Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Province Newspaper's Joey Thompson on Harm Reduction Myths

Wednesday » November 7 » 2007

Pastor still waiting for 3 pillars of drug plan

Joey Thompson
The Province
Wednesday, November 07, 2007

T he Lord sent her to help the addicted women in Vancouver's seediest district but it's the politicians and health authorities who are driving Pastor Gloria Kieler crazy.

For seven years the 65-year-old Christian has quietly prayed in her threadbare East Hastings Street storefront chapel for governments to deliver on a vow made in 2000 to build a four-pillar anti-drug program: prevention, treatment, enforcement and harm reduction.

But the only pillar that has attracted the care groups and health authority's attention -- as well as taxpayers' bucks -- is Insite, the harm-reduction injection site, renovated and expanded recently at an added cost of $2 million to better serve the needle users.

So where, she asks, does that leave the 80 per cent of Downtown Eastside junkies who never fix? It leaves them to wait weeks for one of 28 beds -- just six are open to women -- in Cardova detox, the only clinic like it in the neighbourhood, home to more than 7,000 junkies, most of whom smoke crack cocaine.

She said Vancouver Coastal Health claims the wait is now two days. "But the truth is it's a week or two."

Any addict with the patience to score a detox bed faces an even longer wait for the second phase in a recovery facility. With nowhere else to go, most return to the streets.

Efforts to get VCH to cough up funds for more detox beds and shelters for the stabilization and recovery phases have been in vain.

"The faith-based groups weren't big on the injection-site idea when it was announced but we gave it our support because we were told it was part of a bigger drug-strategy picture," Kieler said candidly. "We were tricked. The situation is the same as it was years ago for women trying to get off drugs and off the streets."

Kieler embarked on the spiritual quest in the city's underbelly after the Lord appeared in a vision 23 years ago. She opened the Living Waters Mission in 1992 and to her surprise found most of the women wanted to turn their back on a sick, destitute lifestyle but found a lack of resources to help them pull it off.

She said the women she's encouraged to go into detox are daunted by the 50-person wait list. They quickly lose hope and return to the street. A few ended up at the Pickton farm and weren't seen again.

The pastor is convinced that the cash used for Insite's facelift and the extension of its facilities -- 12 new detox beds for injectors only on the floor above the shooting gallery -- was earmarked for detox and recovery. If it wasn't, it should have been.

"How is VCH meeting the expectations of Vancouver citizens to clean up this addiction problem?"

An elitist hierarchy in the Downtown Eastside is working to starve out the tried-and-true existing facilities, she says, so they can lay claim to having introduced innovative, cutting-edge European strategies, which, she argues, are totally unsuitable here.

"VCH [must] stick to its responsibility to correctly examine the problem and apply the appropriate solution. And it doesn't mean legalizing drugs or supplying addicts for free.

"Do we keep alcoholics on booze? Smokers on tobacco? Of course not, so why do they think supplying free drugs to addicts is the answer?"
© The Vancouver Province 2007

An Important Message from An Important Friend


My last radiation treatment for prostate cancer was yesterday. I'm a graduate.

Now we wait, perhaps 8 months. Awaiting the live-die announcement somehow diminishes the importance of yesterday's front page story. If I recollect, that story involved the fact that a very rich chef, from a very rich restaurant, was fired from same restaurant. Such are the stories that grip Vancouver.

We, who may die soon, are left to ponder whether a man who perfected saffron fried lobster tails will survive while we die.

On a much less important level, my experience has left me in awe of our medical system. Sorry to all the whiners. We really do live in the best country in the world, with all of its imperfections.

The professionalism, compassion and good cheer of the cancer treatment staff was humbling.

When you at your least dignified, shocking point in life. with mutant cells ravaging your testicles, anus or breasts, here in BC, there are truly wonderful people who respect your modesty, deliver the best that science can offer, and ask you to drop in, anytime, when your treatment is finished.

Yes, if you show up in emergency with a serious problem, they may have problems sorting out the little old lady with pelvic pains from the gangster who has a well deserved bullet in his brain.
And we may wait too long for a doctor's appointment, largely because we equate the billionaire with the destitute crack criminal, so as to keep them on the same level of socialized medicine.

Victor on the Glorious, Glamorous PIG

Hi mensche

There are, mystical, primordial reasons, no doubt, why the smiling sow is forbidden meat in so many cultures. But if Johnny Cochrane were to mount a pig defense, he might present the following.

1.Pigs get a bad rap on their apparent filth. It's because they're smart and we're lazy. As it happens, pigs are very hard to pen. They are incredibly strong so they can push over any farm fence or , because they're smart, they will just use their snouts to jiggle the gate. So man learned that he had to build stout enclosures for pigs, made of logs and stones. But such enclosures are expensive, so man made them small. We overcrowd pigs so there is not enough room for their bodily functions. If you put 15 people in a one bedroom apartment, with one toilet, the smell would be similar. Actually, in parts of Vancouver, that's the norm.

2.Pigs are also feared. Fear is a close cousin of contempt. They are feared because they are the only animal raised by the farmer who would happily eat the farmer. Every other farm animal is a herbivore. Mr. Pig swings both ways. The original swinger. So, for centuries , farmers feeding their pigs have known, that one false step turns them from the waiter into the main course. Imagine how waiters in your fav restaurant would regard you in similar circumstances. Actually, I have felt that terror at a few snooty Vancouver restaurants.

3.Last point. Pigs were the original recyclers. Long before recycling became an obsession of yuppies, pigs were into it. Around 200 years ago, farmers would accumulate cow dung in their barns over the winter. How to clean the barns? Well, they stuffed corn into the dung piles and let the pigs in. Instantly, a clean barn. Better than a Hoover.

So here is what we have learned about pigs and man, based on the three examples above.

1. Increasing density may result in more property taxes but it will turn people into swine. Man needs space. He has a technique for getting space. It's called war.

2. You can't build loyalty with handouts, nor can you change fundamental behavior. Pigs and human swine bide their time and ultimately bite the feeding hand.

3. Environmentalists are descended from a species that avoided work, squealed, ate well and had something smelly about them. Think David Suzuki.


Judge Wallace Craig's Latest & Greatest


November 7, 2007

PROPONENTS of the ideology of Harm Reduction – with their strident claims that reducing harm will bring drug addiction and related crime under control – are nothing more than self-serving propagandists.

A mantra-like repetitive misuse of the words “harm reduction” is intended to make truth out of their illusion that addiction is a manageable illness; a fool’s paradise conjured up by Vancouver’s health department and the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority. It is cunning nonsense.

The use of the positive label ‘harm reduction’ is a sly attempt to insinuate merit and worth into unmanageable needle exchanges, unsafe injection sites and open-ended drug maintenance using methadone.

Wily harm-reduction activists are in a bureaucratic heaven as they glean data from a steady stream of addicts; the data ending up in career building ivory-tower research and evaluation. Whether our pitiful research specimens, human beings, avoid overdosing; or overdose and die – and sometimes be brought back to life only to continue to use drugs – is grist for this grisly statistics mill.

To merely change the setting in which a poison is absorbed or to substitute a synthetic poison in its place, is medically wrong. It is a misadventure of the most perilous kind. Canadian society has to confront the falsehood of harm reduction and all that accrues from it.

A decent and humane society must have significant influence on the self-indulgent few who engage in chronic ingestion of illicit drugs and crime. Law abiding Canadians must speak forcefully on the issue of illicit drugs. The welfare of our children and grandchildren is at stake.

English writer Victor S. Pritchett said “When I say society I mean more than people; I mean people bound together for an end.”

Whatever our ends may be on the issue of illicit drugs they must never be a deceitful bill of goods pressed on us by Orwellian health-bureaucrats and their spin doctors.

In my opinion this two-decade-long deviant process has now breached the thin blue line. We have reached the point of de facto legalization. We witness now a joyless parade of messed-up people stumbling into the Skids of the Downtown Eastside. Once there they engage in vandalism and property crime and avoidance of abstention. They are deservedly ostracized and must be dealt with as the criminals they are.

As pointed out by the Vancouver Province columnist Joey Thompson in her Oct. 31 column: “Addicted professionals and Canada’s rich and famous go cold turkey … they don’t maintain use as a means of dealing with addiction, (so) why do we think street addicts should be treated any differently?”

I concur: if it works for the rich and famous, it will work for the halt and lame.

Harm reduction, once an adjunct process to abstention, now enables drug use and only chatters on about withdrawal and habitual abstinence.

When an addict says “To hell with the straight life, I’m copping-out,” he has to be told: “No! We won’t let you, we’ll put you through detox right now and we’ll help you through withdrawal and recovery.”

Consider the truth of what Dickens said less than two centuries ago: “…Society is where men have to live, like it or not, no one escapes.”

To paraphrase Dickens: What an addict rejects is not humanity or human life in general, but social life in particular.

Think it through folks. With harm reduction being pressed on us as the principal way to counteract addiction, trafficking and related property crime, the end result will be drug legalization. The unintended consequence with legalization will surely be an anything-goes upside-down society and bleak prospects for our vulnerable children and grandchildren targeted by black market drug gangs.

There are many leaders amongst us who will not cave in to the harm reduction crowd. One is recently retired Vancouver policeman Al Arsenault. He and his partners in Odd Squad Productions Society have worked countless off-duty hours to film and document the truth about Vancouver’s deeply rooted drug world.

On Nov. 2, the New York Independent International Film and Video Festival awarded Odd Squad’s Stolen Lives the 'Founder’s Choice for a Documentary;' and Tears for April: Beyond the Blue Lens was awarded 'Excellence in Cinema for a Feature Film.’

I’ve seen both films and was stunned by the destructive consequences of chronic ingestion of illicit drugs, a reality far beyond any worst-case scenario I had in mind.

On Oct 27, after receiving word from the New York festival, Arsenault was ecstatic: “Here’s some good news about our follow-up film to Through a Blue Lens. Tears for April: Beyond the Blue Lens represents 10 years of filming distilled into a 98-minute masterpiece! We are showing it at Cinemark’s Tinseltown Cinema from Nov. 30 to Dec. 6, two matinees and two evening shows a day. Come and see the film that the Vancouver International Film Festival cared not to screen.”

While Arsenault was in New York receiving acclaim for Tears for April, Vancouver was being examined by American newsman Dan Rather.

In a Vancouver Sun report on Nov. 2, headlined “Dan Rather here to show ugly side of Vancouver,” columnist Miro Cernetig said “The Downtown Eastside, the poorest neighbourhood in Canada, has long been a time-bomb this city has never bothered to defuse. Now it’s about to explode on the international stage. …

“When Rather sat down with Mayor Sam Sullivan Thursday, the newsman asked whether the world would see the “Dickensian” underbelly of Vancouver in 2010.

“He zeroed in on the mayor’s drug policy and the Insite project which helps addicts to inject illegally obtained heroin. Isn’t the mayor ‘mollycoddling’ drug users, prostitutes and ne’er-do-wells in the Downtown Eastside? The Texan asked.”

According to Cernetig the mayor was also asked if Insite is tantamount to “state assisted suicide.”

The jig is up Mayor Sullivan: Humpty-dumpy Vancouver is about to fall off the harm-reduction wall; and when it does, all your spin doctors and medical health officers will not be able to put Humpty Dumpty together again.

* * *

This commentary was published in the North Shore News on Nov. 7, 2007

You may contact Judicial Gadfly at or by posting your comment on the Writer’s Corner of

Les is Much, Much Less

Shoot the messenger. That's always a good policy.

So, Kash Heed, the new Police Chief of West Vancouver writes an editorial urging an open debate on a regional police force.

What is the reaction of Top Cop, John Les, the provincial Solicitor-General?

LIke a polictiican, like a spoiled school boy, he complains to the principal, in this case, the Mayor of West Vancouver. He basically tells the mayor to tell Kash Heed to shut up.

That's very adult, John. Very useful.

For far too long, Clifford Olson roamed the countryside free as a dodo bird murdering children.

Then a retired RCMP officer urged all the police forces to stop being idiots and talk to each other.

One month later, Olson was caught.

Aside from not having his priorities clear, Mr. Les doesn't even know local history.

Another goon that should go.

Victoria's Secrets

I ask again:

Will we ever be allowed to know why the Victoria Police Chief has been suspended with pay during some secret investigation?

Where are we? Pakistan?

A cop spokesperson says this issue is between the police board and "an employee."


The Chief of Police is not merely "an employee." He is the top cop. He is a most trusted public servant. If we can't trust him, whom can we trust? If he has been wayward, we aught to know about this.

Dan Rather's Journalistic Priorities

Thaks to Harry Shearer for this marvelous exposure of one of America's great all-time fakes.