Some things just need to be said...

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Citizen Lorne or Bully?

MLA Lorne Mayencourt in Vancouver got a punch in the face a week ago, from a panhandler, he alledges. Seems Lorne, the Westend partyboi decided that a panhandler in front of the coffeeshop was being too aggressive. Lorne championed a new law intended to the throw the book at aggressive panhandlers.

The Westend and downtown of Vancouver has seen a large increase in panhandlers and homeless people over the last 3 years. Many of these people are dealing with concurrent disorders of drug addiction and mental health issues. And a good number of the panhandlers are people that just cannot afford to get by in Vancouver.

Seems Lorne and his supporters, largely condo owners in units so high above the panhandlers you wonder how they actually met a panhandler, are becoming upset with seeing these poor folks on the street with the nerve to ask for some change or wash a car window in exchange for coin.

Lorne worked to pass the Safe Streets Act and Trespass Act. Poverty activists, police and others told Lorne we already have laws to address aggressive panhandlers, people that assault others etc. The law was passed anyway, now when less than 3 tickets (they fine people who panhandle for money to buy something to eat) have been issued province wide. Lorne is upset, accusing the Vancouver Police of ignoring his new law. He is furious that crown prosecuters are reluctant to take cases forward.

That's where Lorne decides he is going to force the issue. The MLA for Vancouver Burrard challenges a panhandler outside a popular coffee shop on Denman Street. He calls 911 three or four times to tell them a panhandler is being aggressive. The police do not respond in a time period appropriate for our Citizen Lorne, so he decides to make a citizens arrest.

In attempting the arrest, the honourable member of the BC Legislative Assembly receives a cut to his face and his glasses fall off according to Michael Smyth of the Vancouver province. The police arrive and an investigation ensues.

Lorne is in deep doo doo this election. He is well known for how he has failed seniors, renters and the gay community, including gay youth in our schools. He has three other claims to fame; 1. has never said no to a Liberal piece of legislation; 2. keep poor people off the streets act (Safe Streets Act) and 3. No one uses their government paid for cell phone more than he does.

Perhaps after the election we can get the government to consider a new act, The Save our Streets from our Honourable MLA Act.