Tuesday, November 15, 2011

IN WHICH THE CITY ENDS OUR CAMPING, AND SCATTERS THE HOMELESS

As Yogi said, "It ain't over til it's over."

And it's not over. Despite the city's actions yesterday. (Watch for Bear in grey coat.) You'll have to wait a few moments, after clicking on the link, for the story to show up.

In other news (different channel) — someone else picked up on Bear's language. You'll see Bear trundling around the the background. Peter (on camera) is a good speaker for us.

There was also coverage on our channel #3.
(Bear's claim to fame: I just send out the news releases to the media. Usually other people talk.)

One other thought. Bear was talking to Salvation Army at 8:45 Monday morning (part of our ongoing conversation). That was the first time after Sunday's arrival of the eviction notice that I could reach the SA.

The City Manager's statement that people had rejected the SA options was totally false. If it were true, I wouldn't have been talking to SA at 8:45 in the morning.

The Police and Fire department brought three people from SA with them when they invaded, including the man I had been talking to a few hours earlier. By then, the homeless had fled our camp, fearful of any confrontation with police. So the last state of the homeless was worse than the first; they're back to sleeping under bridges and in other bush spots in Saskatoon. Some will be found in the spring, when the snow disappeared. It happens every year.

A week ago Monday, Occupy Saskatoon made a presentation to City Council, to open another dialogue over homelessness.

A week later we got the reply from the City — eviction of the homeless from the park where we were sheltering them.

The solution to the problem of homelessness? Sweep it under the carpet; out of sight, out of mind.

And, that's the news.

But remember, going back to Yogi, it ain't over.

30 comments:

Rubye Jack said...

You're doing a fine job Rob! I'm sorry to hear this happened but at least there was some news coverage and this ideally will help the public to become more aware of the problem. SA doesn't do a lot of good considering all the money they receive. Personally, I would rather donate to the individual than to SA. I'm glad you're doing this work. It looks mighty cold up there!

Suzie said...

Well done Mr. Bear. I am proud of you. I live in Salt Lake where one man has died in the camp. The city swarmed in like bees and removed everyone. The system is so broken, but I don't know that the homeless people have much of a chance. It is hard for them to have a loud voice when all their strenght is being used just to survive. If I am not with my son helping him along the way I can see my son on the streets one day. This society doesn't care because he is a crazy person and the majority of people don't like those types around. Crazy people have no value just like my daughter with special needs. I am so sad today for so many reasons. My voice is not being heard and I have no way to protect my son from a system that is broken yet has complete control over his every move.

Manzanita said...

It must be extremely hard to take a stand for what you believe in.....I mean in the Canadian winter. Even for a bear wearing a bear coat. I applaud the bear for taking his stand.
No, it ain't over till it's over and there's always time for a triple.

Lydia said...

So sorry, Bear. It happened at Occupy Portland, too, and the Salem group has been told their permit will not be renewed.

The first video seems like a full report. I moved the slider all around but could not find the Occupy story. I did view the second video and enjoyed seeing you walking around in your gray coat.

Giving you a link to a lovely New Zealand writer's blog, because this poem is one I know you will love.

Diana said...

What a shame that no one could come up with any ideas or answers.
I do believe the Bear when he says it ain't over!
It was neat seeing the Bear in person. I especially enjoy the Canadian accent! Love Di ♥

potsoc said...

Sorry about the outcome Bear. Until today, at least, Montreal has been more tolerant toward the Occupiers. I guess it is the last city where they have not been evicted and the relations with police and firemen are still at the speaking level.
Toronto has emitted an eviction notice but delayed its application.
Could the Easterners be mellower than the Westerners?
Of course Halifax would qualify as a Westerner despite it's geographical situation.

Helen said...

Don't forget the fat lady who sings.

ReformingGeek said...

Keep on hunting, Bear. You're right. It ain't over.

Frances said...

Bear, I am sure that you are up to date on the dismantling of the Occupy Wall Street site in downtown New York.

The demonstrators may return to demonstrate, but camping is out.

It will be interesting to see how all these protests, with their shared and unique points of view, will evolve. I am very sure that they will continue.

Best wishes to you...don't imagine you'll be headed to winter hibernation soon.

French Fancy... said...

You do such fine work on behalf of people with no voice, Rob. You should be very proud

x

rosaria said...

Bear, you represent the best in all of us! So good of you to leave your warm den and stand tall and resolute with fellow citizens. Their cause is stronger because of people like you with a voice and a conscience and gravitas. (Age and appearance do matter on their own;but, educated speech seems to trump everything else)

Perhaps we should have a blog event as well, a one issue write-off to display that the world is watching.
What do you think?

Amanda said...

wow - i am really surprised by the heartlessness of your city council to not even engage in a dialogue over the issue of homelessness. what issues are more important than the welfare of people who have to live out in −30 weather?

you may usually send out news releases, but you make a terrific on camera spokesperson. i admire your full engagement in this process bear - it's a noble cause and as i said before, occupy saskatoon is lucky to have you involved.

Rob-bear said...

® Rubeye Jack: Thanks for the support.
We're doing the best that we can. It is very frustrating and humbling. It was very sad. Now I'm getting more angry, and depressed. I didn't think that depression would upset me this time. But it's happening now (just later than expected.) I've been fortunate, in the long term, that I could cope with my mental illness fairly recently.

® Suzie: Thank you for your kindness.
Actually, to share an observation, "the system isn't broken; it was made that way."
We have had quite a few "crazy people" among us. You're absolutely right; there is a strong bias against those with mental illness and other special needs in society generally. Thing is the we Occupiers have observed some strange behaviour from some members, but haven't "rected" much to it.
There's one guy beside whom I sometimes sit in our circle when we have General Assembly. I just help him navigate his way through the group conversation, gently reminding him when it is, or isn't, his time to speak. He has some good ideas, so it's just a case of listening thoughtfully and helping him express himself. That's how we respond to his challenges. He's just one of us.
I hope your boy doesn't end up on the street. But my observation is that folks living at "street level" actually are pretty good at helping each other. In this guy's case, some Occupy participants found him after our second camp was broken up and got him into "inside" shelter", through "the system."
We all "get by with a little help from our friends." Sigh! And thank God.

Rob-bear said...

® Manzanita: Actually I've found it isn't hard to take a stand, winter or no winter. For me, it's just acting on what I believe, so it seems so natural.
Thanks.

® Lydia: Yes, the first report was sufficiently thorough, which is why I put it first.
Thanks.

® Diane: Glad you're making reasonable progress with your new knees.
We may actually have some good process in place. We'll just have to wait and see.
And we Canadian's don't have accents. Lol! Thanks.

Rob-bear said...

® Potsoc: We're taking what steps we can, including finding folk and taking them to shelter.
Thanks, Paul.
And I guess that's the best we can do, for now.

® Helen. You're right. And thanks.
I didn't think you were in that class of ladies. Or have I misconstrued something?

Rob-bear said...

® Frances: Yes, thanks. Weird stuff going on in New York. Police action; court order. Who's actually breaking the law here? Seems so uncertain.
In the meantime, I'm getting tired and a bit cranky. It happens to us Bears when we put off hibernation. I don't expect to be dozing any time soon. Too much to do.

® amanda: Politicians are, well, ah, politicians. The political voice of the Chamber of Commerce? Maybe.
And as for talking on camera, I worked for years with a microphone sitting my face. It's just like "old times." And lately, I've been getting a lot of "refresher" experience.
Thanks.

Rob-bear said...

® rosaria: OOPS, sorry I missed you. (Computer is "playing strange" today, and not posting responses to my blog.)
A write-in would be wonderful. The more thoughtful news people get to write and read, the more peoples' thinking will be nudged.
Why don't you start, since it's your idea. I trust lots of others will get into the act.
Thanks for everything, rosaria. Much appreciated!

Katherine Jenkins said...

Hi Rob-Thanks for all you are doing to help. It must be very frustrating with the winter coming and all! It's a hard time for so many people everywhere and I believe that every little bit counts. Thank you for all you do and it does matter!!!!!!!!

Rob-bear said...

® Katherine Jenkins: Thanks for your kind note.
It isn't easy for anyone at this time of year if you're outside. Whether outside in the cold or outside "the system." There are so many things that are so profoundly wrong, that one is scared to think about them.
What a way to live!

Gutsy Living said...

Bear, I watched the second video. Ws that you shouting in the background with the gray beard?
Did you sleep outside in the cold yourself? I am sorry about the lack of help. I thought Canada had better social programs for the homeless like Scandinavian countries.

About Last Weekend said...

Good on our for fighting this cause for those who can't speak for themselves (or rather for those who speak but noone listens.) It is incredible that they are sent out into an environ where they can perish. Sounds like you are doing all you can with press releases and meetings and talking and being with the homeless people. This is true Christianity at work. Well done you!

Rob-bear said...

® Gutsy Living: You don't hear me at all in the second video. You see me, in the background, in my long grey coat, but that's it.
I didn't sleep outside this time. When we moved from our house to this apartment, I gave all my winter camping gear to my son.
While we have Scandanavian-type social programs, some have worked better than others, so coverage is hit and miss. And they have been cut back by successive right-wing governments, particularly like the one we have now.
Thanks for your comments.

Rob-bear said...

® about last weekend: Thanks for the kind thoughts.
We find that if you need assistance, and have an advocate with you, the system works better. I haven't been doing that part of the process — others have, and have been doing it well. That's partly how we get around the "speak but noone listens" bit.
Which is sad. We have expected better, based on the promises we had been given by shelter-providers.

Helen said...

The late, supremely talented Kate Smith is my inspiration for that 'fat lady' quote .... I'm in good company. Happy Day to you Bear.

Lins' lleisio said...

I'm not really sure what to say Mr Bear. Thank goodness there are people like you in this world who represent and battle for all those less fortunate - and who never believe it's over. So what I will say is please keep yourself safe, warm and positive in spirit. The homeless need you.

Sylvia Ney said...

So very frustrating! Have you met with any church groups to see about uniting together to provide some kind of shelter? In America there is separation of church and state law. Many of our shelters are run by church and nonprofit organizations working together.

Rob-bear said...

® Helen: Thanks for the greeting. I hope you are having a wonderful day, too.
We won't go into the "sizeable" conversation. ;)

Rachel Westfall said...

Here, it wasn't really an occupy camp. It was a tent city, which started well before the occupy movement. But as soon as the occupy camp clean-up started across the continent, our local authorities moved everyone on and out. The eviction notices appeared, and officials did a lot of hand-wringing about safety concerns with campers out there in our frigid temperatures. I suppose it's less of a concern if you move them off your property and onto crown land somewhere; at least you can't get sued if they freeze to death.

Rob-bear said...

®Rachel: The best way to deal with a problem is to make it invisible. So the politicians think. They have simply pushed us underground.
During the Second World War, the French Underground were a very busy lot.
You can take it from there. ;)

Rob-bear said...

® Sorry, Sylvia. It seems I missed you in the computer mess through which the computer and I have been living.

Ironically, I am the only identifiable, active church member (and spiritual leader) who has been part of Occupy Saskatoon. That's very sad. I even spoke about that in a clergy meeting just before Christmas. No physical response at all.

I guess there are a lot of things which are "out of joint."

Blessings and Bear hugs for 2012!