Tuesday, April 6, 2010



The BC Civil Liberties is unhappy about a piece of art hanging in a fire hall in the Downtown East Side.

The offending scribble calls the neighbourhood the "Skids" and it shows among other things, the Grim Reaper and a hypo needle.

In other words, it is a clumsy expression of how some of the fire fighters feel about the place where they work.

But soft...

We can't have freedom of expression, not in perfectly perfect British Columbia, where it is deeply offensive to call an addict a "dope fiend."

“Our concern is this image is actually an image that reflects a discriminatory view of people with addiction issues and of the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood as the skids."

Oy Gevalt!

You must never discriminate against people who break into your condo or your SUV to steal even the tiniest piece of your property because they have a sickness and a problem, so be nice.

Lorna Bird, a member of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users, who has lost two daughters to drugs, said she was appalled by the possible messages from the mural. “It’s disgusting,” she said.

VANDU is an organization that argues that using heroin is a reasonable and legitimate choice for people and they have the right to use heroin and be treated with respect.

You might think that some one who has suffered the great tragedy of losing children to drugs would want to do everything in her power to help people avoid using drugs.

But no.

Not in the twisted logic that governs the DTES.

A Globe and Mail investigation last year concluded that more than $1.4-billion in public and private money has been spent in the last decade to deal with health, social and justice issues in the area.

And, as we all know, these monies have accomplished so much.

So now, the Firemen will have to take down their home-grown art.

Will there be an Art Committee run by the Portland Hotel to approve further excursions into the dangerous realm of self-expression?

Now every piece of art, every song, every poem in the city will have a BC Civil Lib stamp on it before it finds the light of day?


Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health will spend upward of $100 Million on three new buildings in the core of the city.

That's nice.

Their claims about a new millennium in treating people because of these buildings are laughable.

The CAMH is a huge dollar-munching empire with very few known or demonstrable results, other than research papers that tell us that more short people in Halifax are smoking Menthol Lites on Tuesdays than ever before.

Take that $100 million and distribute it please to programs across the nation that are struggling to pay the bills while they actually provide real and effective treatment on a shoestring.


Vic Toews, Canada's Public Safety Minister (Are you feeling safer already?) has proclaimed that certain types of criminals cannot be rehabilitated.

He is right.

And we should be cognizant of that fact and act accordingly in our sentencing, our jailing and our releasing from prisons.


To challenge the thousands of pardons and paroles that have worked and are working is just plain silly.

Yes, granting a pardon to a high-profile sex offender is flat stupid.

But that glaring error speaks only of itself and should not be a reflection of the almost 10,000 other pardons that have been reasonable and effective.

So Harper called Toews on Easter Sunday or whatever.

So all that tells us is that, behind Mr. Harper's cool exterior, lurks a knee-jerk hysteric.

For which, by the way, there is no known cure.