Another glorious weekend ahead of us here, with the perfect temperatures of a balmy 70F, which in my eyes, is better than any of the 90s (sounds better when you use the Imperical system), because you don't have to worry about wasting energy of A/C and/or fans, and can truly enjoy all that Mother Nature has to offer.
Something that has been an issue for me for some time now, basically since I opened my eyes and started listening to those actually affected by the housing crisis in the most visible ways, has been that of homelessness. Whether we choose to believe it or not, it is a serious issue in Regina, and we need to do something NOW to address this known problem, before it gets even worse. Step 1 is to open our eyes, and the City of Regina seems to want to do everything in their power to downplay the seriousness of this situation, in an apparent attempt to make the problem even worse, which in the end, helps their developer friends literally profit off of others' pains. I met one tremendous Social Activist over the last year and a half, that being Stella Rogers. Anyone that knew her, knew that she always, always had her heart in the right place. She had faced the severity of homelessness in a number of ways, and had experienced it in several cities. She had lived in Regina for some time, and I actually had the pleasure of meeting this fine lady during the Occupy Regina movement. Sadly, she had since relocated back to Vancouver, and recently passed on to the Heavenly Father.
For anyone that had been following that movement, you would be aware that I did not like the idea of what Occupy Regina was doing, that being what I saw only as what the media portrayed, and that being deliberately breaking bylaws to prove some apparent point. My eyes were closed to the realities of the situation here in Regina, and as such, I actually sided with the City of Regina saying that these people should be obeying by bylaws to demonstrate whatever message they wanted to get across. After having the courage to attend ONE of their meetings, after several invitiations to do just that, I must say I was blown away. These people were not the bums that the media made them look to be, they weren't the "get a job" crowd that some in our community only saw them as. They were real, living, breathing human beings, who had the courage to bring about an awareness campaign, and in that regard, the point of breaking the bylaws was that of civil disobedience. Since that day, I have never been the same. That was the inspiration for my Mayoral Campaign, and also for my steadfast approach at standing up against the ridiculous rule of our current City Council and their alleged decorum, which is unique to Regina in all of Canada.
Fast forward to the Mayor's "Housing Summit" and the RM's recent announcement for (in my opinion) a TRUE attempt at working towards a solution of this ever growing problem in our community. The Prairie Dog wrote up a very well written article, http://www.prairiedogmag.com/2013-05-30/lets-not-think-big/#comment-106493, and it addresses the issue directly. Without some great community activists like Stella Rogers, Patrick Smythe, or Dr. Marc Spooner, to name but a few, this issue would continue to be on the back burner, and Mayor Fougere would continue to pretend it's not a real issue, and continue to say it's not his problem. (Oh wait, I guess that last point is still true - he still uses that as a fall back excuse)
This article brings the crux of the problem right into the forefront. We need to change out approach and our attitude in this City and Province in order to truly affect change. We need to first recognize that we have a housing crisis, a serious one at that, AND we have a homelessness crisis, a VERY serious one at that. What's the way to bring this to the forefront? Tent cities? (Like Occupy Regina attempted to do?) Unfortunately, I think that seems to be the ONLY THING that the City of Regina will listen to, which applies severe PUBLIC PRESSURE.
It's sad that the City of Regina won't listen to the people who are actually facing the problem, and instead continue to cater to the developers who make billions off these exact problems, and actually profit by making these problems worse. Something needs to change Regina, and it's our attitudes. If the City of Regina doesn't want to recognize this is a serious problem, and the Council continues to pretend that they are actually DOING something to fix it, we the citizens are forced to take drastic actions, like the one I am doing, that being taking legal action against the City and other related parties.
Did I WANT to have it come to this point? Of course not! Did I do everything I've done over the past year and a half, specifically with the intent to sue the City? Of course not. BUT, after banging your head against the wall over and over again, there comes a time that you begin to realize that the only way to get through that brick wall is with a (metaphorical) sledgehammer. The lawsuit IS that (metaphorical) sledgehammer.
Stay tuned Regina - the City has until Saturday, June 8, 2013 to respond to my Notice of Civil Action.
Will they implement the actions I demand of them?
Time will only tell.
Notable Quote from the above article:
"You have an opportunity here in Regina and in Saskatchewan to get at this and fix it while it’s a million dollar problem before it’s a billion dollar problem”
My Two Cents:
I think there’s only one statement that needs to be made here. The City of Regina is all talk. This has been proven. The RM of Sherwood: Seem to want to walk the walk. As demonstrated by their MEGA PROJECT announcement this week. You can’t get a better real-world example of a situation where talk means nothing without action. I heard very little need for BS talk from the RM, and pretty much all action. I guess we will see who actually cares to address the affordable housing situation in Regina. So far, RM of Sherwood: 1 City of Regina: 0 (Hell the RM, in my opinion, deserves bonus points for not spending months upon months promising something and delivering nothing – like a certain other former mayoral candidate, now mayor)