Sep 23 2008

Globe & Post: Criticizing Vancouver’s Insite Like Advocating Genocide?

Published by at 9:22 am under Uncategorized

One Vancouver-based UBC researcher equates less-than-robust support for this with what’s going on over here. (Full report at CBCNews).

Another example of the continuing debasement of the English language.

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2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Globe & Post: Criticizing Vancouver’s Insite Like Advocating Genocide?”

  1. Raulon 23 Sep 2008 at 9:59 am

    Dear Jonathon,

    I agree with you about 99% of the time, but this time I’m going to have to disagree on this one. I don’t think Montaner meant genocide in the sense of a purposeful, systematic intent to destroy a racial or ethnic group (which is the United Nations’ definition of genocide). My understanding is that denying Insite is akin to systematically trying to wipe out drug addicts who are also HIV afflicted (somewhat of a genocide).

    It’s a bold statement, and perhaps not perfectly worded. The truth is, there is scientific, peer-reviewed evidence that Insite is working and the number of overdose-related mortalities is falling. But the government insists on ignoring those reports. My guess is that Montaner is trying to make a bold statement (perhaps not entirely well worded). But heck, which politician’s statements are well worded anyway? “we should certainly consider all options” … words filled with hot air.

  2. jnarveyon 23 Sep 2008 at 1:34 pm

    Hey Raul, thanks for your thoughtful comment. I’ll go one further and say that Montaner absolutely didn’t mean genocide in the sense of an intent to destroy a racial or ethnic group. He couldn’t possibly be that dumb.

    On the other hand, I do take issue with careless language that really distracts from Montaner’s key message, which is really that if Insite closes, people will die. That’s a pretty simple, easy to understand, FACTUAL statement that will engender sympathy in the broader population.

    It’s a common understanding amongst various lobby groups that inflammatory language gets headlines — and that’s pretty much true. But it also ensures that reasonable people who would likely sympathize with good causes are turned off and don’t become supporters. PETA provides many good example of this.

    As well, I’m just not convinced that government should get tarred with the negligent homicide brush by making legitimate policy decisions that are supported by a significant number of perfectly nice and ethical Canadians. Harper’s government isn’t fascist — it’s just more to the right than most Canadians might like (ironically enough, they’re pretty far to the LEFT of the US Democrats, who Canadians seem to love).

    I’m divided on Insite. I support its existence because of the studies showing its benefits (even though those studies are carried out by people with an incentive to always provide data in support of the project). I also support it because the people who live and work in the neighborhood say that the place has helped clean up the streets a bit.

    But I’m also unconvinced that facilitating drug use without forcing users to take part in rehab is the way to go.

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