Friday, September 18, 2009


Canada's Health Minister, Leona Aglukkaq, has apologized for her department sending body bags to native communities in the north.

The minister is herself an aboriginal and her apology was clearly deeply felt and sincere.

As it should have been for an act so insensitive and downright stupid.

Native leaders have turned their backs on the apology, which is their right.

200 body bags.

What were these idiots thinking?

Iggy Pop has seized the opportunity for another foto op. What a ghoul. How desparate is this geek?

To my posting on this subject, I received far too many ugly racist comments, most of which I rejected.


Judge Thomas Gove is featured in today's Globe, sharing with us his feelings about the Downtown Community Court.

His report is largely anecdotal and it is encouraging in the tiniest way.

But the central problem remains unaddressed.

A community court that directs addicts and others to responsive treatment is the right idea IF AND ONLY IF AND WHEN SUCH REAL TREATMENT EXISTS IN THE REAL COMMUNITY.

Here, in Vancouver, such treatment is by and large not available. Ask any parent of any young drug abuser.

Not only is such low-cost results-oriented treatment not available, most of the powers that be actively argue against it. They would rather hand out more needles and free crack pipe kits and open more clean shooting galleries, including mobile units that will bring addict nightmares to your local neighbourhood.

Not too far away however...

In Winnipeg, for the past 35 years, courts have been consistently sending addicts and others to the Behavioural Health Foundation. On a budget of around $6 Million a year, the BHF works with over 100 people in residence at a time. Do the math. That's about $60,000 a year per client. Cheap. Lunch money.

Results? BHF now claims over One Million Clean Man Days. Each day one client remains clean and sober is a Clean Man Day.

I was there recently. I met women who, after years of prostitution and addiction, are completing their school programs, re-uniting with their children and families and moving back into the community as strong, independent citizens.

Now, why isn't such a program here in BC?

Well, you ask that question of the politicians and the "experts."

They will give you every manner of excuse. But the truth is that if they weren't all sleeping under the same cozy blanket, if they weren't all beholden to a thousand interlocking bureaucrats with a million irrelevant rules-as-obstacles, BHF could open a facility here this afternoon and help Thomas Gove and his Community Court.

Until then, the good Judge's brave efforts can continue to be called "an experiment."

My god, an experiment?

That court and the kind of treatment that is available but not supported here should have been public policy 40 years ago.