"I'm coming as an underdog, I totally understand that," says Orr, "I'm running absolutely on my own record."
Response from Victoria Liberal MLA Sheila Orr when asked why she does not mention Gordon Campbell in her campaign ads (CBC News)
Orr is the matronly like MLA of Victoria, who wants it both ways. She voted only once against the Campbell government, now she is saying she did not always agree with Gordon Campbell.
The problem for Orr is her voting record. She voted for budgets that contained cuts to programs that hurt her constituents. Funding for housing was slashed, AIDS programs actual cuts to funding, the women's centre funding ended, child care cuts made and welfare slashed.
No significant progress was made with the downtown drug problem and the homeless. A program that intends to support people with Mental Health problems "Every door is the right door" has failed. It has failed due to the lack of resources and training. On paper the words look great. They fail in action as does Sheila Orr.
The opening of the new sobering centre has been some help, yet it does little more than house people that are high or drunk, and then only a few. These people have no place to go after they sober up.
While working in Victoria last year I tried with the assistance of two other downtown agencies to get a man into detox. He began drinking again after being sober for 11 years. Even with the assistance of members of the Victoria City Police, we could not get this man the services he needed when he needed it. It took almost five weeks.
A man newly diagnosed with HIV in his 50's was let go by his employer. There were no supports for this person. In an effort to find him emergency housing, all that was available were the shelters for the homeless. This person was employed, lost his job and thus his income. Sending him to a homeless shelter would have been the last straw.
This man ended up in the psych ward for over 40 days, one because he had no home and two there was noservices for him if he left. Another person with HIV was in a terrible housing situation, became suicidal and he too spent a weekend in the psych ward. He needed safe interim housing while he looked for new housing. It was not available in Victoria. Only through the extrodinary efforts of three people, employed by two non-profits, working on their own time, was he found safe housing some sixty days after he needed it.
These two stories are only a tiny fraction of the people that I came across. In both cases they reached out for help and it took extraordinary effort of overworked and yes underpaid (Sheila Orr voted for paycuts to their salaries) health sector employees to get them what they needed.
Many people are worse off than these two as they don't know how to ask for help, if a door closes they walk away, asking what's the use. The Campbell Liberals response was the Safe Streets Act. Lets move these unsightly people from view. Orr speaks all the good talk, says she is compassionate, caring, drug users should be treated as health problems not criminal. Her actions say otherwise.
Sheila looks like she anyone's grandmother, she is sweet, has that motherly look about her. Don't be fooled a second time Victoria.
Quote from Sheila Orr during the Budget debate February 25, 2005
"Over the years I have had to explain to my constituents why we had to do what we had to do. Believe me, it was not easy and, actually, in some cases not fair. But I took it on the chin. My staff at my community office took it on the chin, and there you are. That's life. But deep in my heart, I knew that what we were doing was the right thing."
NDP Candidate: Rob Flemming
Liberal Candidate: Sheila Orr
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