To boldly go where few have gone before.
That would be a good motto for a prospector, a dump salvager or anyone who decides to voice an opinion on some of the many social issues going on these days. I believe there really is a silent majority who are afraid to speak out because of the backlash from others. That in and of itself is a form of verbal bullying people should try to avoid.
So, now I am going to give some thoughts about the day shelter. First off, the actions or inaction of the city, the GNWT and the federal government, has gone a long way to creating this problem by sidelining it for decades. I think that is basically a fair statement. So now would be a good time for them to own up to their responsibility and support some constructive solutions. Not just with words but with actions.
Next, when an issue like this comes up, people tend to become so polarized in their views and righteous indignation, sometimes they don’t even hear or consider what the other side is saying or talking about. They just dismiss them or insinuate that they and their views are irrelevant. In truth, both sides have a justifiable argument and if you are demanding compassion should be shown to some at the expense of others, then your compassion is limited. To my mind, compassion should be shown to all.
It is true that some solutions can be implemented that would lessen or mitigate the concerns and the government is even suggesting a few. However, the various levels of government suffer from credibility issues. I remember years ago, when a hot issue was being discussed at the Miners Mess, an old timer said something to the effect “Ah yes the government promises a lot when they want something from you, but once they get it, they forget all those promises.” This does seem to happen.
If the government can mitigate things at the new location, why didn’t they at the last one, or the one before that? So, someone or some group has to monitor the situation to ensure the various levels actually do what they are talking about.
Winter is fast approaching, and the government is in a rush. One they helped to create as they seem to lurch from one proposal to another. Not the best way to come up with good solutions to longstanding problems. People need to be housed and they need places to get in out of the cold and wet. It becomes much more than a matter of comfort but also a matter of survival. I notice that some are camping out in the bush or green spaces and they may have a tarp or tent over their heads but no heat, bathroom facilities or many comforts.
I would argue that this is another crisis the various levels of government are quietly ignoring. The city needs more public washrooms available to people and I have suggested this before but a good wall tent with a floor and a wood stove or an oil heater, is a whole lot better than a tent set up on the cold ground. It is not a permanent solution, but a temporary fix while the city and GNWT work on more permanent solutions.
Governments tend to want to do big fancy projects when sometimes smaller is better and more workable. Why not two or three smaller drop-in day shelters, even if they are temporary?
Someone on Facebook suggested the foyer of the Great Hall of the Legislative Assembly would make an interesting temporary day shelter. The politicians would come face to face with some of the problems and solutions would be made pretty quickly.
Remember: try to always live life with compassion for all.