Survival is Not a Crime, 2022
On Monday, May 30, 2022, Ward 10 Councilor Mike McCann was scheduled to present a motion to the Barrie City Council that appeared to serve only one purpose; to promote a Dickensian-like philosophy of using the police or private security to remove the poor and downtrodden from being seen by wealthy downtown patrons.
Fortunately, Keenan Aylwin, Councilor for Ward 2, and Robert Thomson, Councilor for Ward 5, saw the motion as an attack on our most vulnerable residents. So, they decided instead to turn the action into a political vehicle that they could use to drive through ideas that would help fix or at least lessen the social problems that have been created by all of us and worsened by the pandemic.
This motion by McCann appears to have been sparked by concerns regarding the termination of a federal program that has housed the homeless in hotels during the COVID-19 pandemic. As those doors close, and as new options are not readily available, the number of people subsisting on the streets will increase considerably, especially in the downtown core. Barrie hotels are said to be housing about 75 people under this program.
The proposed motion was contested by about 75 concerned residents, both outside of City Hall and inside Council Chambers, through a protest organized by the Simcoe Barrie Bethune Club. It was also virtually voted down by Council before it could even be heard.
The message of those involved was loud and clear, that Survival is Not a Crime.
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