Pubdate: Tue, 12 Aug 2008
Source: Richmond News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008, Lower Mainland Publishing Group Inc.
Author: Marion Smith


The Editor,

Re: "Deal with root causes of addiction," News, Letters, July 15.

Turning Point's Ash Street plan included the essential combination of
land, funding from BC Housing and an experienced organization to
manage the facility.

The proposed home was thoughtfully designed and would have been
considered a valuable asset in any other community. Richmond needs
homes like this to provide specialized health care to round out the
services it already provides.

Unlike Vancouver city council, which approved similar housing for
dual-diagnosed patients, our local councillors avoided making a
decision, resulting in a dangerous precedent where prejudice has
trumped tolerance and common sense.

Yes, it is daunting to take a stand in the face of opposition, but
decisions made by any elected body should be based on the laws and
social norms in Canada. If our local councillors follow this guiding
principle, they will be supported at election time.

Mr. Mendoza and his neighbours cannot change the Canadian core beliefs
of equality and freedom from discrimination.

Under our law, we are all entitled to live here without fear of
discrimination, and we each have the responsibility to treat others
with respect and to honour their rights to housing and health care. We
do not have the right to deny others their basic human needs.

Because the Turning Point application failed, Richmond residents are
now viewed as bigoted, ignorant and intolerant, a characterization
that is unfair to the majority of us.

Marion Smith

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