To Councillor Jakobek: Regarding your proposal for dealing

Graeme Bacque (gbacque@idirect.com)
Sat, 09 Oct 1999 18:14:13 -0400


Graeme F. Bacque
319 Dundas St. E. #408
Toronto, Ontario M5A 2A2
V: (416) 368-3366 F: (416) 368-5984
E-mail: <gbacque@idirect.com>

October 9, 1999

Dear Councillor Jakobek,

     Your proposal for addressing the very serious issue of homelessness in 
Toronto has recently come to my attention.  It is with feelings that go way 
beyond alarm that I view your recommendations... in fact, my feelings run 
much closer to terror.

     I think it goes without saying that your proposal (at best) 
constitutes a very poor substitute indeed for those things homeless people 
are legitimately entitled to (as all of us are) such as decent housing and 
nutrition along with  an adequate income, a supportive community of peers 
and freedom and right to autonomy over one's own life, body, mind and spirit.

     Worse, what you are proposing brings back frightening resonances of a 
very dark period in human history that took place in parts of Europe 
beginning in the 1930's and which (at least we would have hoped) had been 
permanently halted as of the conclusion of World War II. Unfortunately, 
what you are suggesting implies that the City of Toronto is doomed to 
repeat history, through the purging, warehousing and punishment of the 
victims of one of the greatest social catastrophes this country has ever 
witnessed. Even worse is that it is a catastrophe brought on through the 
deliberate actions of politicians such as yourself,  in conjunction with 
your allies in the business sector.

     It has been said that those who fail to remember history are doomed to 
repeat it. What you are suggesting needs to be done in regards to 
homelessness brings a terrifying truth to these words. What you are 
proposing amounts to a human rights nightmare.

     I also view it as being much more than coincidence that the timing of 
any such scheme is apt to be precisely aligned with several pieces of 
legislation coming from the Province... namely, bills that will make it 
illegal to survive through panhandling or squeegeeing, will vastly expand 
the powers of the Mental Health Act and will increase enormously the scope 
of Harris's slave labor 'workfare' scheme. Taken in its entirety, this 
package of legislative changes (including what you are proposing) amounts 
to a blueprint for total social cleansing of the poor.and homeless.

     On this basis, it is incumbent upon you and all members of  Toronto 
Council to work with other levels of government, social  agencies/activists 
and homeless persons themselves to rapidly implement those measures that 
the homeless themselves have _repeatedly_ identified as solutions - such as 
permanent affordable housing, real work at a living wage (or adequate, 
secure income supports where this isn't possible) and relevant, _voluntary_ 
community resources. Any proposal to merely push the victims of the current 
disaster out of the public's view, rather than seriously attempting to 
rectify the disaster itself, is unacceptable and needs to be immediately 
abandoned by Council.

Sincerely yours,

Graeme Bacque
Toronto, Ontario

cc: Councillor Jack Layton, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, Toronto 
Disaster Relief Committee