• Ray Farness:  Gerda ….with the money Spent on Reporting, Policing and Supporting, we could easily house these folks. Most of the protesters are not from Abbotsford and some have warrants for their arrest on which the Police are not acting. What’s really going on here? Its like we as a people are being brainwashed and can’t make logical connections. Like between say,drugs, dealers,Gangs,and Death. Also Addiction and Perpetual issues like mental health , and housing . Abbotsford needs to either build a detox center or join harm reduction, but we can’t sit on the fence and be a city divided..
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  • Gord Kurenoff Reporting on these social issues heightens awareness. What the community does after is the interesting part. While I don’t always agree with media “slants” or “opinions,” I do not think ignoring this camp is an option either. I think a lot of people have sympathy for the poor, the homeless, the mentally unstable, etc., but most would not want to be neighbours with them, even though they insist they have nothing but love for them. Human compassion, tolerance and understanding is not a gift everyone has!
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  • Gerda Peachey Ray: Narcotics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous – these groups genuinely help people caught in addiction. They know that abstinence is the only way out of the hell-holes of their lives. Continuing on in their use only ends in “jails, institutions and death.” Because the addiction most often stems from the pervasive pain of past wounds, – mostly sexual abuse as children, they need outside help. Lets get them out of their hopeless state by providing clean, safe and supervised housing and work on giving meaningful lives to, at least some. But perpetual crime to feed addictions has to be met with some form of restraint. As for child molesters – bring back the death penalty!
  • Gerda Peachey Gord: You, in the media, do us tremendous good. For a few cents we can be informed about events around the world. Democracy simply cannot survive without a free and independent media. I’d like to see more of that ‘independence’, and more thoughtful analysis in reporting.
  • Anne Graham I think this group of self proclaimed “drug war survivors” are for the most part people who would like to be close to the substances they “survived” and close to amenities like a free lunch. They don’t want a shelter so much as a central place where they can do their “business” which include but is not limited to recycling and the sale of firewood. There is always a quantity of items including wet blankets and clothes, garbage, shopping carts etc which along with their tarps and tents makes their camps look unsightly.
  • Anne Graham The problem is that what they seem to be saying is that it is “their privilege” to have a central location to openly use drugs and alcohol, without being bothered by any outside interference like “laws” and they think society owes them something, but you can’t give them enough because drugs and alcohol costs a lot of money and you can always do more if you can get it when you are an abuser.
  • Anne Graham most of these people are transient, as a former worker of Parks and Recreation in Abbotsford I can tell you there was only one known homeless person who lived under the shelter in Grant Park and small handful that seemed to ride in and out on the trains as recently the late 90’s, when real estate began getting pricier and the Government of the day started tearing down diapitated houses (crack shacks) in the inner city.
  • Anne Graham Also the numbers seemed to increase around the time of the Olympics in Vancouver when it was rumored that they were being driven here from Vancouver. Originally many churches were welcoming them and trying to feed them but seemed to grow weary of turning the other cheek and seeing no positive results.
  • Anne Graham I think the downtown east side is a good example of what can happen if you try to centralize the services for people in need. I think there should be a detox centre and a harm reduction program in Abbotsford but it should be the responsibility of the provincial and federal governments and be run out of either the prisons or the hospitals or both.
  • Gerda Peachey Anne: Here’s a response from a man who worked in the DTES a few years ago,……..” I spent a lot of time working in the DTES. There was, at that time, always somewhere for the homeless to go (even those that had blown their welfare money the first few days after they got it – we use to call them 2 day millionaires). The reason there were some people living on the street was that they either wouldn’t go to the shelters, or they wouldn’t allowed in them, as they would not follow the rules.”
  • Anne Graham I think it’s important to identify people who are not local and who are wanted for criminal offenses and send them back where they came from, and somehow sort out and try to rehabilitate and rehabitate what’s left. I do not think it’s wise to let them organize into some sort of large unionized element and make demands on the city.
  • Anne Graham Finally, to our media friends who are getting lots of attention defending these “drug war survivors” who don’t want to subject themselves to any rules of the Salvation Army or similar groups, in particular the much reported and now legal suit of the “chicken shit caper” and the persecution and degradation these poor people have to suffer in order to to have whatever it is the want without the afore mentioned subjectification, stop it, unless you have something constructive and plausible just stop.