Tuesday, November 15, 2011


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.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


As you realize, Bear has been very involved in "Occupy Saskatoon." One of the roughly 2,000 Occupy groups around the world.

Monday night, Bear and other "Occupiers" were at the regular meeting of Saskatoon City Council. We had a chance to chat with Council. And found some fairly enthusiastic response. (Meaning the Mayor, I think, actually had to bite his tongue.)  Truth is, you see, we got "in their face." We did it gently. That's the Canadian way. But I mean, really, when we've exposed the need, and are acting on it (housing homeless people), I think we have every right to speak up.

You already know Occupy Saskatoon had been "occupied" by a bunch of homeless people. So, their welfare and future became an immediate concern. Yes, in Saskatoon one can have a job and be homeless at the same time. Such is the price of rent (unless you want to share your place with rats, cockroaches, and bed bugs).

We weren't there to "fight city hall"; we were there to have a conversation with City Council. After all, we are "Occupy Saskatoon: Join the Conversation." (That's our full title.) Our goal is really to occupy peoples' minds, with questions of fairness, health, reasonable incomes and appropriate living standards for all. And then have a conversation.

But earlier today, we got the word that the City was planning to evict us from our location. It's a city park, with about as much bush as grassland. Great camping site; lots of protection from the elements. The word we received was that the police would be there at 6:00 p.m. for a "conversation." So a whole hockey sock full* of us were there to take on the . . . not police?!

Nope. Nary a constable nor sergeant to be seen. Nor the Inspector (Captain, for you Americans), who had talked with us last week.

Instead, a man from the Salvation Army's centre and a very friendly elected Councillor for the city (who used to be a community organizer in his past life).

Hmmmm. What is this? Two people who like us? Two people who support us? Two people who want to work with us? Wonders never cease!

Turns out that the City doesn't want to evict us; the major concern is for our health and safety. A "Won't you come in out of the cold?" gesture. Which was, obviously, not what we thought we would face.

So we did the very Canadian thing. We stood around the camp fire and had a friendly chat about the whole situation. And discovered some possible solutions. (No, we didn't quite get to singing "Kum by yah"; I left my banjo at home.)

We've agreed we're going to keep framing the conversation in "health and safety" language. Because that's what it is; that's the issue — people's health and safety.

"The System" could end up housing a bunch of Occupiers. Perhaps in the same place, to keep our community together. Which might even give us all some meeting space. I suggested (later) that we should call it "Occupy Saskatoon House." And when it gets too full, because of the extra people who come in, we'll let "the System" find a second house for those who won't fit in the first place.

Who? Me? Subversive? Perish the thought. 

Yes, I know; I should be hibernating. But, uh, well, I'm having way too much fun. We're actually starting to solve an immediate problem. Emphasis on "starting." Nobody has had to admitted defeat. Nobody feels like a loser. It's not "them and us"; it's "us and us." I mean, why quit when you're making progress?

Makes the ol' Bear's heart feel good.

* That's Canadianism for "a whole lot." Anyone who knows how much protective gear one wears when playing ice hockey, and how big a sock one needs to cover said gear on one's legs — such a person understands entirely. ;))

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Well, the weather is getting cooler. When I woke up this morning, I thought it was cold and a bit foggy.

Not so.

Behold! The former site of occupy Saskatoon.

Truth is the tent-dwellers have moved to a more sheltered location.

But, as you can see, much of the city has disappeared. I need to go and find it.

If I'm gone too long, please send the St. Bernards out for me! I may be lost.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


It's the Bear again, being a Bear-er of bad news, particularly the rise in the number of poor people.

And you wonder why there is an "Occupy Wall Street"?

Bear trundles out, perplexed and very sad.