Finding Our Way

Most of this was written several months ago but it has been occupying my mind of late. With recent events I think it is time I get it out of my head. Perhaps it’s another step in helping myself (and others) in finding our way.

This post will probably not make me popular with some folks, but please read it all the way through. This has been very difficult and conflicting for me to write. And it is still is more of a rant than a fully structured blog post.

As has been reported in the media, the London and Middlesex Health Unit is looking to distribute crack pipes in two of its locations. This is similar to a program currently in place that distributes free needles to intravenous drug uses.

I have no objection to this plan as long as it’s is fully implemented including offering these drug users alternates and ways to kick the habit. Over the long-term this sort of program does save money in the health sector. However you will never get someone to quit until they are ready to quit.

Many people have spoken out against this program, including business owners and residents in areas where high drug use and homeless / mental health issues seem to be concentrated. I think these business owners and residents should not be dismissed as being NIMBY. Many of these business owners and residents care about and want to help people in these circumstances. But if they are out of business because no customers are coming in, or feel uncomfortable stepping out of their homes, what should they do? Do we allow someone to commit a crime or be anti social just because of their income or health?

Many will say the businesses and residents should suck it up and help change the system. Most people will agree the system has to change, but the complexity’s involved mean that it is going to take time. What can be done in the mean time?
There will always be a small percentage of people who do not want help and will be anti social. How does it helped the community if a business moves away because of this issue. We all have equal rights, but do we have blind spots in some areas?

We see similar things in terms of mental health. We all know the current mental health system has many problems and far too many people are not getting the care they need. This can also be tied to the state of homelessness in our country.

There is also a shift needed in health care for people on low and fixed income. These folks are often shocked to see drug users obtaining needles for free where they have to pay out-of-pocket for needles and supplies for valid health issues like diabetes. Not having the ability to afford such items ultimately drives up health care costs. These concerns need to be addressed as well.

Helping those who need the help the most should not just be restricted to the most at risk. How do we bring all these elements together? How do we draw a line that all can agree and live with? There are no simple answers and it’s going to take all of us to come up with it.

 

Posted in Random Thoughts, Rants Tagged with: , ,

Letter to Council re: Kingsmills – Fanshawe

Here is a copy of a letter I am sending to the Mayor and all members of London CIty Council in regards to the Kingsmills – Fanshawe proposal for downtown. For more info see here or here.

 

I am a resident of London in Ward 7, work in Soho and enjoy all aspects of what London has to offer.

Council’s decision to stop funding for Fanshawe’s expansion plan into the old Kingsmill’s building is a very shortsighted decision.

Many of you who voted against this campaigned on “Jobs Jobs Jobs” and to increase the tax base. Fanshawe expanding into the core will bring $86 million of “shovel ready” projects to the downtown core. In addition, over $9 million worth of direct economic activity would be realized for years. Not bad for an extra $1 million per year.

In addition reopening this debate would show great leadership of council in supporting the London Plan. Council has shown its support for the London plan and the downtown in the past. Studies have shown time and time again that bringing higher learning into downtown are a benefit to the downtown but also to the community as a whole. Look at Cambridge, Toronto and other centres for some examples. Please listen to the experts, particularly your own planning and financial staff. Part of council’s job is looking at the long-term, not just what may get you some sound bytes and votes in the next election if you are running again.

Several of you have indicated you are not planning to run again. Support a visionary project like this and let that be your legacy. There has been enough negative things said about this council in the last 4 years. Let’s try and have a positive thing.

Respectfully

Stuart Clark

Ward 7

Posted in Politics Tagged with: , , ,

Random Though for August 4th 2014

canadawarposter

100 years ago Britain (and by definition Canada) declared war against Germany. Many thought it would be a quick war but 4 years later the great war as it was known had claimed over 60,000 dead and over 170,000 wounded amongst the Canadians.  In total the war claimed over 17 million people over four years and it’s ramifications continue to this day.

Even after 100 years and a second world war and numerous other conflicts, we still wage war.

We still have much to learn.

Posted in Life, Random Thoughts, Rants Tagged with:

Joe Fontana, the sentence and character references

Let me get a few thing out-of-the-way first.  I did not vote for Joe Fontana in the last election. As soon as he started promising 10,000 new jobs and a four-year tax freeze without a viable way to back those promises up he lost my vote.  I have never lived in a ward or riding where he ran so this was the first time I could have voted for him. I have heard over the years that his constituency work left a positive mark.  Up until the last election, I had only met him once or twice at various events.

In my own opinion he should have pleaded guilty when this first came out and saved everyone a lot of time and money. The further developments involving Trinity Global also gives cause for concern and I don’t think we have seen the last of that. I believe that those in public service should hold themselves to a higher standard and we have not seen that in this case. Failure to do that, tends to paint others in the same profession with the same brush which is unfortunate.

At this point his reputation is in tatters, any of the good things he has done will now forever be overshadowed by this guilty verdict at the very least.  Considering the crime and the fact he is not a danger to society, I think the sentence is fine. There is no point spending even more money putting him into jail. As Phil McLeod has mentioned, it would have been nice to hear an apology from the ex Mayor.

There has been some negative comments about some of the people who wrote character references about Joe to the judge.  This is a normal occurrence and all the writers would have known what they wrote would have been publicly available. From the letters it is obvious that Joe Fontana in the past has done quite a bit for many people and the community. These are worth reading. Many of these people I either personally know and respect and none of them would do this task lightly.

These sort of letters show the court that this was not normal behaviour of the convicted person.  The main purpose is to show a positive side and provide some useful information about the convicted person, so that he is not judged only on the basis of the charge against him or her.

Sometimes before making a comment or a decision on why a person does something, put yourself in their shoes, or imagine the accused is someone you have great respect for or a family member. If that person had done one thing wrong would you feel the same?  The world is not black and white.

I’m glad that justice has been done, but it’s time to move on.

Posted in Politics Tagged with: ,

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