’t good enough. If they don’t get exactly what they want they will stay put and are currently defying orders to depart. Who are these hand that feeds them biters? I don’t know and I resist the impulse to want to see the police go in with mean dogs, but the thought has crossed my mind.
But I am left with the thought for that ilk; you contribute nothing to the discussion or to society and therefore I am left with no sympathy. Get a life and move on. If you cannot do that, that is one thing. But if you ‘will’ not do that, it is another. Screw you and get out and I am sure the decent t but impoverished people will be happy to see your backsides.