No one can dispute that for a lot of reasons we have homeless needs in Canada that must be addressed. Some of these needs are in a crisis situation with people spending the winter in unheated tents.
This is a Canadian problem and Canada must take over this responsibility from municipalities and the provinces to guarantee equality in the management of the situation. The financial burden should be shared by all Canadians and not just areas that attract more homeless. It’s a long-term problem but the Canadian government has the knowledge, resources, and budget to address the immediate situation of people living in tents during life-threatening weather conditions.
Example: In 2015/16, in a 118 day period Canada accepted and housed over 26,000 Syrian refugees using community volunteers, dedicated rental housing and temporary housing on military bases.
Using unused military barracks and tents is not ideal, but it is certainly better than staying in unheated tents during the winter months. People will say that a military tent or large room barracks are not acceptable, but that is where we house our military.
In a matter of days I observed a Syrian refugee tent city erected at the Meaford, Ontario military base and saw new condition tents in orderly rows, all were heated, had hydro, telephone, internet, and security staff. The sites had washroom/shower facilities, cafeterias, and counseling/medical care.
If there was a political will this could happen very quickly and would alleviate much of the immediate housing concern while the government worked on a more permanent solution.
If you agree with some of these thoughts please contact your municipal, provincial, and Canadian representatives and demand immediate action.
- Municipal Mayor and Council: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Provincial MLA John Horgan: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Federal MP Randall Garrison: Randall.Garrison@parl.gc.ca
We have a serious situation and maybe it’s time to help Canadians first and postpone our billions of aid to other countries.