Friday, November 17, 2006

Protest Against Unfair Bylaw: Mon Nov 20 Noon City Hall

CHAI (Calgary Housing Action Initiative) is asking all of our friends in the arts community to join us on the steps of City Hall on Monday, November 20 at noon to protest against injustice.

Those who accept the Public Behaviour Bylaw clearly don't understand the ramifications of it. The media has been concentrating on the innocuous aspects that we can all agree on: don't spit, don't fight, don't carry a knife.

The truth is, the parts of the bylaw about loitering and obstructing, putting feet up on a bench or public structure, and urinating or defecating on public property are designed to put the homeless in jail. When you look closer, you see that they make it illegal to huddle, panhandle, sleep outside, and use the bathroom when no public washrooms are provided. The fines carried for these items ($300-$10,000) would be impossible for those most affected by the Bylaw to pay; instead, they would face a jail sentence of up to six months.

In a time of extreme crisis, when there are not enough shelters or affordable housing and not enough being done by the City to provide these necessities, it is without conscience for City Council to decide that the solution to these problems is to create a bylaw that effectively gets rid of the homeless by putting them in jail.

As citizens, we can do much better for the poor in our community than to allow the City to do this to them. We must put a stop to it, and demand that the City move more quickly to provide more shelters and more affordable housing in this time of crisis. Let's make our voices heard.


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