Camp next to Victoria courthouse remains packed with tents

B.C. a destination for down and out

Premier Christy Clark, Housing Minister Rich Coleman say people are free to come to B.C. and use shelters

News that the Saskatchewan government gave two young men one-way bus passes to B.C. is the latest sign that B.C. is more than ever the destination of choice for out-of-province homeless people.

Housing Minister Rich Coleman shrugged off a report from Saskatchewan that the pair were headed for Victoria, where the province is seeking a court order to wind down a ragged tent camp that sprang up last fall next to the downtown courthouse. The camp has attracted several people from out of province, as well as those who have camped in local parks for years.

“It’s a free country,” said Coleman, when asked if he had prevailed on other provincial governments to deal with their own cases rather than shipping them west.

He said B.C.’s budget for shelters is up about 20 per cent this winter as the annual winter migration of down-and-out people to the province’s mildest climate has swelled. Some of the extra arrivals are coming from Alberta, where the economy has suffered with the downturn in oil and gas prices.

Saskatchewan social services minister Donna Harpauer issued a statement Wednesday that said front-line social workers are being reminded that clients should have a plan in place “before they are given bus tickets to destinations away.”

Premier Christy Clark said one of the two is described as mentally ill, and taking them in is the Canadian thing to do.

“I don’t know very much about them, but I hope that wherever they are, they are able to get the care that they need,” Clark said. “And if they decide to come to British Columbia, we’re going to support them in that.”

 

Just Posted

‘More animals could have a chance:’ Victoria Humane Society in desperate need of a home

Animal rescue currently has 163 animals in foster and volunteer homes

Free-B Film Festival celebrates 20th anniversary

Head to Victoria’s Beacon Hill Park to see some family favourites on the big screen

Central Saanich accused of not following Climate Emergency declaration with urgent action

Motion to research climate response options and costs rejected then rescheduled in tense meeting

Join North Saanich invasives removal and experience three key benefits

Friends of North Saanich Parks says July 27 clear-up will be rewarding as well as green

Esquimalt gives six-storey rental complex the green light

A new apartment building is set to go up on Admirals Road

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Most Read