FOULDS: Of weather and social justice warriors

Musings on a soggy July day:

I’d wager man-made climate change is real and I accept we have contributed to much of the results: more intense storms, widespread wildfires, flooding and the like.

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But it might be too soon to call anything “the new normal.”

As residents of the B.C. Interior, Kamloopsians are in the unique position to be part of what many have called “the new normal” as it pertains to wildfire season. Record-breaking wildfire summers of 2018 and 2017 left many square kilometres charred, countless buildings razed and too many people displaced.

And, in Kamloops, we coughed our way through two consecutive summers as the sunshine barely penetrated the smoke.

As the skies cleared in the fall of last year, we were told to adapt to this “new normal,” that such fiery and smoky summers would become the norm, not the exception. That may yet prove to be true, but I wouldn’t wager on it.

Two seasons do not a climate make and, based on this year, I’d say the odds are in my favour.

Yes, I am aware that the disastrous wildfires of 2003 did not ignite until August, so anything can happen this summer. But we should also be aware that, just three years ago, conditions were agreeable enough that we enjoyed an entire summer with nary a campfire ban.

Weather does seem to be mixed up this year: a balmy January, followed by the 15th-coldest February on record, followed by a drier than usual May and June, followed now by a wetter than normal July. Don’t be surprised if it snows in late August. The only new normal seems to be the weather’s abnormality.

When the powers-that-be decide on an approach to help those with addiction and mental-health issues, and that approach does not involve the tried-and-failed “war-on” mentality, there will be problems emanating from that approach.

So it is that we have some business owners in the downtown core asking those powers-that-be to help clean up the area.

The area in question is around Seymour and Sixth, where the Crossroads Inn stands. Crossroads has long been home to those struggling with the above afflictions and, in recent years, has also become the South Shore stop for Interior Health’s mobile supervised drug-use RV.

Supervising people while they use drugs, and using the site as an opportunity to counsel and convince these people to seek help, is infinitely preferable to the failed approach of criminalizing what is clearly a health issue.

However, business owners also have rights and deserve to be heard, as does Coun. Bill Sarai, who has suggested moving the supervised drug-use RV to the hospital. Predictably, the concerns of those business owners, and Sarai’s stance, prompted social justice warriors online to launch attacks.

To some, to even hint at criticizing the behaviour of those who use the various social services in Kamloops is akin to a crime.

Yes, people need help and measures need to be taken to save lives. But that should not be delivered hand in hand with open drug use, discarded needles, condoms and more, increased property crime and vandalism and fear that generates in those unfortunate enough to live and work in the area.

On a related note, news that The Mustard Seed New Life Community Kamloops is closing its 17 recovery beds for men is bad, indeed. Temporary or not, losing that many beds for men who wish to get clean is sad news for the many in Kamloops fighting addiction and needing the support.

Regardless of how much money is required to operate those 17 recovery beds for men needing sober and supporting living, government needs to realize it will spend multiple times that amount on those 17 men in other areas of social services with no such services available.

Funding that and other non-profits is cheaper in the long run — and will more quickly turn around lives.

© Kamloops This Week


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