Thursday, June 29, 2006

Spare Change

Jane Pitfield is a straight-shooting, plain-talking woman, with a reputation as one of the more level-headed members of Toronto City Council. Which is why she hasn't got a hope in hell of unseating Mayor David Miller in November.

Especially when she makes eminently sensible suggestions such as this:

Toronto council yesterday approved mayoral candidate Jane Pitfield's controversial proposal to ask city bureaucrats to look into the feasibility of a ban on panhandling, which advocates for the homeless warned will contribute to a climate of hate.

"I'm furious," said Cathy Crowe, who co-founded the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee, an activist group on homelessness. "It sends out a message at the beginning of summer . . . then you get nasty articles [in the media] and hate" against homeless people, she said.

Ms. Pitfield, councillor for Don Valley West, floated the ban idea in April, after Councillor Michael Thompson (Scarborough Centre) said he had been assaulted by a panhandler in Nathan Phillips Square.

Ms. Pitfield's motion, which passed 25-11 supported by mostly right-leaning and centrist councillors, asks city staff to report on ways to discourage panhandling. It also asks the city solicitor to look into "the possibility of a 'quality of life' bylaw that would include a provision that 'no person can impede any other person's reasonable enjoyment of day-to-day activities through panhandling.' "

The true measure of hatred towards homeless people, Ms. Crowe, is not expressed through proposals to make panhandling illegal. It is expressed by supposedly compassionate policies that let these people slowly self-destruct with the full encouragement of the state.

Letting the mentally ill who can't take care of themselves fall victim to their delusions.

Defending their right to freeze in the streets instead of allowing police to force them into a warm shelter for the night.

Keeping severe alcoholics dependent by offering free wine at shelters.

Offering heroin addicts so-called safe injection sites.

And so on, and so forth.

The people who profess to defend the homeless vagrants the most are the ones who care for them the least. For all their talk about addressing "root problems," they fight any serious proposals to do so.

Because then they couldn't be seen to care about their plight. The homeless are just another prop for them to demonstrate their moral superiority.

The poor we will always have with us. Unfortunately, we will also have their "advocates."

Source: Globe and Mail