To the editor,
Winter is coming. The days grow shorter; the nights grow longer. And there is a group of humans, just like you, me, and our neighbours, living in tents in downtown Nanaimo for all the see. And, to be frank, they are being denied their human rights by the very government that should be protecting those rights.
Yes, these humans may have issues (but who among us doesn’t?); they may have sketchy pasts (don’t we all have at least part of our past others would deem sketchy?); they may have committed a crime or several (haven’t we all knowingly broke the law at least once?), but I don’t see any of that matters at this point. The B.C. government denied Discontent City – or Faithful City, as I prefer to call it – access to clean water for two months. The RCMP treat the residents’ tents – their homes – with a complete lack of respect as though the population of Faithful City is already guilty – so much for innocent until proven otherwise, eh? The Supreme Court of B.C. wants them off the property, as do the current powers-that-be at Nanaimo city hall.
I, personally, think all levels of our government(s) need to smarten up and take genuine, visible action to help, but they can’t because of over-dressed layers of bureaucratic red-tape in their way. I’m not saying that they don’t want to help, or that our government(s) don’t care about these humans; I’m saying that they can’t help in as timely a fashion as these humans need.
It’s my opinion that while our elected officials slog through restrictive policies of their own creation (some of which are perfectly sensible and understandable), we – the humans of Nanaimo – need to take a stand and uphold the very values, the Canadian values, under which we were raised. These humans are just like you, me, and every other human on Earth need our help now not months from now.
So, with that humanitarian, that Canadian, view in mind, I simply ask that my you, my fellow humans of Nanaimo, help out in whatever way you can. I realize that many of you have already helped, in your own way when you can, and that is marvellous, but more is needed. I ask that you go through your things and find unused, unneeded, or extra items.
There are, of course, items that are, or will be, of more use than others. So here is a brief, and certainly not exhaustive, list of such items: Tarps, tents, propane tanks, lighters, food, water, toilet paper, tooth brushes and paste, over the counter medicines of all varieties, antibiotics, totes, hats/tuques, clean and warm clothes, clean and warm blankets, food, water, pallets, rope, tools, flashlights, batteries, lamps, locks/keys, gloves, scarves, air mattresses, pillows, water repellents/sealants, sanitizers, etc.
I strongly urge you to come see me at Faithful City and help out, drop off what you can spare, what you feel comfortable parting with. That is all I ask. It is my belief that sometimes all we humans need is love so please open your hearts to these humans in our backyards, streets, and in the city that in which we live; they live here, too.
Gareth Boyce, Nanaimo
The views and opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the writer and do not reflect the views of Black Press or the Nanaimo News Bulletin. If you have a different view, we encourage you to write to us or contribute to the discussion below.