Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Toronto the Scary

It seems rather curious to me that a city that finds itself in a major financial crisis would continue to pander to the bleeding-heart lefties rather than face the grim reality that their misguided attitudes may very well hit them in the tourism column of their budget.

Today's National Post discusses the fatal stabbing of 32-year-old Toronto visitor Ross Hammond who was swarmed and attacked by four panhandlers when he had the audacity to refuse to give them their entitlements:

The death of Mr. Hammond is all the more tragic because the crime may well have been prevented if the City of Toronto had laws that clearly outlawed panhandlers, and directed police to keep city streets clear of anyone who harasses passers-by for money.

Instead, many of Toronto's city councillors seem more anxious about panhandlers' rights and feelings than those of their victims. (Councillor Howard Moscoe, for example, has declared that "people panhandling make us uncomfortable because they remind us of our failings.")

A City of Toronto document classifies panhandling as a "manifestation of poverty and need" instead of what it is -- an ugly, intimidating and sometimes violent nuisance.

According to the editorial, Vancouver is also afflicted with this 'myopic' attitude, and it is hurting business:

Convention contracts for hotels, some worth as much as $500,000, have been lost -- according to the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association -- because visitors don't believe Vancouver streets are safe. It's hard to blame folks for staying away: People won't visit a city if they are confronted by an army of deadbeats thrusting their hands out for coins.


I have no doubt that some cases of genuine need do exist in large cities, and they should be addressed.

However, tolerating panhandling is not just enabling a lifestyle of begging, but also putting citizens and tourists at risk.

Merchants in Toronto are now talking about a 'new breed' of panhandler:

"There was a time when panhandlers were homeless people who were asking for change. Now it's able-bodied young people who refuse to join the status quo and would rather bully you for change," said Marcus McLean, project co-ordinator for the West Queen West Business Improvement Area...


Toronto's response to increasing complaints about panhandlers is to do surveys - the classic left-wing solution to any annoying problem.

Perhaps when tourists start staying away in droves, Mayor Miller and his cheering section of ostriches will finally decide to remove the rose-coloured glasses and actually deal with the problem.


A Toronto Sun reader has no problem zeroing in on the hypocrisy of the politicians:

A young man was stabbed to death last week. A policeman was dragged to his death by thieves. Now a man is killed by pan-handlers, or in reality, armed robbers. Where is the outrage from Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant? Why are there no photo ops with grieving families by David Miller? Mr. Bryant's idiotic slogan. "No Gun, No Funeral" is sounding kind of empty right now, isn't it?

Pat Proulx

Almonte



Meanwhile another family prepares to bury a loved one; courtesy of Toronto the Good, while the city continues to ferment and rot.

* * * *

Related: BATB - Toronto, Clean up Your Act.

Mindelle Jacobs - Spare some change?

Interesting comments at this CTV link (H/T IndieScribe).

Wednesday Update: Globe - Accused panhandler has lengthy U.S. record.

And a totally predictable view from the Star here - Mistake to ban begging.

Again from the Star - Queen West an Area in Decline.

12 comments:

been around the block said...

I just posted about the same issue, Joanne, over at Canadian Blue Lemons, and couldn't agree with you more.

Toronto's feeling derelict, desperate, and dangerous, and this is a town that used to be pleasant and law-abiding.

I know, because I grew up in "Toronto the Good." Sure, it was "provincial" and "boring," and it rolled up its sidewalks at 11:00 p.m., but it felt safe and WAS safe.

Now, it's beginning to feel like a woman down at the heels: torn stockings, crumpled dress, bad hair, smeared makeup, carrying a knife, and menacing passersby.

What's it going to take for Toronto bleeding-heart, liberal idiots to wake up and DO something, other than take "a social service approach" to the problem of aggressive panhandlers?

There are a few million law-abiding, taxpaying citizens of Hogtown who need a few social services themselves, in the form of getting criminals off the streets--whether they're homeless or not.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I would visit Toronto...Why???

Anonymous said...

Interesting that Winnipeg, Vancouver and Edmonton are more crime ridden than Toronto and yet all we hear about is Toronto.

This homeless attacking is new - first one and then another and I have to wonder if it's a copy-cat situation.

This is not a Liberal issue at all. It's the times all over North America - gangs on the increase, etc. What is going on?

Anonymous said...

Fining people who give money to panhandlers would go a long way towards solving the problem.

Torian said...

last time a checked, demanding money from a person was not called "agressive panhandling".

It was called mugging.

Anonymous said...

We visited Toronto on Canada Day weekend this year. What at total disappointment in the city!! We couldn't believe the number of panhandlers and yes, a couple of squeegee kids.

We also noticed that the once thriving downtown, was almost dead throughout the day. Not the Toronto I grew up in for sure.

We will not be coming back any time soon. I can get all I need in Owen Sound, or London.

HuronCountyCats

Anonymous said...

My organization will not book conventions in Toronto any more.

Our choice is now Hamilton or Oshawa. Even these smaller venues don't come with the baggage or safety risk. Attendees at last year's conference in Toronto help make the decision for us.

Anna Keightley said...

I don't know about this report, people. In the majority panhandlers are harmless AND in dire need. We can't be that "weak-kneed" as a population, that they actually pose a threat to ourselves or are "scarry" as such. What say, passer-by entrepreneurs offer them of all things, JOBS? Those that have presence of mind anyway. Ontario's recorded 27,000 new manufacturing jobs, what say a targeted percentage of all new jobs (maybe 10 percent) be reserved for the street people? A doable initiative.

I can't fathom such cowardice as is being reported by citizens, that just want these people to disappear, huh? However, I do agree that the ones able to wield knives against a citizen on the street, have to answer for their crime.

Bill Clinton, only ever got one thing right, IMO -- and that was "it's the economy, stupid."

So we need not ask where all the violence, filth, desperation is coming from because obviously it's lack of jobs, wages, affordable housing.

The answers have to come from business and industry, the real estate sectors reworking their policies, etc. Think about it.

There's an article I'll search for and come back with talking about how nation-states now assessing their "interdependence" will stem the the war initiatives and move toward co-operation of sorts. He projects that the new "war theatres" will occur in mega-city scenarios where violence, just for the sake of violence, will escalate. Cities as war theatres, as in present day Baghdad, and S. American cities. Think about the time when one could stroll through Toronto, NYC's parks at 3 a.m. without incident? And compare the economies against the present one. There's where to seek answers.

Kunoichi said...

Interesting that Winnipeg, Vancouver and Edmonton are more crime ridden than Toronto and yet all we hear about is Toronto.

Having lived in the first three cities, I can attest to that. I've only visited Toronto, but my SIL's moved to the greater Toronto area and works downtown. I've yet to hear her complain about it, and it's been a couple years.

I don't know about this report, people. In the majority panhandlers are harmless AND in dire need. We can't be that "weak-kneed" as a population, that they actually pose a threat to ourselves or are "scarry" as such. What say, passer-by entrepreneurs offer them of all things, JOBS?

Sorry, but I completely disagree with you! Yes, there are some that really are down and out, but I would have to say that's the minority now.

Scary? Harmless? How would like it when some panhandler comes into the bus shelter you're at, passes you and starts cornering your kids... YOUR KIDS... asking for money? Had to fight a powerful urge to throw the woman out physically. She still had the nerve to seem surprised when I stepped in between and told her to get away from my kids. That's happened a few times.

Or the ones that are clearly high, staggering around, asking for "bus fare" - on the bus.

Or how 'bout this one. The kids and I were walking home from the grocery store and coming up on a bus stop when we're approached by a man who tried to sell us a bus ticket. The irony of this is that we've been approached by him before - asking for bus fare! Someone gave him a bus ticket instead, and he was trying to get money for it.

It's got to the point where we can't walk two blocks without being aggressively approached by 3 or 4 panhandlers demanding - not asking, demanding - money. There have been several attacks, and more than a few bodies have been found where the street people hang out, just in the couple of years since we've moved to where we are now. We've been "lucky," in that we know how to deal with aggressiveness and deflate it. Most people don't, and are intimidated by it, and I don't blame them one bit.

As for offering them jobs, you think that hasn't been done? I know of many people who've done just that, and guess what? Not a SINGLE TIME has ANY panhandler taken up the offer! Not one! Instead, they bluster, insult or become angry. I've also seen people offer food, only to have it thrown in their faces. Just recently, there was a guy that approached a panhandler and offered him work for a day for a combination of money and meals and was rejected - and the panhandler was holding a sign that said "will work for food." !!

I lost my empathy for panhandlers many years ago. Yes, there really are some that are down and out and can use a hand up, but most of them are there by choice.

Anonymous said...

"There was a time when panhandlers were homeless people who were asking for change. Now it's able-bodied young people who refuse to join the status quo and would rather bully you for change," said Marcus McLean, project co-ordinator for the West Queen West Business Improvement Area...

I'm afraid I have to disagree with Mr. Marcus. This is not a new development. "Aggressive panhandlers" have been around for quite some time now.

I also have to disagree with Anna Keightley. I'm living in the Vancouver area, which is right now undergoing the biggest economic boom I have ever seen. "Help Wanted", "Now Hiring", "Join Our Team" -- you see the signs everywhere, and you even hear radio ads looking for workers. At the same time, "able-bodied young people who refuse to join the status quo and would rather bully you for change" as Mr. Marcus describes them, are more numerous than ever.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

last time a checked, demanding money from a person was not called "agressive panhandling".

It was called mugging.


Yeah, especially if they have a weapon.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Kunoichi, your stories are truly frightening.