Camp next to Victoria courthouse remains packed with tents

B.C. a destination for down and out

Premier Christy Clark, Housing Minister Rich Coleman say people are free to come to B.C. and use shelters

News that the Saskatchewan government gave two young men one-way bus passes to B.C. is the latest sign that B.C. is more than ever the destination of choice for out-of-province homeless people.

Housing Minister Rich Coleman shrugged off a report from Saskatchewan that the pair were headed for Victoria, where the province is seeking a court order to wind down a ragged tent camp that sprang up last fall next to the downtown courthouse. The camp has attracted several people from out of province, as well as those who have camped in local parks for years.

“It’s a free country,” said Coleman, when asked if he had prevailed on other provincial governments to deal with their own cases rather than shipping them west.

He said B.C.’s budget for shelters is up about 20 per cent this winter as the annual winter migration of down-and-out people to the province’s mildest climate has swelled. Some of the extra arrivals are coming from Alberta, where the economy has suffered with the downturn in oil and gas prices.

Saskatchewan social services minister Donna Harpauer issued a statement Wednesday that said front-line social workers are being reminded that clients should have a plan in place “before they are given bus tickets to destinations away.”

Premier Christy Clark said one of the two is described as mentally ill, and taking them in is the Canadian thing to do.

“I don’t know very much about them, but I hope that wherever they are, they are able to get the care that they need,” Clark said. “And if they decide to come to British Columbia, we’re going to support them in that.”

 

Just Posted

UPDATE: Missing Surrey snowshoer found dead on Mt. Seymour

North Shore Rescue resumed its search today after efforts were temporarily halted Tuesday due to snowstorm

Suspect charged after four Surrey banks were robbed in just four hours

Financial institutions in North Surrey targeted on Feb. 12

Surrey says WorkSafeBC should be in charge of asbestos abatement

City staff say WorkSafeBC has ‘greater knowledge, experience and expertise’ concerning asbestos

Surrey RCMP say 14-year-old boy stabbed at Guildford mall

Police say the boy had ‘non-life threatening’ injuries, suspect arrested

Former NHL star Fleury in Surrey for conference on child abuse

At Surrey City Hall, two-day event hosted by Sophie’s Place Child and Youth Advocacy Centre

‘Riya was a dreamer’: Mother of slain 11-year-old Ontario girl heartbroken

Her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, 41, was arrested some 130 kilometres away

B.C. Seniors Advocate questions labour shortage in care homes

Are there really no workers, or are care aide wages too low?

B.C. business groups worry about looming economic decline in wake of NDP budget

The party’s second government budget focused on plenty of spending, business advocates say

Man injured in police shooting near Nelson has died: B.C. police watchdog

The death follows an incident in Bonnington on Feb. 13

Experts urge caution after 10 human-triggered avalanches across B.C.

One man is still stuck after avalanche on south coast

‘It consumed my life’: Inside the world of gaming addiction

World Health Organization classifies gaming disorder as a mental health condition

Police seize bottles of grapefruit vodka from wanted man’s snow-pants

The men were pushing two shopping carts with a woman inside

Tonight’s sporting event costs more than the Super Bowl, and Obama is going

Tickets are going for more than $4,000 to watch the Duke - North Carolina basketball game

CRTC report finds ‘misleading, aggressive’ sales tactics used by telecom industry

Report recommends measures to make a fairer situation for consumers

Most Read