“You are so loved.”

A must read,best done with tissues handy. Beyond what happened,the unsung bravery and compassion of these people is quite overwhelmingly touching.

Props to the writer for such sensitivity in this gripping account.

“OTTAWA – Lawyer Barbara Winters was headed to a meeting Wednesday near her office at the Canada Revenue Agency when she passed the National War Memorial, stopping to snap a few pictures of the two honour guards standing soberly at attention.

Moments later, after passing by a Canada Post office at the corner of Elgin and Sparks streets, she heard four shots. For Winters, a former member of the Canadian Forces Naval Reserve, the sounds were unmistakable.

Turning, she saw people on Elgin Street ducking. She began to run — not towards safety, but towards the shots, and the wounded soldier lying at the foot of the memorial.

As Winters ran, she looked for — but couldn’t see — the two soldiers. Her mind went to the hit-and-run death in Quebec of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent two days earlier, and she instinctively knew the honour guards had been targeted.

As she reached the memorial, Winters saw four people bending over a fallen soldier. She dropped her purse and briefcase on the steps and began to help…”

http://m.thespec.com/news-story/4941332–you-are-so-loved-ottawa-lawyer-describes-trying-to-save-cpl-nathan-cirillo/

Posted in Laila Yuile | 5 Comments

Tragedy in Ottawa

Canadaflaghalfstaff

My thoughts and prayers are with the family of the soldier shot and killed this morning while on service in Ottawa this morning – my deepest condolences. http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/soldier-killed-at-national-war-memorial-identified-1.2065980?hootPostID=50a6907fb7f84ff0824b1d455587eb2c

My thoughts are also with all parliamentarians, staff, friends and colleagues who experienced this.

Let the resolve,strength and reason of Canadians as a country,guide us. And because I could not have said it better myself:

reasonablethoughts

http://globalnews.ca/news/1629721/alleged-ottawa-gunman-what-we-know-so-far/

Posted in Laila Yuile | Tagged | 18 Comments

Update: The Little Pop Up Soup Kitchen…that couldn’t

An update to the story I posted yesterday that warmed everyone’s hearts is developing.

In speaking with Erin Schulte just now, she said a member of the group received a phone call from Fraser Health this morning to contact them.

Erin did call back and spoke with a Fraser Health Inspector, Nimret Rai, who said a complaint was received about the food service and the group would have to stop serving food completely, unless it followed Fraser Health guidelines and was all prepared a Fraser Health approved facility.

Erin said she questioned if the complaint originated with the Whalley Legion, and was told no, it was the city bylaw department. When further questioned, she was told she would have to speak to the media department.

I’ll post further updates as they come in, but one thing I know is true, is that these are amazing people whose only intentions were not to create trouble or break any laws, they simply want to feed people who are hungry, good,wholesome, nutritious food.

In my view,it’s like sharing your lunch with a homeless person on a larger scale.  They don’t have the funds for a professional facility and all the required amendments ( if there is someone out there who can assist, please get in touch)

The bigger question to me is, if the city bylaw department has indeed filed the complaint as Erin Schulte was told, why did they tell Global last week they welcomed their work and would work with them to a solution?

Posted in Laila Yuile | Tagged , , , | 36 Comments

This week column for 24Hrs Vancouver: Changes unfairly target non-profits.

This week’s topic: Should proposed new rules be enacted allowing B.C. non-profit societies to be taken to court?

Make no mistake, the legislative changes to the Society Act proposed by the B.C. government are not about keeping registered societies accountable and transparent. The changes are yet another assault against the democratic rights of Canadians, and a sign the government has taken a lesson from the Stephen Harper playbook.

Contrary to my partner’s assertions, it’s not just environmental groups who are alarmed — I’ve been contacted by people from small community groups who advocate for good stewardship in city planning who are worried as well. If they speak out against irresponsible developments and municipal policy in favour of responsible and sustainable planning, would heavy-handed developers with deep pockets take them to court for “acting against the public’s interest?”

As with most onerous legislation, the devil is in the details, and how the proposed wording is interpreted and used by the courts in any litigation. How will the court determine who is an appropriate person to act in the public’s interest? How will the public’s interest be defined? And why is it even necessary to enact Section 99 in the first place, when there is nothing to prevent anyone from suing a society right now?

I’ve already heard from a party who is a member of a society that has been entrenched in litigation that appears to be a SLAPP suit — a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. SLAPP suits are an insult to everything Lady Justice stands for, and are increasingly being used to legally silence community groups, organizations and individuals who speak out.

Read Brent Stafford’s columnhere.

This kind of legislation signals the BC Liberals’ intention to encourage these kind of pesky lawsuits with motives that are anything but altruistic. The courts in this province are already so back-logged that people facing DUI charges have walked free because their right to a speedy trial has been infringed upon. Yet the same government that has over the years cut access to legal services, legal aid and other supports, is now enabling vexatious actions that waste the court’s time…

 

Read the rest of this weeks column, vote and comment at http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2014/10/19/changes-unfairly-target-non-profits

And in case you missed it, head to the main page and scroll down to read about the Little Pop-up Soup Kitchen that could!

Posted in 24 hours Vancouver The Duel, BC Liberals, BC NDP, BC Politics, Enbridge, Laila Yuile, The Environment | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Life on 135A street, or, The little Pop-up Soup Kitchen that could

Compassion is not just feeling with someone, but seeking to change the situation. Frequently people think compassion and love are merely sentimental. No! They are very demanding. If you are going to be compassionate, be prepared for action!”
Desmond Tutu

The story last week that bylaw officers from the city of Surrey had told a group of volunteers who have been running a pop up soup kitchen on 135A street every other Sunday they weren’t welcome anymore, left many with a bad taste in their mouths, including myself.  http://globalnews.ca/news/1617246/organizers-of-surrey-soup-kitchen-given-the-cold-shoulder-over-thanksgiving-weekend/

I’m ashamed that I only recently discovered this little strip of Surrey after being told about it by a reader, who said what was happening on King George in Whalley was nothing in comparison to what happens a block away.

Hidden from public view, the people of 135A street left an impression on me the first time I travelled the short couple of blocks that is essentially Surrey’s smaller DTES. As you turn off 108th avenue and head south, the first thing you see is a stunningly beautiful Ukrainian church to the right. Pristine and respected, it stands sentinel as though watching over those that call the sidewalks home, despite the appearances all have been abandoned by any higher power.

People are everywhere among these streets.

There is a small tent city in one empty lot at the end of that strip of 135A, and the sidewalks have a tent or two as well. A drive around the area that also houses the BC Lions facility, a recreational centre and the Legion will show you the harsh realities of many peoples lives – sleeping under trees, plastic bags housing all their worldly possessions… it’s a reality many don’t want to-or can’t- confront.

The juxtaposition between this world and the architectural jewel of Central City rising in the sky mere blocks away, is stark.

I contacted Erin Schulte, the organizer of Pop up Soup Kitchen, to commend her on her work following the Global story. She invited me down today and so I arrived with a case of apples knowing they provide good pocket food to carry along in ones bag or  jacket when the food is gone.

I went looking for answers, but left with my heart full of emotions from the experience, the people I met and those who shared some of their stories.

Some were homeless, some were not.

Some were clearly and admittedly struggling with addictions, but many were not.

I met a former rampie who used to work at Vancouver airport, a former construction worker who was injured and left on disability ( not a workplace accident). They shared some stories with me and I look forward to more. The conversation was quick,witty and full of insight, peppered with a heaping dose of reality.

Everyone was exceptionally polite and incredibly grateful for the hot nutritious food on the very long tables set up.2014-10-19 001 This isn’t the typical, very basic kind of soup kitchen fare being served by far.Erin has a policy that she wouldn’t serve anything she wouldn’t serve her own family and you can see the tremendous effort everyone put into presenting food that is not only nutritious, but beautiful as well.

Salads, roasted meat, casseroles, the aromas were not only satisfying for the stomach but food for the soul as well. Gloves are worn for service, hair is kept back, everyone wears a name tag and clearly the volunteers are all loved by the locals. many who have become regulars.

2014-10-19 002This fellow simply couldn’t stand anymore, and flopped  down on the grass, I stood in line to bring him his food, another volunteer gave him a blanket. People take care of each other here. He and his companion sat and ate together – she was most gracious to everyone, although as hard as I tried, I never saw her eyes because she never looked up.

Soft spoken, there was defeat in her rounded shoulders, a tentativeness about her that one finds with those who have learned being quiet means no harassment, no abuse. Both ate slowly, savouring every bite.

This touching scene was repeated all over the empty lot where Erin and her team now set  up.

2014-10-19 003I talked with these gentlemen for a bit, Girard is in the middle with his fork in the air. He lived in Prince George for a while years ago which resulted in a lively conversation about prairie chickens and the war plane left abandoned in a lake up there- that’s an entirely separate blog post!

Girard unfortunately has no bottom teeth and was terribly sad he couldn’t eat an apple so I promised  next time that I would bring some already cut up for him and others in a similar situation. When you have good teeth,you often forget there are many who don’t have the same luxury. Just thinking about Girard makes me smile now. Simply click on the photos below to see them in a larger format.

I don’t have all the solutions for homelessness and poverty: some people make choices in life that lead down this path, many do not. I met some of both today. What I do know is  that feeding people without judgement of choice or circumstance isn’t a bad thing – it’s the right thing.

I learned who the local dealers were, driving fairly nice cars – one showed up to eat- and what’s not working in the area.It’s a tough place where a lot of violence still happens. I have been told by several people that bylaw officers have been moving some street people’s possessions and moving them along, ‘sweeping’ the area-hardly a solution to what ails this area.

I talked to a young guy the same age as my eldest son-21- who’s into hard drugs. He told me he see’s people start to walk down this street and then turn around because they are afraid.

“Of what?” I ask.

“Ha.Reality. They don’t want to see this.”  Truer words were never spoken, but let me share this:I never once felt unsafe in the midst of all these street people during this food service, in fact I was embraced as all the long time volunteers clearly are.

They are loved. There was no feeling of despair immediately evident- this bi-weekly meal, served by those whose compassion spurred them to action- is an act of community, of coming together, of being able to simply do something for someone else because you can.

And by the grace of something wonderful, the storm held off and the sun shone and at least for a while everyone had full stomachs, warm companionship and a dry place to sit and relax. I would say upwards of a hundred people were served today.

Some people,when confronted with a difficult reality, turn and run in the face of such overwhelming obstacles. Others do what they can, with what they have.

This is what they look like.

2014-10-19 006

* Everything served is either paid for by the volunteers themselves or donated. They are looking for a couple pop-up tents to shelter the food with fall and winter weather coming. There is a go fund me page that hasn’t been utilized much but would greatly help offset costs  http://www.gofundme.com/9qc7ks

Volunteers and donations of good, nutritious food are always welcome, Erin Schulte can be contacted via their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/695846520466061/

Posted in Laila Yuile | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments

“Christy Clark would do well to remember that Canada is a free nation…”

Late last week I was contacted by a new member of a local community association here in Surrey, who expressed great concern over this Tyee blog post: http://thetyee.ca/Blogs/TheHook/2014/09/29/Non-Profit-Attack-Petition/

Her concern of course,is that the potential for these proposed changes to be used to silence any group expressing concerns or opposition to, well, anything,  is very real.

In the nick of time, Sandy Garossino has posted excellent commentary that really gets to the ominous heart of the matter:

“B.C.’s Christy Clark government is proposing to overhaul the Societies Act, and they’ve distributed a snoozer of a White Paper to let you know all about it.

If you’ve dozed off already, WAKE UP, because there’s a massive zinger quietly planted deep inside. You can do something about it — more on that at the end of this post. But unmentioned in any preamble or executive summary, Section 99 allows any person (including corporations) to take any registered society to court that they believe is acting contrary to the public interest — whatever that is.

Here it is:

Complaints by public

99 (1) A person whom the court considers to be an appropriate person to make an
application under this section may apply to the court for an order under this
section on the grounds that a society

(b) is carrying on activities that are detrimental to the public interest.

In other words, environmental non-profit groups better watch their step because they’re in the cross-hairs. Premier Clark is handing the legal hammer to Enbridge, Kinder Morgan, ExxonMobil, Koch, Encana, Chevron, Sinopec, Suncor and the entire B.C. LNG sector to tie non-profits up in court for years.

Section 99 looks like Clark’s close advisor Gwyn Morgan drafted it up during half-time at last year’s Grey Cup. Not a single competent lawyer within the Ministry of Justice could say with a straight face that it’s constitutional. The clear intent is to silence and intimidate Canadian conservation and environmental non-profits with the threat of litigation. And if mere threat doesn’t work, this legislation enables the corporate sector to bludgeon them into lawsuit bankruptcy.

This proposal is one of the most ill-conceived and draconian initiatives to see the light of day in a modern democracy, and reveals the extent of Clark’s captivity by the oil and gas lobby. (And one more reason B.C. political leaders should be prevented from funding their election campaigns at the Petroleum Club in Calgary).

But as policy, it’s also breathtakingly stupid. As if B.C. doesn’t already have the mother of all court backlogs to cope with, the Clark government now proposes to fill up the system with disgruntled parents taking out their beefs in court against a minor hockey association or local elementary school PAC (parent advisory council). It will be open season on abortion clinics, LGBTQ organizations, and mosques. Don’t think for a minute that won’t happen.

The real backdrop, of course, is that the Harper government has been on a tear against environmentalists for years, muzzling our scientists and attempting to discredit Canadian environmental NGOs…”

Read the rest of this post here: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/sandy-garossino/bc-societies-act-christy-clark_b_5973568.html

Then fire off your email comments on what you think of this draconian proposal right away, because the public consultation period on this ends Wednesday October 15th. Yes, that’s right,it’s been open for comment since August.

Here is the link:  http://www.fin.gov.bc.ca/pld/fcsp/society_act_discussion.htm

Wake up and smell the coffee my friends.

** and if you still have the stomach for it after that, Sean Holman has an excellent read to follow up with this morning. http://seanholman.com/2014/10/13/scientists-arent-the-only-ones-silenced/

Posted in BC Liberals, BC NDP, BC Politics, Enbridge, Federal politics, Laila Yuile, The China Connection, The Environment | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Don’t wait to enjoy the china.

Growing up in the seventies, my mother had a large china cabinet in the dining room of our house, filled with fine china, I think by the name of Royal something.

The massive buffet and hutch was the caretaker of all things rarely used but apparently required, I suspect on the demands of such magazines like Good Housekeeping,  or Woman’s Day, both of which were regulars in our house. I think those magazines were my mom’s escape from the demands of living in Cariboo country and I never did get the point of investing so much time and effort into having all this china, only to have it sit in the cabinet 98% of the year. My family hunted, fished, grew our own food and hauled wood to keep us warm in winter. Why we needed china, I don’t know.

My mom said that one day it would be all mine and quite appalled at the thought as a teen, I declined. I just didn’t get it, or the importance of it to her at the time.

To this day, I still use the same set of dishes for eating regardless of occasion. The first piece of china I’ve ever owned just came to me recently as a parting gift at a neighbours 76th birthday in the form of a stunning tea-cup with royal blue designs. I don’t have matching serving platters and gravy boats, and what you’ll see in this house is a hodge podge of eclectic items from the thrift store and things bought on end of season discount from the grocery store.

And I’m quite happy about this,much to the amusement of some female friends who are decorating mavens. It works, it’s still very beautiful and I like it. But let me tell you why.

While waiting at the doctors years ago, flipping through a magazine, I came across a story that struck home for me completely. If memory serves me correctly, it was written by a woman whose mother was diagnosed with cancer, who went on to pass quite quickly.

Sadly,nearing the end of her life, she voiced regrets to her daughter that she had never let anyone use the china set she had collected for so many years. Fearing something would happen to it, she had steadfastly refused to use it for any event, preferring to save it for ‘that one special occasion’.

Well,that one very special occasion happened shortly after that conversation, and the china was finally used – at a large gathering of loved ones following her death, to celebrate her life.

The message is clear. Life is precious and unpredictable. Don’t wait to enjoy tomorrow, or next month, or next year, what you can enjoy today. Go ahead, collect fine china… but don’t let it sit in a cabinet unused. If you love it, if it gives you joy to see it, use it- don’t wait.

Funny enough when my parents divorced the all important china cabinet stayed with my dad in the home I grew up in, which tells me it really wasn’t all that important after all.

Now when family dinners are served here, the food generally stays in the kitchen,more often than not in the dish it was cooked in, and you serve yourself. Good luck on finding glasses that actually match. What matters to me is not the fanciness of the occasion, but the people and the feelings we share as we gather round the harvest table. I’ll decorate the table with colourful leaves gathered outside for free and ornamental gourds ( that’s a story in itself this year! ) but what matters is being together, not how pretty the plate we ate off was.

I try to live in the way of giving thanks for the small moments of gratitude that happen daily. Hot coffee and a warm house on a cold morning. Food to eat, a shower with scented body wash-a downright luxury to many. The smell of crisp leaves on a fall morning, to see the sun set and moon rise, how thankful I am to experience this. More than one pair of shoes, healthy family, lovely friends and colleagues. And after breaking my ankle recently, I’ve a whole new appreciation for our medical system and how minor of an issue this really is in comparison to the ailments of others.

In these ways, my life is rich, and I am thankful. Life is made up of the sum of the smaller parts and they add up to show you how very lucky you are, no matter how hard it may seem at times. Because someone, somewhere, would love to have the life you do.

I hope you have a safe, happy, warm long weekend. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

centerpiece

Posted in Laila Yuile | Tagged , | 17 Comments

This weeks column for 24Hrs Vancouver: Welfare rates are starvation rates

THIS WEEK’S TOPIC: Should the B.C. government raise welfare rates?

Most of you likely woke up in a nice, warm bed today, then headed off to a warm shower and a quick breakfast before work. You will probably have a good lunch and many of you will either stop at the grocery store tonight on the way home, or stop to pick up take-out food.

Your life is full of choices.

For thousands of British Columbian’s on social assistance — including many who read our weekly columns — choice isn’t an option, and sometimes eating isn’t either.

Hardest hit without a doubt are the single men and women who have to live on $610 a month while trying to get back on their feet.

Last week, Vancouver-based musician Bif Naked announced she will be taking part in this year’s Welfare Food Challenge. For one week, she’ll have to survive on whatever she can buy for $21.

According to Raise the Rates, after deducting rent, transit tickets, room deposit and laundry-hygiene funds from the $610 monthly payment, approximately $84 is left for food for the month, or $21 a week. It’s a pittance and nearly impossible to buy nutritious food, let alone enough of anything to keep your body properly sustained.

Read Brent Stafford’s column here.

Former MLA Jagrup Brar found this out in 2012 when he took the challenge and lived for 30 days on the single-person rate. He lost 26 pounds and discovered why it’s so hard to get off social assistance once you get on – people are dragged into a vicious cycle that’s nearly impossible to overcome.

Most people think they can get a job easily enough, then discover how hard it is without reliable access to food, showers, and finding clothes suitable for interviews. Just surviving day to day is a struggle insurmountable to some, which is why the cycle continues…

Read the rest of this week’s column, vote and comment at http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2014/10/05/welfare-rates-are-starvation-rates:I

Posted in 24 hours Vancouver The Duel, BC Liberals, BC NDP, BC Politics, Laila Yuile | Tagged , , , , , | 26 Comments

For your Sunday coffee break

coffeeThere’s a number of stories I’m working on for next week, but for today, here are a few things to read on your Sunday coffee break.

The BC governments move into the Renminbi market last year should be news again shortly, as the one year bonds issued come to maturity: this is the story from last fall I posted on this to refresh your memory: http://lailayuile.com/2013/11/08/bc-government-dim-sum-bonds-a-success-in-hong-kong-but-give-indigestion-to-many-here-in-british-columbia/

Will the BC government issue a press release heralding this experiment as a success for the province, strengthening ties with investors from China? Or will silence reign supreme in an effort to avoid examination considering the current unrest and pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong? The actions of the Chinese government during these protests are currently being questioned by many, with allegations of the Hong Kong government working with gangs to break up the protests: https://time.com/3464206/blue-ribbon-protestors-occupy-hong-kong-china-democracy-triads/

Keep your eye on this situation, and I’ll keep you updated on the outcome.

The situation with Mount Polley and Imperial mines has largely fallen from media view now, but still very much ongoing.

Imperial mines has issued a response to the Vancouver Sun article in which it was noted a crack was noticed in the tailings pond dam as far back as 2010. This is the article in question: http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Crack+Mount+Polley+mine+noted+2010+inspection+report+with+report/10236487/story.html

And this is their response: http://www.imperialmetals.com/i/pdf/10-03-14-mount-polley-responds-to-sept-26-vancouver-sun-article-oct-3.pdf

The company has been busy seeding grass over tailings sediment, raising questions by many on whether or not that poses any risk to wildlife who may be attracted to graze on the grass come spring, and whether this also indicates the likelihood it may not be cleaned up at all.

Gordon Hoekstra has consistently done excellent work on this story from day 1, and this recent story again shows his attention to details and insight. http://www.vancouversun.com/business/resources/Imperial+cleanup+plan+underway+Mount+Polley+mine/10239724/story.html

All of this has had impact on Imperial Mines operation at Red Chris mine, where they are currently advising they are seeking an injunction to have a blockade removed from the entrance to the mine, set up by a group of Tahltan families and elders known as the Klabona Keepers.

http://www.terracestandard.com/news/278163681.html

Video footage of the blockade being set up, and the elders asking for support to protect their lands.

The latest results that were released passed right over my head with back to school and an ankle injury, but here is the write up from NW: http://www.cknw.com/2014/09/24/latest-mount-polley-test-results-released/
A
nd here is the link to all the results : http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/eemp/incidents/2014/mount-polley/#updates

Last but not least, Harvey Oberfeld has a thought provoking post up about Mulcair’s support for all Canadian taxpayers to pick up the bill for a new bridge in Quebec. I was equally outraged at this turn of events, simply because we continually get dinged out here for new projects, including the Port Mann, which is part of our national highway system.

Sigh. It’s so damn easy to spend spend spend when it’s not their own money.

Read and weep. http://harveyoberfeld.ca/blog/media-finally-picking-up-on-mulcairs-duplicity/

Enjoy your Sunday and the weather it’s brought with it – you know that months of rain can’t be far off in this part of the world! :)

Posted in BC Liberals, BC NDP, BC Politics, Corruption, crime, Federal politics, Laila Yuile, The China Connection, The Environment | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Hepner unwittingly calls into question Community Safety Patrols done by Commissionaires.

It’s been said that Surrey politics is the one to watch this year and certainly it never fails to provide fodder for ample discussion.

Mayoral candidate Barinder Rasode released her crime plan yesterday,one crafted in part in consultation with soon to be retired Delta Police Chief Jim Cessford. Cessford is highly respected by many not only in Delta, but in law enforcement in general for his commitment to the ‘no call too small’ philosophy. 

But this post isn’t about her platform, or Jim Cessford, it’s about mayoral candidate, Linda Hepner.

Within a short time of Rasode’s release, Hepner issued a press release not only calling Rasode’s crime plan a complete knock-off of the current Surrey Crime Prevention Strategy that’s been in place since 2007, she then went onto say how terrible some parts of Rasode’s plan was. ( think about that for a moment- she even says she had to look at Rasode’s plan twice to see what, if anything, was different)

Here is Hepner’s release in full, followed by a small excerpt, so there can be no errors of interpretation on my part: http://www.surreyfirst.ca/2014/10/rasodes-public-safety-plan-a-copy-of-surrey-firsts-crime-2007-reduction-strategy/

Hepner press release

 

This raised more than a few eyebrows between Newton residents who just earlier this year, were introduced to the new Community Safety Patrol pilot project staffed by the Commissionaires earlier this year.

In this report to the police committee,  dated April 23rd, 2014 it’s clear tiered policing is being implemented and the OIC Bill Fordy recommended in part, the following:

3· Direct City staff to enter into a contract with the BC Commissionaires to conduct a 36
week Community Safety Patrol pilot project, with 10 Community Safety Patrol Personnel
for 2014;
4· Recommend that Council set the expenditure authorization at $554.40o.oo, excluding
taxes; and
5· Further consider increasing the total number of Community Safety Patrol Personnel to 20 in 2015.

However, decisions must have been made prior to this report to the police committtee, because a full week earlier,a craigslist posting for the job with a start date of April 22nd  even caught the city manager off guard .

Commissionaires after all, are security guards, and in Linda Hepner’s press release, she says using community safety patrols/security guards is dangerous, because they are not trained police officers. I actually happen to agree, and voiced my concerns along with many residents at the time – if you are going to have boots on the ground, let them be well trained to deal with the situations they may encounter.

To say Newton residents were surprised to read Linda’s press release about how dangerous security guards would be, and how it would take resources away from policing ( $554,400.00 in this case alone) after being sold on the effectiveness of the Commissionaires, is an understatement.

Emails and phone calls started flying around, in particular since a local activist David Dalley, had recently began asking Newton residents for solutions to the men hanging around The Grove who had begun harassing women going through. Where are the commissionaires?

Not aware that a Newton resident had already asked this very same question to no response earlier in the evening, I put forth the question again – and the response stunned Newton residents completely:

Sunshine
It didn’t matter that I voiced this same concern she has in her press release earlier this year, it mattered that the question Newton residents are now wondering about, was not something she was prepared to answer. You want to be flippant with me, fine, but it wasn’t and isn’t just me who has concerns. She has now called into question the entire pilot project, through her own words.

Where does that leave residents who now  are questioning and concerned why these security guards are doing community safety patrols around the city?

After all, “They have no more authority to do anything than you or me, and with just a few weeks of very basic training, Policing is serious business and it needs to be handled by professionals.”

Which is exactly what Newton residents said this spring when the city hired them.

I welcome an explanation- as do the lovely residents and businesses of Newton – on all of this, but I’m not hanging around here waiting for it.

There’s plenty of sunshine to be had outside.

Posted in BC Politics, crime, Laila Yuile | Tagged , , , , , , , | 27 Comments