Thursday, February 17, 2011

Victoria Mayor's home vandalised, over insensitivity to homelessness

By Dirk Meissner The Canadian Press November 5, 2010, in Toronto Star, February 17, 2011 
VICTORIA—Victoria’s mayor says he’s saddened and disappointed that his home became the target of vandals trying to make a point about homelessness.
Mayor Dean Fortin issued a statement Friday after discovering his home and car had been vandalized with spray paint.
“This incident does nothing to help us solve homelessness in our community,” Fortin said in the statement.
Victoria police were not confirming reports that the incident is linked to actions by unidentified homeless activists, but a letter from those taking responsibility for the vandalism was sent to city hall.
The unsigned letter said “militants” are fighting back after the city “declared war on the poor.”
Fortin was at home with his wife and two young daughters when he discovered a window on his car had been broken and the vehicle and the house had been spray painted.
The letter states the vandals spray painted PG 72 at Fortin’s home to refer to the city area Pandora Green, which is frequented by homeless people, and the recent closure of 72 city shelter beds.
The letter also states the vandals spray painted the letters A, C, A, B, short for All Cops Are Bastards, on the mayor’s car.
The letter states Fortin is responsible for recent City of Victoria bylaws that prevent permanent camping in the Pandora Green neighbourhood, which is near the city’s major homeless facility.
It states the vandalism at Fortin’s home was meant to leave him with a feeling of “shattered middleclass peace.”
It also accuses the police and bylaw officers of brutalizing homeless people.
“If [expletive] Fortin whines about the ‘violence’ inflicted upon his property, we’ll counter that he should instead reflect upon the fact that his own policies inflict violence and hardship on Victoria’s street community every day,” the letter stated.
I never thought or believed that, in Victoria, British Columbia, one of the most treasured enclaves of the retired in Canada, the mayor would have his car and home vandalized by protesters pushing back against what they perceive as "anti-homeless" policies and approaches.
How different this approach is from that of Calgary (see, February 15, 2011).
And how sad, that this issue has not become a national issue in the forthcoming federal election.
Perhaps, with enough conscious-raising, it will, and it will leave the current Harper neo-cons bare, without clothes,  a la "the emperor has no clothes" because they have no policy or interest in the issue.

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