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Province inconsistent on shelter: BCCLA's Eby

The provincial government is sending contradictory messages on homelessness and shelters, British Columbia Civil Liberties Association executive director David Eby said.

On one hand, housing and social development minister Rich Coleman yesterday introduced the Assistance to Shelter Act that will allow police officers to use “reasonable force” to take people deemed at risk from extreme weather to shelters.

The government is doing it because they need to protect people who won't help themselves, Coleman said.

On the other hand, the province is appealing the Adams ruling which found that people have a right to erect their own temporary shelter to protect themselves. The case rested on the fact that the number of people who are homeless in Victoria far exceed the number of available shelter beds.

The two positions are inconsistent, said Eby. “It's beyond politics. It's double speak of the worst kind.”

Asked about the apparent inconsistency, Coleman said, “I actually couldn't tell you off the top of my head. I'll get you an answer.” He did not, however, have that response by posting time.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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