Monday, February 16, 2009



For a guy who claims to know all or much about drug addiction, I didn't really know until today who were the original authors of that spurious document called The Vancouver Agreement.

This thing - which has accomplished just about nothing since its inception almost nine years ago - has long been held in mysterious high regard as the Bible and Koran of urban renewal for the DTES.

Today, reading a very good item by Robert Matas in the Globe, I learn that the original signatories to this high-sounding, low-landing fluff were Philip Owen, then Mayor of Vancouver, Hedy Fry and Jenny Kwan.

'nuff said?

At the time, Fry was unbelievably a federal Liberal cabinet minister and Kwan was a Provincial NDP cabinet minister.

Owen is the only one of the three who, in spite of too often being on the wrong track, was really serious and dedicated about cleaning up the mess and he has continued in his way to try to find improvements.

But he is clearly as frustrated as the rest of us these days.

Recently he tried to engage the federal government.

"But Mr. Owen said he got nowhere. He could not even persuade the federal government to contribute $200,000 to a new drug-treatment centre for boys and girls that opened earlier this year, despite Conservative Party campaign promises to support treatment and prevention over harm reduction."


Anonymous said...

The conservatives don't believe in prevention and treatment. They use the concept of morality to justify punishments, as if human beings lack discipline to be good, only punishing them would they learn to behave. Of course, the conservatives also believe that the high-ups, people of their own, are exempt from this rule that underlies their unique trait to be superior.

Conservatism is worthless. well. almost.


Anonymous said...

David: For some time now, I have felt that we need to make many government "services" redundant. Your article this morning, I think, proves my point. Point One: An amount of $200,000 is peanuts in the overall scheme of things - just one dollar from everyone who attends hockey games from now 'til the end of the season, would cover it. So would one dollar each from every citizen in the three main municipalities on the North Shore.
Point #2: Yesterday, British Columbians pledged a record $8.3 million dollars in the Variety Telethon. So what do we do, forget our kids once they're no longer cute at age 19? What would be wrong with holding a Global BC Telethon for drug treatment facilities and treatment modalities?
Do we not do these things because the sight of a few spaced out, emaciated human beings will not turn on the money taps?
Give me a break!
Elizabeth James

Pelalusa said...

David, the other day on the radio I heard that $1.4 Billion has been spent on the DTES since the Year 2000. So there's no misunderstanding, that is $1,400,000,000.00 in the past 9 years. And this is supposed to be a conservative estimate; the actual number may be much higher.

Today I heard Gary Mason talking about the DTES. He said that the major problem are all the vested interests down there, what I aptly call The Poverty Industry (PVI). He added that it's not in their interest to have things ever get any better. And lo and behold, they don't.

I'm convinced that the average British Columbian is a caring & compassionate person. They're also not stupid. So they pretty much have surmised that things will never get better until a strong politicians stands up against The Poverty Industry. But that requires standing firm while the PVI applies a lot of tricks with the media to shame said politician.

Mason cited The Carnegie Centre as one of the vested interests that don't want things to change. But clearly there are many more.

A. G. Tsakumis said...


You are, as per usual, spot on...

Here's a bigger name for you. The Portland Hotel Society and it's overlord Mark Townsend. He bitches and complains every time I write a column on the drug industry on the DTES. "Harm reduction is the only thing that will help, Alex", he whines and snivels.


As Sir David has pointed out, umpteen times: TREATMENT IS THE ANSWER, Period. You can have harm seduction for the 1 in 10 of addicts that it might help--fine. But the Tories, sadly, are not living up to their promises about funding treatment.

Anonymous said...

The Tories are not living up to any of their promises!
Residental treatment is the only answer. Out of town treatment centers are the best for long term results.