Pubdate: Fri, 03 Sep 2004
Source: Surrey Leader (CN BC)
Copyright: 2004 Surrey Leader
Author: Jim McMurtry


Newton activist Linda Tylor says civic authorities "should be ashamed
of themselves" because their crackdown on prostitution and
drug-dealing in Whalley has pushed many prostitutes down the King
George Highway into Newton.

Most telling is not that a crackdown in one area displaces the problem
onto another area but that "cracking down" on destitute and forlorn
people is mindless thuggery - mindless because it has no lasting
effect, and thuggery because of the implication of force.

Far more shameful than pushing prostitutes and drug users into Newton
is the lack of concern and charity we show to such broken people, who
are obviously less well served by an iron fist than a helping hand.

When I see the prostitutes on my daily commute to work, many of whom
are the age of the students I teach, I am struck by sympathy for them
and the degrading lifestyle that enmeshes them.

Any desire to "crack down on them" is distant from my heart, and I
challenge civic authorities to draw more from their innate sense of
compassion, eschewing the quick fix of harassment or brief jail time
and working toward a more lasting and humane solution to prostitution
and drug use.

Nobody wants prostitutes and drug users in their backyard (NIMBYism),
but decency requires that we do not turn away from them wherever they
be found.

Jim McMurtry

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