Listen Live
HomeNewsCowichan ValleyMayor Staples speaks out on misinformation about homelessness in Duncan

Mayor Staples speaks out on misinformation about homelessness in Duncan

Duncan Mayor Michelle Staples is speaking out about misinformation around homelessness in the Cowichan Valley. She used her mayor’s report at the end of Tuesday’s council meeting to do so.

It comes following a protest on Friday, February 16, which was organized outside of the former Good Neighbours Thrift store. The building had been destroyed by fire earlier in the month. The protest was staged in opposition to drug decriminalization laws and street disorder.

Staples says actions were taken to support vulnerable individuals in the community ahead of the protest.

“When people are moved off of the streets because a protest like that is planned, that is not something that is done to ‘clean up for the newspaper’ That’s done for those people that are out there and already vulnerable and suffering to make sure that they’re not exposed to any further risks,” she says. “You can’t control everyone who comes to events like that. You don’t know that everyone is going to be there with the best of intentions. And so, people have to make sure that people are safe.”

Staples says she received threatening messages in the aftermath of the event.

“In the past 24 hours, I’ve been sent an unfortunate amount of messages threatening me, that are attacking, that I’m borderline unsure if I should proceed to go to the RCMP with them or if I post them on social media and call some of the people out,” she says. “If I reach out to call people to say, ‘Can we sit down and talk?’ […] Sometimes people are just not in a place where they’re willing to sit down with you and have a reasonable conversation.”

Staples also spoke to theories that she’s seen circulating around the issue.

“I am not driving around to other communities bringing homeless people here from them,” she says. “I am not getting paid for every homeless person that there is in the community. There is not one person in our community that is getting paid to bring people in here from other communities or to cause people to be homeless […]

“I respect the fact to a degree that people think that one person has that much control over everything that happens in a national crisis, but I simply don’t.”

Related: Local group alleges protest attack: RCMP investigates

“This is an issue that is going to take all of us working together to solve,” says Staples. “We know in our community what we need to support the people here. But we need money from the province and from the federal government in order to provide that support, that housing and those services for people. That is what we need plain and simple.

“We need affordable housing for people who are being more and more marginalized because the cost of living is too expensive for people to even rent an apartment that have full time jobs, that are living on pensions. These are all things that we need. But to start to attack each other… the way that everything is amping up out on the streets and on social media is not effective, it is not safe.”

She continues, “For people that are espousing safety, all it is doing is creating more danger and trying to instill more fear. And I refuse to be in a community and live in fear, but I also will not accept some of the things that are being said to me and to others. It is unacceptable for people to speak to each other that way.”

Staples’ entire Mayor’s report can be viewed in the embedded video above.


- Advertisement -
- Advertisment -
- Advertisment -
- Advertisement -

Continue Reading