Throwing up his hands in an apparent admission of defeat, Premier John Horgan has thrown a live grenade into the laps of local governments as he challenges communities to solve their own opioid drug crises.
A few common elements
have been present for decades in the systemic failure to deal effectively with
drug addiction, alcoholism and the mental illnesses associated with
incompetence, political ignorance and a lack of an official will to actually do
something useful and acceptable lies at the heart of it -- and we are left with
an Anita's Place (Maple Ridge) in too many communities across the province.
Place was closed and has been replaced by a small city park.
The common thread
running through these tent city ghettos is the unfathomable monster of the BC Municipal
Affairs and Housing bureaucracy. These well-paid sociologists and regulators
are little known at the public level but their rulings and actions and control
of funding has resulted in social tragedies, chaos and controversy at almost
every turn along the way.
BC Housing's willing
partners in this slide into hell are provincial and federal public health
officials, all of whom join together in an unholy wielding of power and funding
which no local government can match.
bureaucratic influence far exceeds the vision of any partisan political policy
roadblocks and turf wars of these bureaucracies have resulted in the homeless
issue being turned into a major hot button topic where it has become almost
impossible to solve. Added to the nightmare mix of senior government
bureaucracies, we have the incompetent political bungling of too many city
The ultimate fate of
too many homeless people has been lost in the shuffle as communities divide
themselves into various sides in the conflict.
They have gathered up
their shields and lances and marched into endless debate where nothing is
resolved and the tragedies go on unabated.
ministries and city councils have been riding the Four Pillars concept of how
to deal with drug addiction and its accompanying social issues for too long.
The Four Pillars of
prevention, treatment, enforcement and harm reduction have led to the
widespread acceptance of low barrier administrative concepts which have failed
If anything, only two of the Four Pillars have ever received even lip service with enforcement and treatment having become nothing more than a big joke.
programs, safe injection sites, the issuance of opioid drugs to users and other
similar enabling aspects of harm reduction leave most of the sufferers with a
very bleak future and it is all propped up with manufactured fake news
Because of the
intransigence of city halls, the provincial government and BC Housing, we
have reached an impasse with no end in sight and stand nowhere closer to
finding a solution to the greatest social tragedy of our times.
My best wishes for a
long, hot summer, especially to city councils, BC Housing, the provincial
government and Premier John Horgan.
SANDY Macdougall ... is a retired newspaper reporter. He was elected for three consecutive terms to Maple Ridge municipal council in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and also ran for the Progressive Conservatives in Kim Campbell's ill-fated federal election campaign. He now makes his home in the BC interior community of Kelowna.