Robertson on Ray-Cam incident: "Blame someone else"

Post by Mike Klassen in


Gregor Robertson (not shown) uses an invisible force field to deflect blame

Martin Luther King, Jr. said that 'the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.' The actions of Mayor Gregor Robertson in response to the shocking incident at the Ray-Cam Community Centre are, in my opinion, the measure of the man.

For those who do not know the story, a toddler was kidnapped by a mentally ill man at a City-funded community centre in the Strathcona neighbourhood just at the edge of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. The perpetrator barricaded himself with a young boy he didn't know for over seven hours, and in the end slashed the 3-year old's face with a knife, before police stormed in to end the incident.

VPD Const. Lindsey Houghton said after the incident that the boy was a "hero" for keeping his cool. It struck me as a puzzling way to characterize what was more likely shock. Then ten hours after hostage taking ended a press release was issued by Mayor Gregor Robertson.

Of course, that release is not available to the general public through Robertson's blog nor the City's media page, which invariably post good news only. You'll have to take my word for it that the words which follow are Robertson's. After the usual bumph about how tragic the situation was and thanking police and centre staff, Mayor Gregor reveals something about the perpetrator:

The incident last night raises some tough questions about the state of mental health prevention and care in Vancouver and throughout the Province. This man had a history of mental health issues and involvement in violent incidents, which raises serious questions about why he was in a community centre.

We've just had a tragic incident involving a mentally ill man and a child in a public facility. The Mayor of Vancouver might want to get to the bottom of how it happened, but as we see in his first public statements he's pointing fingers. Those "tough questions" Robertson has are not for people under his bailiwick. No, they're for the Province.

Let's stop here for a moment to consider what is revealed by Mayor Gregor's statement. He's the Chair of the Police Board. Clearly the VPD must have opened their files on the perpetrator Kyle Jackson to allow Robertson to state that Jackson has a history of "involvement in violent incidents" and has "mental health issues."

Robertson continues:

The City will be asking Provincial authorities for answers on why this man was out on the street. There are several outstanding questions that we need answered, both to understand how this happened and how to prevent it from happening again.

Understandably, people working in the Provincial government were just a little pissed off that Gregor was blaming them again for a problem on his watch. Interviewed on CKNW Radio today Health Minister Kevin Falcon stated that there is nothing in five years of records to indicate that the Kyle Jackson had sought treatment for mental health issues. He criticized Robertson for barking off before all the facts are in.

National Post writer Brian Hutchinson stated on Wednesday:

By demanding answers of “Provincial authorities,” the mayor seemed to be pointing a finger. One could accuse him of trying to assign blame, of using this near-tragedy to score political points.

Ya think?

So here we have our mayor trying to score points after a little three year old boy has received a five-inch gash on his face from an assailant's knife. Not even in a situation as dire as this, where any kind of politicking is incredibly unbecoming, can Robertson just put a sock in it and take responsibility for something which has happened under his watch.

Whether it's Robertson perpetual blame game on the Olympic Village, where his own actions which are said to have caused a nearly $200 million loss to Vancouver tax payers are conveniently ignored. Or something as unthinkable as the incident at Ray-Cam. You can always count on Gregor putting up his deflector shields and making sure someone else besides him takes the hit.

In my books that's the opposite of leadership.

Thankfully at least some media are not going to let Gregor get away this crass exploitation of the Ray Cam incident. Tonight CKNW's Penny Daflos is questioning the Mayor's storyline.

Vancouver Police aren't confirming Mayor Gregor Robertson's claim that the man who allegedly held a toddler hostage Tuesday has a history of mental illness.

Constable Lindsay Houghton says learning more about Jackson is on a long list of tasks, "Our investigators have a lot to do in liaising with Crown Counsel and other agencies. Whether it's helping staff at Ray-Cam come to grips with what they've been through and working to find out what in fact Mr. Jackson's background really is. So we can't confirm whether or not he has a mental health history because we just don't know."

Robertson held a press conference Wednesday afternoon criticizing the Province for dragging its feet on providing mental health resources, which the VPD have asked for.

So now the VPD are "working to find out what in fact Mr. Jackson's background really is?" Well, it was good enough for Gregor to grandstand on Wednesday afternoon, so why bother?

On Tuesday evening while that child was being held hostage in a city community centre, Gregor was conducting his Vision Vancouver "telephone town hall" and trying to drum up votes among party faithful on that costly conference call. Given the Ray-Cam situation had started before the call started, it might have made sense if the Mayor begged off and postponed the meeting.

Instead, Robertson stayed on the call, answering puffball questions during the Vision-moderated sixty minutes.

Putting politics before the people in his charge. That's the real measure of our Mayor.

- post by Mike


This incident could have ended up a lot worse. The guy who kidnapped the boy obviously has mental issues and shouldn't be on the street. This brutally sad incident could have been prevented if the province had a mandate to support rather then further marginalize people with mental health issues.

I fully support Gregor in challenging the province to step up and help solve this problem.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the legislature, Richy Coleman sucks up yet again to Greggy and gives him a blank cheque for whatever he wants. When will Coleamn realize that Greggy is not his friend?

there should be a public hearing to find out how this information about his supposed mental illness got into the hands of Gregor Robertson (a politician). Is that not a violation of someone's personal rights?

Wow, Naomi! You're right! If only you and your cronies were in charge of all of the people and money, all of the evils of the world could be prevented!
Good on you for using this incident to drive home your point and try to score politically!

Everything that went right at RayCam is to Vision's credit. Everything that went wrong is the provincial and federal governments fault.

Thank god you and the mayor were here to point it out within hours of incident.

I've now heard that the police are not confirming that the gentleman had a history of mental health problems.
The papers are reporting that this gentleman had a charge of assault with a weapon.
Everybody in Vancouver knows that we have a problem with people with drug issues, mental health issues.
It's more about when will politicians (of all parties and levels) get off their butts and do something about it.

The status quo is a bust.

Agreed with Jonny. Looks like Coleman got played again by Gregor.

How many folks in the provincial government are asking themselves why Gregor keeps getting funding from Coleman when he just throws the blame back at them. Rich likes to pretend he's all about tough love, then he just waffles. Is this what he'd be like as Premier? At least Falcon is calling Gregor out on his lies.

Frances writes on her blog...

"I have to say, it’s cheering to see the way the city and province, who have their tensions and conflicts, managing to do the right thing out of all this. Penny Ballem and the mayor, whatever their other faults, have really stuck to their guns on this and pushed hard. And the minister, well, he huffs and puffs but ends up doing the right thing."

After Robertson spends $3.2 million on a trial bike lane, $260,000 on his office renovation, untold thousands on hype for the mayor himself? Coleman is an unmitigated twit.

Coleman was played for a fool again by Vision Vancouver and Gregor Robertson and he doesn't even realize it. Gregor has millions to spend on all of his pet projects, but when he needs to solve homelessness or mental health issues he goes running to daddy Coleman. What a fool.

Speaking of fools, doesn't Gregor look dumb now that the cops are contradicting his silly grandstanding yesterday. Robertson if you are going to attack the provincial government yet again at least get your facts straight. I agree that holding a fluffy townhall forum while a 3 year old was being held hostage says a lot about what you believe in.

As far as I'm concerned both you and Coleman deserve the boot. Let's hope he loses the leadership race.

Everybody seems to forget the $2 million dollars they spent in July for an engineering study on making the Burrard Bridge bike lanes permanent. A freaking STUDY! And whatever the Dunsmuir bike lanes cost. Does anybody know that figure? Add that and you're into 6-8+ million dollars this year!

Good point Chris. BC's policies on mental health have been a long-running tragedy. Does anyone doubt that this assailant has mental health problems? Or that BC and Vancouver do not have a system in place to identify and treat these people, and to protect us?

Does anyone know where Robertson got his false information? Who ever told him that could be in hot water. Cops say its not them. Potential lawsuit? Maybe Gregor should let us know who the source is? What a baffoon

Do you actually KNOW that this incident could have been prevented? You must be omniscient. Elsewhise, shame on you for excusing this knee jerk reaction from someone who should have known better. There's something just a little bit "off" about using a toddlers horror to forward your political agenda. It reminds me much of George Bush's "No child left behind" propaganda. It is inappropriate and not welcome at a time when a young family is still in shock from yesterday's events. Everybody ought to engage in respectful silence for the family while the police and social agencies do their jobs. When that is done, and not one second before, conclusions may be drawn and public statements made.

The problem is, how do you mandate people with mental health or addiction issues to treatment?

The BC Civil Liberties and Pivot would be all over any group that tried. Case in point, the law that the Provincial government passed last year allwoing the police to force the 'homeless' into shelters during extreme weather.

With the allowed and continued open drug market in the DTES, the situationis only going to get worse with time. If people don't already have a mental health issue, after prolonged drug use of designer drugs, they will.

And just as n FYI - the Civil Libs and Pivot both received 'funding' from the same Americans that fund Robertson.

@ Naomi:

Just as a quick history lesson - in the 90's, the NDP shut down Riverview and sent all the mentally ill into the streets to be 'one with the community'.

Doesn't matter that they couldn't look after themselves, nor could their families, they were sent out like lost souls to fend for themselves.

This move exasperated the already growing drug problem in that area.

Robertson was an NDP MLA prior to jumping ship to run for Mayor, and I highly doubt his views/ideals have changed.

Mountain out of molehill.

Next topic please!

Coleman did what he had to do to prevent any tragedies from playing out as they have in the past.

At some point, you have to put the pettiness aside and do the right thing - there is a human factor to consider.

Robertson and VV have abandon the homeless and any promises made to help them out once they got elected.

The only time the homeless now come in handy is when there is a photo op - which will be coming soon, the Christmas dinner and the UGC.

And, of course, let's not forget all the Provincially funded rooms/units that will be coming on-line in 2011. I beleive there is somewhere around 560.

Robertson and VV will be all over that like a fat kid on smarty.

Riverview is still open, albeit the care they provide is being replaced by programs throughout the province.

I wonder if anyone might offer up some of the concrete actions this mayor, or any mayor for that matter, might do during the early hours of a hostage-taking that couldn't be performed just as ably by the Police Chief or other senior law enforcement personnel?

Hard not to imagine the alternate title CC had on the back burner if Robertson had involved himself...

"Meddling Mayor Puts Toddler at Risk"

Chris, Riverview has been slowly reopened by the Liberals over the last couple of years.

There are 3 lodges that house around 60 people.

The simple fact that this Mayor or
ANY Mayor would stand up and point fingers at the Liberals is nothing more than playing petty politics.

Everyone knows the Liberals are on the rails, and this was just to try to gain points for his group - the NDP.

Nothing more, nothing less.

If you want to go that route, Robertson has capped the hiring of new police officers over the next 5 years. You could spin this around and blame he and VV for the VPD not having enough man power/boots on the groung to be in all places at all times.

Sullivan gave him the knife.

Gregor, what an Opportunist Bozo!


If that was an attempt at humor, you missed the mark.

Sad and sick.

I agree with Max, totally inappropriate, and slanderous.... it was a tragic situation involving a child....politics were not involved.

Let's keep the facts straight. Both the NDP and BC Liberals were at the helm of the Riverview closing.

1990 The Mental Health Initiative introduces a comprehensive plan for the development of mental health services throughout the province. It focuses on replacing Riverview with smaller, more specialized regional facilities.

1992 The Crease Clinic becomes the second large Riverview building to close; the building will later embark on a second career as a filming location.

1994 Riverview establishes Canada’s first Charter of Patient Rights. After investigating patient complaints, the BC Ombudsman releases a report titled “Listening – A Review of Riverview Hospital”. The two events signal a change in Riverview’s relationship with its patients and family members.

1997 A new state-of-the-art Forensic Psychiatric Hospital opens at 70 Colony Farm Road in Port Coquitlam, replacing the original Riverside Unit.

1998 The Ministry of Health releases a new Mental Health Plan for BC, to be implemented over seven years. The plan envisions a health care system where people with mental illness have access to necessary care as easily as to physical health care, with priority for specialized services based on medical risk or extent of disability.

2001 The BC government announces a new administrative structure for health services, comprising five geographically-based regional health authorities plus the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA), which is responsible for specialized, province-wide services. Riverview and the Forensic Psychiatric Services Commission are among the agencies placed under PHSA.

2002 The Riverview Redevelopment Project is announced. The aging institutional buildings at Riverview are to be gradually phased out, replaced by new smaller tertiary care facilities located in each of the five geographic regions of BC. Riverview patients will be transferred to facilities within those health regions in a carefully planned “bed for bed” transfer process.

2005 With patient transfers to new regional facilities continuing to reduce Riverview’s population, the 75-year-old East Lawn building is closed.

2007 As part of the Riverview Redevelopment Project, patients and support services housed at the 52-year-old NorthLawn Building are re-located to other facilities, and the building is decommissioned in March. Three months later, the building is temporarily reopened to accommodate patients from the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital at Colony Farm, briefly relocated due to the threat of Fraser River flooding.

Chris (Keam) why not just declare your intentions already that you're going to make a run at a council position with Vision in the next election?

Riverview is not being slowly reopened. In fact, it is being phased out.
Witness the articles about the nursing homes in Vancouver that are being converted to partial mental health wards.
Also, the relocation of some of the Riverview patients to the Detwiler Clinic out at U.B.C. The postings are out for 11 new psychiatric nursing positions (first priority to nurses already at Riverview)
Smoke and mirrors.


History of Riverview timeline:

I'm not seeing any reference to re-openings in the past couple of years other than a brief relocation due to flooding issues in 2007.

That's a very flattering vote of confidence Glenn, but I think we should discuss the issues raised by this blog post, rather than my suitability for office.

@ Chris:

News and Views » Straight Talk

New mental health facility opens on Riverview Hospital grounds in Coquitlam
Share Comments (3) By Stephen Thomson, April 23, 2010

A new $9.4-million residential mental-health facility officially opened today (April 23) on the Riverview Hospital grounds in Coquitlam.

The Cypress Lodge facility provides psychosocial rehabilitation and fosters living skills such as personal financing, cooking, and cleaning. Its doors first opened in February.

The 20-bed lodge was established as part of the Riverview Hospital Redevelopment Project. Under the project, beds and patients from Riverview Hospital are being handed over to regional health authorities from B.C. Mental Health and Addictions Services.

The Fraser Health Authority now runs the Cypress Lodge in addition to the 20-bed Connolly Lodge and 24-bed Cottonwood Lodge, which are all located on the historic hospital grounds in Coquitlam

I don't know, it was kind of funny. But only if it was one of the knives he removed from Judy Rogers' back.

So George,

If politics weren't involved in this "tragic situation involving a child", then wouldn't this whole post be "totally inappropriate and slanderous" for trying to peg it on Vision and the mayor?

FYI - from a series that ran on Homelessness in 2006

'In 1998, the NDP government of the day announced a $125-million, seven-year mental health plan. Two years, then-health-minister Penny Priddy admitted: "While it was announced, it was never in a budget. There wasn't budget approval."

While the New Democrats supported the downsizing of Riverview, there was no replacement of the beds that were closed there. By 2001, the NDP's last year in power, 808 Riverview beds still had not been replaced.

It is good to see that VV members and potential future candidates are contributing to this blog. It is an opportunity for them to display the complete absense of common sense common to VV elected folk.

The quote from the Hutchison editorial is incomplete. Here's the full paragraph, which significantly alters the tenor of the quote:

"By demanding answers of “Provincial authorities,” the mayor seemed to be pointing a finger. One could accuse him of trying to assign blame, of using this near-tragedy to score political points. But his questions have to be asked, loudly and with persistence, in the expectation, however faint, that someone some day will provide an answer."

Read more:

I can't find it on the internet, therefore it doesn't exist. Great...

It might be worth checking. I recall that the 1st Riverview patient outings were under the Bill Bennett regime with the promise that community based supportive housing would be provided for these patients. From that day, nothing was done!

It has irked me for years that 3 successive governments [Socred & NDP] did nothing, in fact have made the problem far worse. For whatever & all the faults you might put on the Campbell / Coleman watch, they are the only ones who've actually done something 'concrete' for this disgraceful legacy. 19 supportive housing facilities is an impressive start.

Reference to a knife is inappropriate. Perhaps you are right, I should have said using the opportunity by Gregor to make himself look like he cares, for political gain was disingenuous...

The sad truth is, we (society) have 497 registered chronic offenders operating in the DTES, many have over 70 convictions and lengthy careers.

They are given a few days in jail (if even) and out they go.

This type of 'justice sytem' is broken and not servicing the general public or those offenders that obviously need help of sorts.

We need to get past this 'hug a thug' mentality because people are addicted, and set in place some serious choices.

Jail (lenghty term) or rehab.

Lorne Mayencourt is have measureable success with his program in Prince George. Why not look and replicate this model?

The overall costs to society are mounting and as people flock to the DTES because of the drug market, it is going to get worse. $1 million a day and counting.

OPPS! The VPD is really going to be in hot water. They spoke to the media without submitting their 'staff report' to the 'Corporate Office of Civic Truth'. And, lo and behold, another disconnect in the messaging. So now we can better understand why staff & media must be muzzled.

I am sorry to bring this 'other' issue into what is a tragic event but, this for me is aspect is a matter of principle, not politics & its ramifications need to be properly understood.

re: "The problem is, how do you mandate people with mental health or addiction issues to treatment?"

You could use the Mental Health Act, which has been used for many years to detain people for assessment and treatment if deemed to be a threat to themselves or the public.

The real problem is that there is no place to put people once picked up by police/paramedics. Psych wards are always full. All we need is a larger network of mental health facilities and the funding to run them. The current laws are quite adequate.

Y'all including Robertson should shut up until the facts are in. You'd be defending him even if he were the perp in this case. GIVE IT A REST!!! In case you missed the memo (reply to comment from Naomi)...
'Do you actually KNOW that this incident could have been prevented? You must be omniscient. Elsewise, shame on you for excusing this knee jerk reaction from someone who should have known better. There's something just a little bit "off" about using a toddlers horror to forward your political agenda. It reminds me much of George Bush's "No child left behind" propaganda. It is inappropriate and not welcome at a time when a young family is still in shock from yesterday's events. Everybody ought to engage in respectful silence for the family while the police and social agencies do their jobs. When that is done, and not one second before, conclusions may be drawn and public statements made.'
Y'er welcome.

I'm not sure I can entirely agree with you Birdy. This is a complex area I don't know enough about but, I do know from painful personal experience that:

1] we don't have enough pysch beds,
2] the legislation is not working and
3] doctors do [did] not know enough to properly diagnose.

My son committed suicide 10 days after being released from the VGH psych ward. His mother & I were @ our wits end. We had 15 days previously had him admitted to VGH. This was our last resort as a result of a suicide attempt @ that time. It failed our son & us. In my view, there should haver been a bed for him in a longer term rehab type facility & he should have had to be there. If he had I believe that wonderful person would be enriching our lives still.

Seems like Gregor started this one. All he had to do was keep his mouth shut and we'd be talking about a pedestrian-killing cyclist instead...

PS See you at Critical Mass tomorrow...

Thank you for sharing your son's story.. I am so sorry for your loss.

I am very sorry for family's loss.


Thank you so much for being the voice of reason...

Maybe Robertson could arrange to have this guy move into one of the Olympic Village units.

That might appease him so he doesn't do something like this again.

Steven Forth's comment:

"Does anyone doubt that this assailant has mental health problems? Or that BC and Vancouver do not have a system in place to identify and treat these people, and to protect us?"

I am braced for all the slamming I am about to receive, but it may be time to at least attempt to reframe the debate about mental health care - or at least toss a small cat in amongst the pigeons.

A police incident very quickly morphed into a mixed debate about housing the 'mentally ill' and 'homeless', which is where a majority of the comments sit. A quick observation - the abductor is being 'absolved' as it becomes a fault of the incompetent ________ government (as this develops into a civic vs provincial jurisdictional pissing contest - just insert personal diabolical political nemesis here). The abductor is only symptomatic of chronic under- funding for the mental health industry. The bottom line, all scream in unison, is 'not enough beds'.

What that really means is there are individuals we want locked away and off the streets, where we want them in order to feel a) WE are more safe ( b) THEY are more closely controlled (the definition of WE v. THEY not specifically defined)

Lost is the fact that an identifiable individual committed a criminal act. The abductor is responsible for his actions. I have no knowledge of his state of mental health, but consider him responsible for his actions, just as I am for mine. As for 'these people',who are they Mr. Forth? Naomi? How does one recognize 'these people'? Who do we trust to identify them for us?

I do not believe we have the right to impinge upon the freedoms of others under the guise of mental illness, no matter how much better or safer we feel about it. This does nothing to prevent an incident such as what just happened with the little boy. I get that. However, society is NOT omniscient, and to attempt crime prevention through restricted liberties for any class of people is dangerous to society as a whole, especially those whose rights we restrict. Kudos to Max for recognizing that libertarians may have a thing or two to say on this issue.

The warehousing of those defined (under historically-shifting criteria) as mentally ill is a serious debate. Beware the slippery slope towards what Thomas Szasz would describe as the 'therapeutic state' or 'pharmacratic dictatorship', lest we not heed the famous words of Pastor Neimoller.


What? You mean the critical mass that I've previously stated is stupid? That one? Stop trying to pin everyone in to stupid little camps so you can make cheap, meaningless political points.

I've seen it all. In print,on TV, I've heard it on the radio...there is only one conclusion. The VISION apparatchik are the only, let me point out again, the only, mentally imbalanced people roaming the streets of Vancouver. Have I mentioned, the only? Robertson is their MC.

Cry me a river, boohoo.

Once again Mayor Fauntleroy gleefully displays his ignorance. Absent any evidence this person suffers from a mental disability, he leaps to this conclusion. In doing so he reinforces the negative stereotype that persons who are afflicted with mental disabilities are violent, unstable and tend towards criminality. When others strive to remove the stigma associated with mental disabilities this vapid turd only makes things worse. Let’s assume this person is disabled. Is there any proof of a nexus between his alleged disability and the crime committed? None. Why is the Mayor breaching privacy legislation in disclosing the medical history of a person detained but not convicted of any crime? He has interfered with the administration of justice as no doubt this press release will be tab #1 in the defence lawyer’s book of documents on the matter of culpability. Let’s and see the facts here. One thing is very clear and that is the subject of the blog. Mayor Fauntleroy lacks any sense of leadership and seemingly any common sense. He should have praised the work done by the cops and shut up. Instead that gets lost. What we’ re left with is the blatant evidence of the political trollop that he is. He has moved on from exploiting the homeless for votes to 3 year old victims of crime.

Let me be clear Douglas, I am not suggesting by 'not enough beds' that people be locked away permanently. There are 2 kinds of 'beds' which have been inadequate [maybe more].

1st, there are those needed to properly treat people like my son, Evon, when he needed it & for long enough to do some good.

2nd, there are the supportive housing 'beds' where people who need day to day assistance to be able to live in the community can live with the dignity our society claims all its members should have.

There will no doubt also be an ongoing need for temporary [homeless] shelters for those who are, for lack of a better term, dropping out of normal society.

As to the matter of forceable confinement, that is a sticky subject. My own experience tells me that if it have been more available my son would still be with us. In his case, was it a matter of inadequate legislative capability or lack of 'beds' which resulted in him being released? From what I know, it was both.

Aww gerry, it's ok. I know it's hard.

Boohoo, get the heck out of your cubbyhole. I'm going to my first one tomorrow, stupid or what, stupid or not, you're invited. Lattes on me. 5:30pm on the Georgia side of the Art Gallery. Roads should be ice and snow free by then. Come on, live a little!

Or beer, if preferred...but after, no drinking and riding.

No thanks, I'll pass. Like I said, I think critical mass is ridiculous and counter productive. But hey, have fun.

All of you should know more about mental illness and less about politics. I have watched my brother endure episode after episode over the ten year span of his illness. Unfortunately, the last one didn't go well, he was missing for 24 hours and he committed a petty crime that landed him in the forensic hospital. This was after he visited the hospital twice for evaluation and both times he was immediately discharged after knowing he needed treatment. I wouldn't be surprised if this man was having a psychotic episode while this was happening. Either way, this isn't the "norm" and something wasn't right in this situation. We all know that our mental health care system is lacking by just taking a drive down east hastings. There is no urgency to fix it and in fact, there is no urgency to repair our healthcare system overall. The whole thing is suffering. Hopefully they will look into expanding mental health services by building new facilities and implementing better treatment initiatives. This whole story is tragic and I hope that the man and boy both receive the attention they need.

Firstly Bill
My condolences for your loss. There is nothing I can say to mitigate the hardship you must carry on with.

As for street homelessness I am in agreeance with you entirely more temporary shelters, not only for those who 'drop out' of society, but for those who are being forced out as well. It is only getting more difficult to make one's way in the world, and we should be providing what we can. There is a large difference between providing shelter and mandating institutional care though, and this is where the libertarian in me is awoken.

As for the institutionalization of the mentally ill, I remain skeptical of society's motives. I am cautious of the medical profession, especially the mental health industry. Like many industries , it often acts from its own unique self-perpetuationg perspective, as do bureaucracies and special interests that fund it. That is a dangerous combination. (while I do not wish to go into much personal detail, I will say that my late father was a psychiatrist, somewhat philosophically aligned with Dr. Szasz, the psychiatrist I mentioned previously).

Societies such as ours have long been infatuated with solutions that keep its troubles out of sight. Today's scapegoats are the drug addicted, the wandering schizophrenic, the homeless. Only in recent history has homosexuality come off the list of mental illnesses. The panacea is pharmaceuticals and institutionalization, and as often as not it I believe it to be for the sake of our conscience.

This is not to say drug therapy or institutionalization is never warranted. It is however something we must be very careful about, if we wish to retain our freedoms. If a person is an obvious threat to his or herself, then the option of assistance should be there. However there have been far too many abuses flowing from the mental health industry in the past for society to place blind faith in it to 'protect us' from those we fear may act out in future.

In the case of the abduction, the individual who abducted the little boy is to be presumed competent until jurisprudence proves otherwise. As 'skippy' suggests, our mayor made statements that could very well interfere with fair judgement in that case. Not good.

What I fear, and what City Caucus is pointing out I believe rightly, is that a police incident was quickly subordinated by political opportunism into a debate on which politicoes are doing what for the mentally ill.

This plays in to the hands of those both in government and the mental health industries who do not hold with the concept of individual accountability for a group identified as 'mentally ill,' and I feel compelled to comment, if only to spur thoughtful debate on what is a very important topic.

I wish you well

However there have been far too many abuses flowing from the mental health industry in the past for society to place blind faith in it to 'protect us' from those we fear may act out in future.

And the present to some extent.

Doctors diagnosing kids with ADHD or ADD are at a somewhat epidemic proportion.

Although I agree that there are some kids that may fall into this category, I think it is an easy labeling system to appease parents with poor parenting skills and rumbunctious children/

FYI - rather than placing a child on Ritalin, try using Omega supplemets, Flax and Salmon oil/fish oils.

3 a day and you will see the difference in short order.

Maybe we could build a shelter on the cycle paths,nobody uses them anyway.

Although it is a side topic to the thread at hand, I find your comments on parenting and AHDH spot on!

Treating a problem child with speed is not treating him or her at all. ADHD is an over-diagnosed farce, and perpetuates the Ritalin industry. Ritalin is not a nice pharmaceutical. Parents and teachers should read up on it before ever considering letting their doctor proscribe it.

I think we as a society may pay a long-term price for this particular trend, especially the poor children who have to pay the long term physiological price for the drugging they are receiving.

Thank you!!!

Gregor has drank too much of his own koolaid and it looks like you get paid to drink it too Naomi.

Not once did I hear Gregor / Vision / COPE say one thing about this child

You have all lost my vote in the next civic election, I'll vote NPA.

To be frank we all thought that something different was going to happen when the VISION/COPE wave came in.

All we got was a tidal wave of higher taxes, debt and mismanagement.

Thanks for nothing

I wouldn't expect any less from someone who has the NDP in their history. It is a long standing tradition that the NDP uses tragedy to grandstand and blame the governing party with everything and anything. (Carole James has built an entire platform around this)

Thank you Doug & others earlier.

I also hope TRs brother gets the help he needs. I gather you know of what it's like to live with those problems & their aftermath. From my experience your brother needs an advocate, maybe you. I can only say, if I knew then what I know now, it might have made a difference.

And, thanks also for both of you for clearly keeping this exchange on track. Your thoughts are to the point, inciteful & constructive.

Well made point. I too was thinking more about the "criminality" of the act, and even more so once it was revealed this individual "is known" to police (that sad phrase AGAIN)and had at least one violent asault against him.

So...if he is already on the police radar, and has been charged criminally before, why isn't he sitting in jail?

At least there, he WOULD get treatment for any mental health issues.

This is where the Mayor erred. It is his regime that is turning a blind eye to all forms of criminal activity, at least that which occurs on the DTES. Don't stir up those anti-poverty supporters, right Gregor? Let them cling to their political ideology, at the expense of the safety of all.

Chicken and egg. Again.

Check out Dr. Daniel Amen's work on brain scanning and adhd. Some forms of adhd respond well to Ritalin while other forms are aggravated by it but helped by other meds. It's very specific to which part of the brain is over-stimulated or under-stimulated. There are doctors in the Lower Mainland familiar with his work, and they use a symptom questionnaire so you don't necessarily need an expensive scan.

This is going on way too long (and here I am adding to it!)
A child was hurt (and might have been killed if the police hadn't ended the incident).
We don't know enough about the perpetrator to completely understand what happened.
If it is mental health/drug issues it is reflective on the sad,sad, state of treatment.
Politics has got us to this point, when will the people demand that politicians listen and start to correct things?
Politics encompasses a lot of things.
Who stands to benefit if we keep sick people sick?

With all due respect I sit on a different side of the fence with respect to ADHD and pharmaceuticals and most especially the questionnaire diagnosis.

Anyone wishing a philosophical dip into the psychiatric waters should check out the writings of Dr. Thomas Szasz. He is as much philosopher as psychiatrist. His views may offend some here, for he is truly opposed to much of what the mental health industry and associated bureaucracies advocate, and that we have been indoctrinated to believe. However, his criticism of today's mental health model is cogent. Here is but a sampling:

"Diagnoses are NOT diseases. Psychiatrists have had some very famous diseases for which they have never apologized, the two most obvious ones being masturbation and homosexuality. People with these so-called "diseases" were tortured by psychiatrists — for hundreds of years. Children were tortured by antimasturbation treatments. Homosexuals were incarcerated and tortured by psychiatrists. Now all that is conveniently forgotten, while psychiatrists — prostitutes of the dominant ethic — invent new diseases. The war on drugs is the current psychiatric-judicial pogrom. And so is the war on children called "hyperactive," poisoned in schools with the illegal street drug called "speed," which, when called "Ritalin," is a miracle cure for them."
or google Dr. Thomas Szasz
Good luck to all....

Who stands to benefit if we keep sick people sick?

Sadly only union paid poverty pimps benefit, and that needs to be seriously looked at.

I was unaware that poverty was a sickness.

After reading this thread today I feel something must be said. Bill McCreery, you have moved me, and have been on my mind all day.

I have been identified as a person with a mental illness since 1995. As well I've had a 30 year history of pot abuse.

Over the years I've never been hospitalized, never arrested...but even though I've had connections with organizations that are paid to assist me, I have never received help, nor has it ever been suggested that I quit smoking pot. I have been self medicating for years to rid myself of emotional pain.

I have been abused and assaulted by union paid staff members that didn't like it when I pointed out the lack of assistance available, or that it was obvious that they haven't lived up to their Mission and Value statements...honest staff members backed me up, as they saw the abuses.

I have had a psychiatrist scream at me to stop crying, and being so depressed, and suicidal.

I am happy person these days I'm so relieved to say my life is going very well. I'm drug free, volunteering, and I've joined society again. I no longer have any reason to have suicidal thoughts.... all do to the cessation of marijuana smoking, and a very compassionate stranger.

This total stranger, we have still never met, keeps close contact by e-mail daily. When I am in crisis I have his private phone number, and he returns my call within minutes. His constant positive reinforcement has changed me as a person. I was very much alone and suicidal when I contacted him.

Yes, I contacted him after reading his blog for many months, for some reason his words made sense to me in regard to his position an drugs.

I would like to publicly pay my respect to this man that has no connection to the mental health industry.

I owe my life to this compassionate man that I've never met face to face,

His name is Alex G Tsakumis.....

Thank you for reading this post, as it is my last, George, no longer needs to exist. I can come out of the shadows.... thanks to Alex...

I am so glad to hear that you are enjoying life.
We all deserve it.

Misdiagnosis is easy.

I have a very dear friend whose health started to deteriorate.

Within a month she lost 25 lbs, could not keep food other than jello down, had hearing issues (loss), and would randlomly pass out.

After one of the 'passing out' episodes while heading home from work (she lay in the street at Granville and 14th for a period of time before anyone stopped)I spent 6 hours with her in Emergency at VGH. After numerous tests, the doctors told her she was 'depressed' and sent her home. The following day she attended her GP with the host of test results from the previous day - who spent a whopping 10 minutes with her and then gave her a prescription for Paxil.

Long and short, we found a new doctor to look at her. He took a look at what was 'on paper' and the physical symptons he was seeing in front of him and they were not 'matchy, matchy'.

It turned out she wasn't 'depressed' she has MS.

Is poverty a sickness?
first of all you need to know why poverty
is the issue

So here is the up-date on the young man that took the child hostage, according to CTV, he had been picked up and was before a judge twice in the week before this incident.

His 'bail' conditions were not to be in the DTES or carry a weapon (knife).

I caught the tail end of the story, but I think he was picked up for assault.

The police stated that they do not know if he has mental health issues as he was making sense at times and not at others.

Just once I would like to hear the Mayor use the term "we". The hostage taking @ Ray-Cam was indicative of failure on a lot of fronts. He is mistaken in trying to lay this entirely on the doorstep of the Province. At the risk of further politicizing what was a hugely traumatic experience for the family and staff involve, I think it must be said that Gregor's questioning how the perpetrator ended up in a community centre is pretty ludicrous. Ray-cam has had a very long history of open door policy and operates very independently. Other Community centres are far more stringent and have policies whereby bad or inappropriate behaviour is barred and patrons are not allowed back without further review by management....and this includes other east side centres. Furthermore, Ray-cam conceded they need to make improvements to their security but it is their board that often operates in the absence of sound advice. To be honest, I am amazed this did not happen sooner. I think Mr. Robertson needs to let go of the positional rhetoric aimed simply to cause havoc and deflect accountability.
Ray-cam failed to keep one of their youngest and most vulnerable patrons safe from harm. The man arrested should experience the full extent of what the law can do with him, and failed his duties as a human being to get better help and sort himself out. The police have done their best, no question, and now everyone, including the City, the Mayor and the various levels of government needs to get past the positional BS and make sure we don't fail again.

Lastly, having children myself, I am so grateful that the little boy came away relatively unscathed.

George, I too am moved by what you've had the courage to say. I am also moved by comments from Max, Douglas, Bobbie & George & others. Thank you all.

One last comment to other posters:
to Bobbie - your comments are succinct and well thought through.
to George - my congratulations on reaching out and finding wise and compassionate counsel and coming through the shadows. Very best wishes.
to Bill: my very best wishes as you navigate through your tragedy.
To all others who were respectful of differing views and thoughtful in their responses - thank you as well. I have found the exchange of views from this post insightful and rewarding.

Good luck to all

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