Gregor Robertson responds to lawsuit against city: "Being homeless is not a crime"

Comments9

Vancouver's mayor has responded to a constitutional challenge filed by a formerly homeless Vancouver man against city restrictions against sleeping outside. Here is Gregor Robertson's statement:

Today a lawsuit was apparently filed against the City regarding portions of the City’s Street and Traffic Bylaw, Parks Control Bylaw, and City Land Use Regulation. Although I have not seen the lawsuit and cannot comment on the specifics of the case, I want to address a number of issues.

Being homeless is not a crime. I have asked the City Manager and Chief of Police, once they have reviewed the details of the lawsuit, to provide me with current information on bylaw tickets issued to people who may be homeless. The City is committed to ensuring that our bylaws are enforced appropriately and are not punishing those who are homeless.

Our goal with all bylaws is to strike a balance, and they should not be punitive towards vulnerable citizens. This is why I personally made it a priority when first elected to eliminate the previous administration’s Project Civil City. We want to strike a balance between helping and protecting our most vulnerable citizens while ensuring all members of the public can fairly use and access our public spaces. We will await the outcome of the court process, and if there are adjustments that need to be made, we will do so.

Comments (9) Add New Comment
Rand Chatterjee
THEN SIMPLY REPEAL THE LAW.

"Striking a Balance" equals retaining police discretion, which means differential aka discriminatory application of the law. This is no picnic for officers on patrol, let alone for the general public wherever they may choose to sit, squat, picket, or otherwise protest, let alone be forced by circumstance to seek shelter.

The rule of law, let alone public morality, requires a political decision, where none has been made here. We still live in King Sam's UnCivil City, and needs laws AND policy to make it less so.
11
6
Rating: +5
burnsian
It seems that everyone is intimately familiar with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

It would be nice if we had a coresponding document entitled the Charter of Duties and Responsibilities, which a functioning adult citizen of Canada should be required to demonstrate in order to lay claim to the protections in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The ability to file a tax return, obtain shelter, clothing and food should be among those responsibilities.

If one cannot adequately take care of one's self, one should then become a ward of the state. As a ward, one would receive the attention, training and support necessary until one is able to demonstrate those duties and responsibilities.

Laws like this one that the City finds itself defending are generally enacted so that an intervention can take place when people fall through the cracks. On the face of it, it looks harsh. It's not; however, in the absence of a Charter of Duties and Responsibilities this is the only way to address someone who is incapable of taking care of themselves.
11
10
Rating: +1
Actually
What is a crime is that a rich G7 country like this one has so many men, women, and children or youths being homeless.
8
10
Rating: -2
Michael Castanaveras
Address drug addiction and mental health issues....poverty and homelessness will evaporate. It's up to the province and the feds to deal with those issues though. They won't, so the city is saddled with the resulting costs, economic, social, and otherwise.
10
18
Rating: -8
prenup
The homeless problem in our city will never go away until people give a shit about it. As long as its swept under the cities rug known as the DTES, and not in the back yard of the majority of voters it will never be an issue politicians do or do not get elected on.

On a side note research needs to go into finding out who a CANT actually help themselfs, and tell the rest to get a job and go fck themselfs. Our city enables homelessness.
8
13
Rating: -5
romham
@burnsian,
It is utterly outrageous, callous and frankly clueless to suggest that because a person is unable to attend to these things to your satisfaction because of the deep seated structural and institutional barriers which have been placed in front of them and which are replicated time and again in every ministry, at every turn, and buttressed by ineffective governmental policies, that that person should not have the right to protections under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. How ridiculous. If it wasn't so absolutely cruel it would be laughable.
11
7
Rating: +4
nednerb
burnsian, "It would be nice if we had a coresponding document entitled the Charter of Duties and Responsibilities, which a functioning adult citizen of Canada should be required to demonstrate in order to lay claim to the protections in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The ability to file a tax return, obtain shelter, clothing and food should be among those responsibilities."

This is kind of like a fascist pipe dream. Actually, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms exists JUST SO people will not be considered to only be privileged by shelter, clothing, and food if they are "responsible" to a role in an ideological economy. THAT idea of yours is AGAINST the Rights and Freedoms and people like you but with more power to make these kinds of bylaws and "Responsibility" checks are the reason the Charter of Rights and Freedoms MUST BE SPELLED OUT SO DIRECTLY as to un-complicate the idea of "social welfare."

Some people do not support themselves but they have a right to exist. I will not condone euthanasia of the homeless or autistic to suit an economic hegemony of being "responsible for yourself."
11
11
Rating: 0
OccupyMedic
Hmmm, perhaps he's "awaiting the outcome of the court process, and if there are adjustments that need to be made, he will do so." Because he's already facing a Constitutional Challenge from Occupy Vancouver. The same law was used to evict us from the VAG, and the squad of riot cops ensured we didn't re-convene in Grandview park... The juice hippie continues to play 1% politics with public space.... Gotta keep those condo values shored up....
10
9
Rating: +1
Tim Horton
every poverty problem is a direct result of using a currency/credit based system. it used to be a person could build his own cabin and rase his own family in the country (the simple life). some people say "O we all can't do that" (WO..But it somehow seems appropriate that we all come down out of the hills and pay a cool half million for a house,obviously thats not going to happen). the government knows not everone can afford a house, just like we all can't be dentists. If we are all rich we all work, If we are all poor we all work, but when you separated the two one becomes a slave. thus the birth of currency by controling authority's of our past. they never had the intention of everyone providing for themselves without government programs. without the poor paying the middle class for services then the middle class can't pay the rich.... or atleast they work much harder and someone has to go down. if i'm rich why would i work for you? you would then be forced to work for yourself. The system is engineerd to make poor people, without them there is no up. without poor people the classy have no-one to step on and feel good about themselves, and the greedy have no-one to control. the system is not just broken in places it is entirely made broken and will never work for the defense of the poor. more and more laws are being made to cost you money that you don't have. The system ecourages borrowing. (thats stupid) why should i borrow from you for my living? Why should i pay your morgage under the guise that im providing for myself? Where did canada get its land from? seems to my they murdered a bunch of natives for it. then years later they say o pardon me im sorry here have a peice of candy. Wake up- your are being institutionaly enslaved.
6
7
Rating: -1
Add new comment
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.