LETTER: Fletcher provokes thought but is not always right

Re: B.C. promotes poverty and crime, Sept. 7, Saanich News

Re: B.C. promotes poverty and crime, Sept. 7, Saanich News

Black Press readers around the province should appreciate Tom Fletcher’s column because he consistently rankles our sensibilities and forces us to think about why that is.  For myself, a regular reader of the Saanich News, one of my irritations comes from the extreme position Fletcher promotes—the belief that each individual is responsible for his or her own destiny and that the negative effects of government’s social policies, a changing economy, racism, sexism, and even predilections influenced by genetics are only lame excuses for personal failures.

A second source of my irritation comes from Fletcher’s cynical tone that is devoid of compassion for those who are negatively affected by the many forces beyond their control. Reading his critical musings in this column about the BC government’s investment in social housing for the homeless, and the federal government’s approval of safe injection sites for addicts, suggests to me that Fletcher is a proud self-made man and expects that every individual can be successful if determined to be so.  But Fletcher is wrong.

That Fletcher’s analysis is not based on any depth of knowledge also irritates me. History, literature, philosophy, and both the social and physical sciences have provided us with over 3,000 years of evidence that those societies that function well and prosper are those that provide support for all of their citizens.    This vision may not yet be completely realized in any nation but when governments do make decisions based on compassion, that society and all of its citizens are better for it. Investing in social housing for the homeless, and in safe injection sites for addicts are prime examples of social policy that make our society better.

Thank you, Mr. Fletcher, for forcing me to think!

Starla AndersonSaanich