Ruling against Regina Park camp represents long-term loss for community

Friday’s court ruling against the homeless camp in Regina Park is a short-sighted victory for law-and-order types, a long-term loss for everybody else.

More than 100 homeless individuals are facing an uncertain future after Justice Ward Branch granted the District of Saanich and the Province of British Columbia an injunction against the homeless camp (Camp Namegans) that had popped up in Regina Park in spring of this year.

Under the terms of the ruling, the residents had until Tuesday, Sept. 11, 7 p.m. to depart the camp, and as of this writing, it is not clear how many followed the orders though it is expected all will be gone by today.

You don’t have to buy the rhetoric of camp leaders (‘death sentence’) to appreciate the harshness of the ruling. By giving residents mere days to depart the site, the ruling shows little sympathy for the practical realities of dissolving of what has become a genuine community, and sends a clear message to other tent cities around the province: time to pack up, you are not wanted here. This marks a major change in the climate when held up against previous court rulings that showed greater sensitivity.

To be absolutely clear: this critique neither questions the legitimacy of the legal process that led to the decision, nor should it appear as an endorsement of the various bylaw violations that the camp represented. Saanich and the province have an obligation to enforce public order and safety, a theory which their legal representatives exploited in their favour. It is also one thing to muse about homelessness in the abstract, another thing to live next to a homeless camp for several months.

But supporters of Friday’s ruling should not be so quick to celebrate. The camp (as it always would be) might be a thing of the past, but the people who stayed in Regina Park and the issues that led them there won’t disappear so quickly, with no immediate recourse on the horizon.

Unless authorities launch a massive counter-strike against the specific shortage of affordable housing and the more general systemic inequities in our society that cause this shortage, tent cities will not remain a temporary phenomena. They will be the norm, and court rulings like Friday’s merely pushes the problem elsewhere. Regina Park, simply put, can be anywhere and everywhere, and we all pay for it one way or another.

Just Posted

Colwood mayor pitches ferry as commuter alternative

Mayor Rob Martin says different modes of transportation need to be considered

Ricketer Scale: What cures you can kill you

Popping pills for your ‘condition’

Kelly Ellard’s boyfriend has statutory release revoked

Darwin Duane Dorozan had several parole infractions that found him ‘unmanageable’

West Shore RCMP seizes more than $16,000 worth of drugs

Suspected cocaine, pills and cash seized from a Greater Victoria home

Bouquet sales support big dreams in Greater Victoria

Country Grocer features holiday bouquets for Help Fill a Dream

Unique technology gives children with special needs more independent play

UVic’s CanAssist refined seven prototypes aided by $1.5M government contribution

Greater Victoria holiday craft fair roundup for Nov. 16 to 18

Check off all of the items on your shopping list at these great events

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 14

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Canada’s health system commendable overall but barriers to care remain: UN

The United Nations says Canada’s health care system is “commendable” overall but vulnerable groups still face barriers to quality care.

Doctor’s note shouldn’t be required to prove you’re sick: poll

70% of Canadians oppose allowing employers to make you get a sick note

Port Alberni convenience store robbed

Police still searching for suspect

German-born B.C. man warns against a ‘yes’ vote on proportional representation

Agassiz realtor Freddy Marks says PR in his home country shows party elites can never be voted out

Fashion Fridays: 5 coats you need this winter!

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Saskatchewan college honours memory of Humboldt Broncos coach

Darcy Haugan wore jersey No. 22 when he was a star player with the Briercrest College Clippers

Most Read