Of Choices and Consequences

So, when the City of Abbotsford descended upon the homeless camp on Gladys Avenue, began erecting the fence and, backed by the presence of the Abbotsford police, coerced the homeless to move or lose their belongings where did letter writer C. Howard think the homeless would go – Saskatchewan?

After more than a decade of wasted time, resources and taxpayer dollars chasing the homeless from point to point to point to point [and so on and so on] around Abbotsford, one would have hoped that city hall and citizens would have realized that people don’t cease to exist when you displace them; that forcing people to move from HERE simply forces them to move THERE.

Unfortunately C. Howard’s letter reflects the fact that when it comes to homelessness [and so many other issues] the words of Samuel Longhorne Clemens are truer than ever “It ain’t what we don’t know, it’s what we know for sure – that ain’t so – that’s the problem.”

”The Supreme Court ruled in favour of the City of Abbotsford…….”

What is so is that BC Supreme Court chief justice Christopher Hinkson ruled in favour of the plaintiffs – the homeless in Abbotsford – and against the defendants – the City of Abbotsford; ruling that being homeless did not strip Canadians of their rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Canadians, as in Canada the country we live in. Although apparently C. Howard believes BC should secede from Canada and become its own country, since as long as BC is a province of Canada, Canadians from elsewhere in Canada, such as the province of Saskatchewan, have the right to move to BC.

Far easier to point fingers and denounce the BC government because they acted in the manner prescribed by law rather than for C. Howard to travel to Regina Saskatchewan to castigate Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall, the person responsible for Saskatchewan residents being placed on buses and sent to BC.

BC, a province their Canadian citizenship entitles them to reside in, a province where the Chief Justice of the provincial Supreme Court ruled that citizens who are homeless retain their rights as Canadians.

Even that bastion of wilful denial, Abbotsford city hall, acknowledged the chief justice ruled against the City of Abbotsford.

Then the mayor and council promptly began scrambling to circumvent the judge’s ruling, with the cost to Abbotsford’s taxpayers obviously being no issue for mayor and council. Business as usual for Abbotsford which has no money to address or resolve homelessness, but unlimited funds when it comes to avoiding dealing with homelessness sweeping the homeless under the rug and out of sight


The reason that homelessness, mental illness and substance use are the problem they have grown into is that we have chosen not to follow the course of action demonstrated to effectively address the issues that comprise homelessness and reduce the number of homeless. Instead we continue to pursue the actions and behaviours that facts show to not only be totally ineffective; actions and behaviours the facts show allow homelessness to grow.

Howard moans about being responsible for the homelessness, mental illness and substance use issues [problems, challenges, mess 1], lamenting “why us?”

Setting aside the question of what kind of society we want to live in, ignoring that the measure of a society is the way it treats its most vulnerable citizens and disregarding the ethical/spiritual questions associated with looking after your brothers and sisters……..

….. we are responsible because our irresponsible behaviour and wilful denial created the current state of homelessness in Abbotsford, BC and Canada.

Howard’s letter, in conjunction with the actions of Abbotsford’s mayor, council and the provincial government, makes it clear that facing reality, behaving in the manner of responsible adults and doing what is necessary – not what we want to do or choose to believe is needed – is not likely to happen anytime soon.

Choosing to dwell in wilful denial leaves people with eyes that do not see and thus cannot are perceive, with ears that do not hear and in not hearing unable to understand.

Leaving Abbotsford, BC and Canada mired and sinking in the consequences of our own foolish senselessness.



  1. When an issue involves people, addressing the issue is not going to be neat and tidy; when people are a major factor on both sides of the issue the messiness factor will increase exponentially.Tao of James

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