June 12, 2013
Harper's Harm Reduction
Some pointers for
PM to consider
Submitted by Myrtle Macdonald, Chilliwack/Voice
Myrtle writes in response to the Prime Minister's plans to "Keep Heroin
Out of Our Back Yards".
1. In Chilliwack BC we are one of the first communities to have a syringe
2. It is good for the Conservative
government to focus on crime reduction, but punitive methods make
things worse instead of better.
3. Re-education and mentoring of criminals is more important than
locking them up.
4. Good patrol officers who mentor them are too few. They could
learn to use restorative justice methods. See point 10.
5. Chilliwack Community policing is good. Having Block Watch and
volunteers do park patrol, etcetera helps a lot.
6. A Self Help Landlord Group meets together to share with each
other how to keep their apartment blocks safe and crime free.
7. Housing is too expensive for the poor. Many more would be
homeless if they didn't double up to crowd many into tiny
apartments. Having overcrowding results in lowering of safety
standards. I know one mentally ill man who was stable but received
only $375 per month for housing, so he had to move in with a
stranger, who turned out to be an addict. He got blamed for his
roommate's crimes and then had a relapse of his mental illness and
had to be hospitalized. His possessions, including a camera were
stolen. It was six months before his mental illness stabilized
8. There should be increased government subsidies for housing for
single parents and disabled people. That would help prevent crime.
9. Low cost apartment blocks are not the answer. Two or more
apartments in every middle class apartment block should be
subsidized anonymously, so the poor can live among them without
segregation, and keep their dignity. Too many new expensive
apartment blocks are being built. Or put it other way: Make it
possible for poor people to live in them anonymously.
10. The Chilliwack Restorative Justice and Youth Diversion
Association prevents criminal careers, and nips them in the bud.
11. The Ruth and Naomi Mission daily evening meal has been a strong
support to the poor and has rescued many from drugs and borderline
12. Our outstanding Detox ward at Chilliwack General Hospital was
closed three years ago. The fine head nurse was transferred into
other supervisory work so her expertise has been wasted since.
13. Community work is very underfunded. Sending addicts to a distant
hospital is ridiculously underfunded. The addicted person doesn't
have the emotional means to get there on his own.
14. The volunteers working with federal prisoners on Rowat Avenue,
Chilliwack are outstanding. They give moral support to prisoners
doing work on day passes in the community.
15. It is not massive distant prisons that we need, but support for
small community programs.
The government should give more support to all of the above.
Where will funds come from?
1. Much lower salaries for bureaucrats, fewer ivory tower people,
and more funding of direct service.
2. Transfer most supervisors and administrators to direct service in
every ministry, and then there will be funds to do what really needs
doing, and for what really rehabilitates marginal people.
The other way to get funds for good hands on programs is to:
3. Treat Senators as volunteers without a salary. They get OAS like
all people over 65, and most elderly retirees are active volunteers
without any pay. None of our private and public service groups would
function without the vast amount of work done by volunteers.
4. All the funding Senators need is a modest travel allowance and
modest accommodation while attending Senate appointed committee
meetings and projects.
5. The senate should not be abolished but expenditures should be
Housing is too expensive for the poor. Many more would be homeless
if they didn't double up to crowd many into tiny apartments. Having
overcrowding results in lowering of safety standards. There should
be increased government subsidies for housing. That would help
apartment blocks are not the answer. Two or more apartments in every
middle class apartment block should be subsidized anonymously, so
the poor can live among them without segregation, and keep their
dignity. Too many new expensive apartment blocks are being built. Or
put it other way: Make it possible for poor people to live in them
Copyright (c) 2013 The Valley Voice