Refugee Tent City? Let’s Do Better: THE VOTER

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The precious irony in creating a refugee tent city is the number of North American communities, large and small, whose current preoccupation is getting rid of tents within their boundaries while Ottawa is looking at setting them up.

How does the city plan to justify telling other homeless people it’s not okay to live in tents when that’s precisely where they’re putting refugees?

Who around the city council table would take their family to live in such conditions for a few days let alone three months? I notice that they say it’s only for three months and then they will be moved to “transitional housing” which is what? It’s certainly not a home. Do they have sufficient transitional housing to absorb the influx they’re expecting or will that three months turn into six and then a year and then …? They’re starting with two tents but where will it stop?

The refugee camps in Gaza were only supposed to be temporary when they were set up and we now see the third and fourth generations of refugee families born there to parents who have never known any other place to live. Is that where we will end up?

They are claiming that these tents are better for the inmates than the quarters they were using in community centres because there will be curtains hung between families. That sounds to me like the setup in the emergency department at the hospital where you have ‘privacy’ curtains between you and the patients on either side. That’s bad enough for a few hours or a day but can you imagine living like that for months?

What sort of setup will a family have inside their curtains? Will it just be beds or will they have somewhere to sit down; to prepare meals and cook; to have their possessions with them; to store clothes, etc.; to have children do their homework? In short, is it just sleeping quarters or a place to live? After they put their children to bed, where do the parents go or do they sit in silence on their bed until the children are sound asleep? How much noise will be coming from all the other families surrounding you? Will you have any peace? Will there be outdoor space for the children to play?

What difference will there be between this accommodation and the refugee camps or other temporary housing they are leaving to come here?

Why aren’t we launching a new version of Project 4000 that welcomed Vietnamese refugees to the city 45 years ago? Maybe it would result in more humane treatment of our city’s newest residents and our new neighbours.

The Voter is a respected community activist and long-time Bulldog commenter who prefers to keep her identity private.


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1 Response

  1. Phil says:

    Sad state of affairs. Sounds like the ‘temporary’ tent at the Ottawa Hospital which looks/sounds great for everyone except the patients. At the very least, hopefully, these tents allow the recreation and arena centres to revert back to their intended uses, not PDCs.

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