[Hpn] Letter to Toronto Star - Tent City Eviction

Graeme Bacque gbacque@colosseum.com
Wed, 25 Sep 2002 16:50:11 -0700

319 DUNDAS ST. E. #408
PH. (416) 368-3366 FAX: (416) 368-5984
E-MAIL: gbacque@colosseum.com

September 25, 2002

To the Editor:

I was present outside the Tent City site on Tuesday morning (Sept. 24) and
witnessed the shocking spectacle of bulldozers and other heavy demolition
equipment being escorted onto the land by Toronto police and hired security
guards, apparently for the purpose of demolishing the homes that more than
120 people had just been forced out of.

Is this to be the official ‘solution’ to the homelessness crisis, to push
the victims from sight in this fashion that they might quietly die out of
the public’s view rather than be visible to money-laden tourists and
developers? What I witnessed yesterday was an atrocity that one would expect
to see only in a dictatorship as opposed to one of the wealthiest cities in
the world.

Our various levels of government are constantly crying poverty when the
subject of creating housing comes up, yet they always seem to be able to
find the money to fund massive police operations of this kind.  I have to
wonder why so few people are prepared to question such an obvious double
standard. Our priorities as a society have become completely twisted.

Home Depot has been using the rhetoric of ‘protecting peoples’ health and
safety’ to justify this action. Yet this company failed to consider the fact
that forcibly scattering a community of people to fend for themselves on our
cold streets or to face disease and violence in our overcrowded shelter
system likely poses a far graver threat to their safety and well-being than
did their unsanctioned tenancy on that piece of land.

It will be interesting – and undoubtedly heartbreaking - to see just how
many of the former Tent City residents are still among us when next spring
rolls around. I have the feeling that a terrible winter lies ahead for
homeless people in this city. Home Depot has blood on its hands and the City
of Toronto has functioned in the role of its willing accessory.

Sincerely yours,

Graeme F. Bacque
Toronto, Ontario