Archive for the 'Calgary Homeless Foundation' Category

Responding to today’s Globe and Mail editorial

August 14, 2007

Letter to the Globe - Aug 14 2007

I just sent this letter to the Globe regarding their editorial promoting tough treatment for hostile panhandlers (apologies for the small-size scan):

To the Editors:
Stiffer enforcement of hostile panhandling laws is both impractical and inhumane.

Any beggar, whether hostile or not, that is perceived as a pest by local retailers will be swept from the streets. Consequently, jail populations will grow, as the hapless perpetrators are generally without the means to pay fines. For those not placed behind bars, expect further overflow in our dismal mental health depots.

Are such results acceptable?

Forcible confinement of panhandlers, homeless or otherwise, is monstrous. This very point is explicitly recognized even by Calgary’s business community. Recently, TransAlta and Suncor — among many others — made a comprehensive commitment to finance a cure for the city’s homelessness problems. Provision of housing, along with requisite social, medical and psychological services are centerpiece of their plan. Of course, Calgary’s booming energy sector has substantially worsened that city’s homeless situation. Nonetheless, they have chosen an approach both pragmatic and compassionate.

The problem of beggar-related harassment and violence is serious. Our approach should be serious too.

Philip Stern, Toronto
Note: The author blogs at

Three requests of you

May 23, 2007

Samuel Clemens’s home

Tony and I need your help in three realms:

  1. The Calgary business community has committed to curing homelessness in 10 years. We believe that we can and should do the same in Toronto (and other Canadian cities too). Do you know anyone who could catalyze this or help us launch this initiative?
  2. Tony’s face, his wry bearing and amazing loquacity — they all remind me [Philip] of Mark Twain. Twain’s real name was Samuel Clemens. How could Tony find out if Samuel is his great-great grand cousin, twice-removed, etc.?
  3. Our blog,, has a large and enthusiastic readership, for which we’re grateful. Thank-you. Nonetheless, Tony and I are seeking ways of dramatically increasing the readership and visibility of the blog. We think the blog’s key messages will resonate with lots of folks who’ve never heard of the blog. Any ideas?

If you might be able to help us, please leave a comment below, or if you prefer, click me at philip [at]

Much, much appreciated.

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