In support of prisoners and prison justice activism in Canada
Anti-Poverty Groups Condemn Safe Streets Act

Stark Raven News
May 17, 2004

Anti-poverty organizations are condemning the proposed Safe Streets Act and Trespass to Property Act.

The act would make it illegal for people to approach people for money in various public places, including near transit stops and parking lots. It is targeted toward squeegee kids and panhandlers. The act contains Jail sentences up to 6 months and fines of up to $2,000.

It was Introduced by Vancouver-Burrard MLA Lorne Mayercourt as a private members bill. It is based on similar legislation in Alberta and Ontario. Private member's bills usually stand little chance of passing, but Mayencourt says he has the full support of his caucus.

Mayencourt also has the backing of the Vancouver Board of Trade, but few others.

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association, End Legislated Poverty, Queers United Against Kapitalism (QUAK), BC Public Interest Advocacy Centre are just a few who are denouncing the bill.

Activists argue that the government is trying to criminalize the people impacted by their own policies. They say criminalizing acts of survival will not solve the problem but affordable housing, a guaranteed liveable income and job training may be a good start in working toward a solution.

Source: www.mytelus.com/news

For more information:
www.bcpiac.com (BC Public Interest Advocacy Centre)
www.bccla.org (B.C. Civil Liberties Association)