Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Concentration camp?

Good thing I don't drink coffee while I read the paper in the morning, otherwise I would have spit it all over page 3 of today's Edmonton Sun.

First some background:
Alberta has a pretty severe shortage of cheap rental housing right now. This is the result of a massive influx of people coming to Alberta for work. This has done two things, it has forced some people who were already here out of their rental accommodations because they can no longer afford the rising rents, and others coming here without any place to stay with the hope of getting work.

A few of these people started to congregate in an empty government owned taxpayer-owned lot in Edmonton earlier this spring, setting up temporary tents. Looking like a great idea, some of Edmonton's habitually homeless also set up tents, leaving shelter beds and the watchful (and helpful) eyes of shelter staff behind.

The "tent city" has now become a haven for prostitution, drug dealing, violence, theft and gang activity. It was well described in an Edmonton Journal article by Elise Stolte (now behind subscription wall). This is all while beds in shelters go empty.

Now that it has gone from a temporary free-camping ground into a gang-controlled slum, the provincial and civic governments are taking action, by putting up security fences, posting security guards 24-7, and registering campers.

Yet tent-city resident "Al Big," is quoted in today's Edmonton Sun as saying, "I'm tired of the government's rules and the society, that's why I'm here. It's going to look like a concentration camp. They might as well give us uniforms."

Another resident "Marvin (Smurf) Ross" said tent-city is going to "look like a jail."

While I still feel sorry for some of the residents who are legitimately trying to find other accommodations, it's ungrateful squatters on taxpayer-owned property like "Al Big" and "Marvin (Smurf) Ross" who make it tough for governments not to go in there with hoses and paddy wagons.

Not to mention the fact that by suggesting his free camping ground getting security fences is like a concentration camp, disrespects all those who actually were in concentration camps.

1 comment:

NB taxpayer said...

I'm surprised that an Alberta tent-city isn't filled with diploma toting maritimers looking for work. You know, kind of like an Apprentice tent-city accept the Donald doesn't come to visit and there are no beautiful female execs.

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