Arbitrary "unwanted guests" ban in Regina stores

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6079_Smith_W
Arbitrary "unwanted guests" ban in Regina stores

There is a protest against this today in Regina.

I don't actually have a problem with refusing to let someone in a store if they have repeatedly been a problem. I deal with that myself, though I have never refused anyone service.

There is a big difference between that and writing it into the law, and having the cops enforce something that isn't based on court decisions, but on the whims of some shopkeeper. This has been happening for years on an informal basis in malls. Having it become police policy, like other similar vigilante and citizens arrest laws, is a step in the wrong direction.

How long before this becomes a de facto "No Native or Poor People" law?

http://www.leaderpost.com/news/regina+police+expand+initiative+help+busi...

http://regina.ctvnews.ca/regina-group-wants-end-to-unwanted-guest-initia...

Cops say it is working though. Must be a good thing then:

http://cjme.com/article/360738/regina-police-say-unwanted-guest-policy-w...

 

JKR

I'm going through Regina and will be spending a day there this week. Whenever I am there, I feel conscious of the racist tension there. Here in Vancouver there is also racial tension but it seems to be to less pervasive than in cities like Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, where First Nations communities make up a greater part of the overall community. The Liberals seem to be doing a much better job than the Conservatives did on issues like MMIW and the TRC recommendations but these initiatives are not enough to deal with ongoing racism in Canada. I think we're going to have to open up a much a greater dialogue about racism in Canada. Even more importantly, we're going to have provide much better adequate income, housing, health care, education, transportation, job training, job opportunities, child care, recreation, and positive regard toward every person in Canada.

Paladin1

JKR wrote:

 The Liberals seem to be doing a much better job than the Conservatives did on issues like MMIW and the TRC recommendations

How so? Do you have examples by chance?

6079_Smith_W

Not expecting that Trudeau is the new FN best friend, but simply calling an inquiry is a step up, considering the former government refused to consider it anything but a criminal issue.

 

6079_Smith_W

dp

oldgoat

Depending on your motivation for doing so, there's nothing like a big formal inquiry to just kick the can down the road quite a ways.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
There is a big difference between that and writing it into the law, and having the cops enforce something that isn't based on court decisions, but on the whims of some shopkeeper.

Isn't that basically how the idea of "trespassing" works?  A property owner (or renter, as I understand it) decides that some person or persons are not welcome on their property?

It's always been my understanding that if my neighbour keeps coming onto my property, and I don't want him to, that's all that's needed to say that he's trespassing -- I didn't know I needed a "court decision" for that.  Nor that it's my "whim".

oldgoat

Magoo, under the law that doesn't count if you're running a business, catering to the public at large.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
But the Regina Public Library has its own safe use and conduct bylaw to ban people for various lengths of time. So far this year, the library has issued 23 bans longer than 24 hours spread out across its nine branches, according to Julie McKenna, deputy library director.

If a ban is violated, the library can utilize the trespass act, contact the RPS and have someone ticketed.

McKenna said bans are rarely issued but can involve both youth and adults. McKenna recalled an incident this year when a man at a branch was intoxicated, continued to drink alcohol, became rude and disorderly and then went into the women's bathroom. He was banned for six months.

1.  How do you suppose the local library did an end run on that?

2.  Is it problematic that the local library banned this man?

oldgoat

No.  A place of business, or more likely something like a mall, can establish certain reasonable rules of decorum which are not already covered by the law, like shoplifting or doing weird stuff with dainty undergarments.  I don't know if it's the law, but I think it's nice if it were made public. Example is, no shoes, no shirt, no service.  I'm ok with that, or not having pets except service dogs.  My local library btw is across the street from a homeless shelter which kicks people out during the day.  They've actually gone out of their way to try to programme around this unanticipated clientelle, but they probably have to ask the occasional person to leave.  So if they needed to call the cops to get someone out, there would have to be a demonstratable reason.

lagatta

Yes, it is not at all the same thing as telling people not to stay (and often smoke and drink beer) on the steps of my housing co-operative. There is a matter of public accommodation as concerns businesses. Yes, of course the business (or shopping mall) can ban the person, but there has to be a reason. It is normal for people to go to shopping malls, if not, they would go bankrupt.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
something like a mall, can establish certain reasonable rules of decorum which are not already covered by the law, like shoplifting

I would expect that shoplifting IS actually covered by the law.

But now I'm recalling the (in)famous "Lucky Moose" case which featured a shop owner who had video evidence of a man who had repeatedly shoplifted from him, who was also (as they say) "known to police", and yet somehow this man came back to shoplift AGAIN, rather than being easily arrested by police who could see him shoplifting on video, and knew who he was. 

Why wasn't he simply arrested, based on that video evidence?

And what should store owners do, other than admit that being robbed regularly is their fair price to pay for being petit bourgeoisie, or whatever?

I guess I'm just not "feeling" how this is just a war on everyone in a shabby coat, rather than a reasonable response to people who choose to be assholes.

lagatta

That is not "everyone in a shabby coat". It is a known thief. I worked in a downtown shopping mall, and not all the known thieves or troublemakers (such as drunks and druggies) were shabby. There were a lot of bars in this mall, and often they were well dressed.

quizzical

Mr. Magoo wrote:
Why wasn't he simply arrested, based on that video evidence?

i don't know. maybe the 3.56 worth of food isn't worth 3,000.00 in police wages?

Quote:
And what should store owners do, other than admit that being robbed regularly is their fair price to pay for being petit bourgeoisie, or whatever?

i personally would suggest they support social programs and guaranteed incomes of a livable amount. this would drop the increasing number of poverty crimes anti-poverty groups warned about over the last decade at least.

Quote:
I guess I'm just not "feeling" how this is just a war on everyone in a shabby coat, rather than a reasonable response to people who choose to be assholes.

i consider it karma. you vote to keep people poor and oppressed and crimes of poverty and dispair goes up.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
i don't know. maybe the 3.56 worth of food isn't worth 3,000.00 in police wages?

He didn't steal food.  Add that to what you don't know.

Quote:
i personally would suggest they support social programs and guaranteed incomes of a livable amount.

How would you or I know what they do or don't support?

Quote:
i consider it karma. you vote to keep people poor and oppressed and crimes of poverty and dispair goes up.

How would you or I know what the the owners of the Lucky Moose voted for?

 

quizzical

so.............you wanna quibble about what minor item was stolen in what was likely a crime  of poverty?

point taken about not knowing absolutely how they voted .  i felt safe in using it because i've observed how Ontarians vote. odds are in my favour i'm pretty close to the reality of it.

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
so.............you wanna quibble about what minor item was stolen in what was likely a crime  of poverty?

In the Lucky Moose case, there's no need to quibble.  He stole houseplants.  Nothing cures your hunger like an inedible Maranta Leuconeura.

quizzical

selling a plant or plants for 5.00 gets you food.

what you think it was maliciousness? kleptomania? or just wanted a house full of free house plants?

6079_Smith_W

Mr. Magoo wrote:

I would expect that shoplifting IS actually covered by the law.

But this doesn't require that the targetted person be convicted or charged - just that the manager considers the person unwanted. And under the law the police are supposed to back that up with fines or charges.

Essentially, people being criminalized based on heresay.

And not only is it potentially discriminatory, and making a joke of the law, it also means stores get to ride free on the public dime for security.

(edit)

And I do remember reading news articles about people being unable to get access to public services in malls - like libraries and clinics - simply because of how they looked to overzealous security. This is a step beyond that.

Sean in Ottawa

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Mr. Magoo wrote:

I would expect that shoplifting IS actually covered by the law.

But this doesn't require that the targetted person be convicted or charged - just that the manager considers the person unwanted. And under the law the police are supposed to back that up with fines or charges.

Essentially, people being criminalized based on heresay.

And not only is it potentially discriminatory, and making a joke of the law, it also means stores get to ride free on the public dime for security.

(edit)

And I do remember reading news articles about people being unable to get access to public services in malls - like libraries and clinics - simply because of how they looked to overzealous security. This is a step beyond that.

I agree with all this. When you do not have to provide jusification, it means you do something for any reason you like. Stores become free to ban individuals, visible minorities, age groups etc without ever having to explain. Then, according to the law the state has to back them up with police. In other words the power of the police can be used to assist someone in discrimination and infringement of rights.

I have no problem with decisions to ban people for reasonable time based on reasonable grounds that are accountable. It is even possible to give the stores the right to do so at a time. But the reason ought to be stated and the person, if they feel it is unjustified, ought to be able to challenge it after the fact and seek some kind of relief. This is a minimum.

Unionist

quizzical wrote:

Mr. Magoo wrote:
Why wasn't he simply arrested, based on that video evidence?

i don't know. maybe the 3.56 worth of food isn't worth 3,000.00 in police wages?

Quote:
And what should store owners do, other than admit that being robbed regularly is their fair price to pay for being petit bourgeoisie, or whatever?

i personally would suggest they support social programs and guaranteed incomes of a livable amount. this would drop the increasing number of poverty crimes anti-poverty groups warned about over the last decade at least.

Quote:
I guess I'm just not "feeling" how this is just a war on everyone in a shabby coat, rather than a reasonable response to people who choose to be assholes.

i consider it karma. you vote to keep people poor and oppressed and crimes of poverty and dispair goes up.

Quizzical might not be familiar with all the details of the Lucky Moose case, which we discussed here at great length from 2009 to 2013 - including Stephen Harper and Olivia Chow both pandering to the vigilantist tough-on-crime crowd.

But I must say, my heart tells me to support everything quizzical said here.

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

As I recall from the Lucky Moose incident, lots of folks thought it inappropriate for a private citizen to deal with a repeat shoplifter.  But evidently the police shouldn't either.

Is it unreasonable to ask what a shopkeeper is supposed to do?

So far we've got "they should vote for better social policies" -- as though any of us here knows that they haven't already.

Quote:
I don't actually have a problem with refusing to let someone in a store if they have repeatedly been a problem. I deal with that myself, though I have never refused anyone service.

There is a big difference between that and writing it into the law, and having the cops enforce something that isn't based on court decisions, but on the whims of some shopkeeper.

So it's OK for a shopkeeper to refuse to let someone into their place of business if they've been a problem, but nobody should enforce that -- just leave it up to the goodwill of the troublemaker?  Hope they're cool with it, and voluntarily stay away??

I think it's worth noting that under this Initiative, if someone is told not to return, and they don't, then nobody is criminalized and nobody is ticketed.  It's only when someone says "fuck that, I'm going back" that the law would be involved.  Who should be involved at that point if not the law?

6079_Smith_W

The Lucky Moose case is a good illustration of this (and I alluded to it above), because there is a difference between someone put in a position where they feel they have to break the law because of police inaction, and laws which sanction vigilanteeism, and ignore due process.

It is important to remember that Chen was acquitted not because the judge sanctioned what he did, but because it was unclear what happened, and there was reasonable doubt.

If it is a question of acting like a vigilante, I have to plead guilty myself; after I saw a women bowled over by an obvious drunk driver some years back (she lost part of her front teeth) I sat on the guy's hood to stop him from getting away, and called the cops. He did manage to get away, and although I got his license number, by the time the cops got to his home they couldn't charge him, because he was out of the car. Me being able to identify him wasn't good enough. That's the law.

Galling?  Yeah. And similarly although I have never hog-tied any alleged suspects (maybe I should have) I do understand the frustration of having to put up with thievery. None of that justifies laws like this, which are probably unconstitutional.

 

6079_Smith_W

Of course there is no perfect solution; but if you can't blame some people for stealing bread you can't blame other people for objecting to being the public free food bin.

But  at the very least if there is enough to lay a charge it should go before a judge before someone is barred.

Again, realizing that this happens all the time when it comes to bars. My point is it is different when the cops are expected to enforce it and charge people without any evidence of a previous crime..

 

quizzical

Unionist wrote:
quizzical wrote:
Mr. Magoo wrote:
Why wasn't he simply arrested, based on that video evidence?

i don't know. maybe the 3.56 worth of food isn't worth 3,000.00 in police wages?

Quote:
And what should store owners do, other than admit that being robbed regularly is their fair price to pay for being petit bourgeoisie, or whatever?

i personally would suggest they support social programs and guaranteed incomes of a livable amount. this would drop the increasing number of poverty crimes anti-poverty groups warned about over the last decade at least.

Quote:
I guess I'm just not "feeling" how this is just a war on everyone in a shabby coat, rather than a reasonable response to people who choose to be assholes.

i consider it karma. you vote to keep people poor and oppressed and crimes of poverty and dispair goes up.

Quizzical might not be familiar with all the details of the Lucky Moose case, which we discussed here at great length from 2009 to 2013 - including Stephen Harper and Olivia Chow both pandering to the vigilantist tough-on-crime crowd.

But I must say, my heart tells me to support everything quizzical said here.

tks. i took a quick look over. 'i must say' i'm not quite sure the point mom was trying to make.

there's some names there  i recognize  who are still here and others not so much, where'd they go?

Sean in Ottawa

Mr. Magoo wrote:

As I recall from the Lucky Moose incident, lots of folks thought it inappropriate for a private citizen to deal with a repeat shoplifter.  But evidently the police shouldn't either.

Is it unreasonable to ask what a shopkeeper is supposed to do?

So far we've got "they should vote for better social policies" -- as though any of us here knows that they haven't already.

Quote:
I don't actually have a problem with refusing to let someone in a store if they have repeatedly been a problem. I deal with that myself, though I have never refused anyone service.

There is a big difference between that and writing it into the law, and having the cops enforce something that isn't based on court decisions, but on the whims of some shopkeeper.

So it's OK for a shopkeeper to refuse to let someone into their place of business if they've been a problem, but nobody should enforce that -- just leave it up to the goodwill of the troublemaker?  Hope they're cool with it, and voluntarily stay away??

I think it's worth noting that under this Initiative, if someone is told not to return, and they don't, then nobody is criminalized and nobody is ticketed.  It's only when someone says "fuck that, I'm going back" that the law would be involved.  Who should be involved at that point if not the law?

The galling part -- I thought -- was that the police would enforce a whim or unstated reason which could be racism or anything else.

The middle ground could be that the shopkeepers can ban people and have it enforced but they have to give reasons that are regulated and the person banned ought to be able to challenge and if the reasons are found to be unreasonable then have to make pay damages.

There are two issues -- one is if a person like ashopkeeper can ban people coming but the second is that tehre must be accountibility for why and it should be backed up by law enforcement as well and potential court challenge.

The shopkeeper should not be the final authority and not have to give any reasons.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Evidently, if one wants the support of the authorities, there's a form that must be filled out.  I can't seem to find it online, but I don't think I'm being a hopeless optimist when I imagine that it includes a space for "reason for ban", nor when I imagine that entering "because he's brown" would be insufficient.

What's more, the police evidently get to decide whether or not to enforce the ban.  And I know how that sounds odious and full of problem, but it's actually no different from asking for charges to be laid -- the police can similarly either do that, or not do that, at their discretion.  In neither case is the shopkeeper the final authority, and in neither case does the law obligate the police to act.

Also, as I understand it, this all works at the "individual" level -- which is to say that a shopkeeper cannot simply ban "all young punks" or whatever.

Unionist

Olivia Chow authored a private members' bill to make it easier for business people to pursue shoplifters. Harper picked up on it and proposed it. The NDP supported it.

Then, Mulcair's promise to spend more money to recruit cops.

So nice to see all this support for the poor oppressed business people who are watching their slim profit margins go all to hell, while the addicts and homeless and persons of colour rob them blind with impunity.

To Magoo's question as to what a business person should do in such circumstances:

1. Call the police.

2. If the police do nothing, raise a stink.

3. If that doesn't work, shut down your business and get a job.

Just trying to be helpful.

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

4. admit that being robbed regularly is their fair price to pay for being petit bourgeoisie, or whatever

6079_Smith_W

Thanks for the vote of confidence in small business, Unionist.

Where would you suggest shopkeepers like myself get a job if we can't cut it in the free market because too much of our stuff gets stolen (or people get murdered, as happened in two robberies this week in Edmonton)? For a better organized chain where they can afford the security to extort money from suspected shoplifters, maybe?

Or maybe at CHCH. I hear they might have some positions opening up.

I think we all share concern for persecution of poor people. That is why I opened this thread. But despite this bad response on the part of the City of Regina there are real problems facing everyone affected by this. Painting it as evil shopkeepers against the poor is not only false; it doesn't address the problem, because while not all shopkeepers are going to resort to bans based on profiling, many of them face the same frustrations.

Unionist

So Smith, what would you add to my 3 suggestions? Or subtract?

6079_Smith_W wrote:
Painting it as evil shopkeepers against the poor is not only false; it doesn't address the problem, because while not all shopkeepers are going to resort to bans based on profiling, many of them face the same frustrations.

Totally agree. The problem is not "evil shopkeepers" (your straw man concoction, not mine).

Here's the problem: Stephen Harper. Olivia Chow. And all other pandering ambitious politicians who are ready to divide in order to rule. We must rise above that. We must recognize who are real allies are. And if small business people (like that vile David Chen) consider marginalized people of colour to be their enemies, then we should sit them down and explain life to them kindly and gently. Especially, how they are being used to promote a fascist agenda.

 

6079_Smith_W

I thought I said that clear enough. Your number 3 is reactionary nonsense that is no better than telling the poor they should move someplace else if they can't get shelter, food, or a decent job. It has nothing to do with the problem here, which is a bad law. Nor does it do anything to deal with the real issues of poverty; it just makes it worse by setting groups affected by it as enemies.

I get it that it is easy and fashionable to play business owners as a scapegoat here, though in fact no one has come forward with accusations of profiling on their part in this case. The problem is that this law opens the door to that by businesses, security and police.

Though if your goal here is to draw people into a coalition to make things better  and see that others aren't the enemy, calling them "vile" is probably not a good place to start.

The protest today:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/regina-mall-singers-make-a-po...

 

 

JKR

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

The galling part -- I thought -- was that the police would enforce a whim or unstated reason which could be racism or anything else.

And racism is a huge virulent problem in Regina. I know many First Nations people who live in Regina and other parts of Saskatchewan and they have an endless amount of examples of how they have been treated unfairly just because they are Native. They live this reality day in and day out so it should come as no surprise that they don't trust shopkeepers and the police to be fair to them. Many of them see that they are followed around by security whenever they enter many establishments when similar white customers are not. It would be interesting to see the statistics on the racial background of people affected by this new policing method in Regina.

6079_Smith_W

That is part of the problem. According to the article the cops are not being too forthcoming about how it is being applied.

Slumberjack

We seem to be running out of places where Capitalism's rejects can go.

Debater

oldgoat wrote:

Depending on your motivation for doing so, there's nothing like a big formal inquiry to just kick the can down the road quite a ways.

Chantal Hébert said this month that Justin Trudeau is the first Prime Minister she has covered that seems genuinely interested in helping First Nations.

She cited the appointment of Jody Wilson-Raybould as Justice Minister as an example of a big change.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
And if small business people (like that vile David Chen) consider marginalized people of colour to be their enemies, then we should sit them down and explain life to them kindly and gently.

And if he said of someone who repeatedly stole from him "this is my brother and my ally" then you'd need to start referring to him as Saint David of Moose.

As an Asian-Canadian, I doubt that we have a whole lot to teach him about people of colour, but really?  He's supposed to stand shoulder to shoulder with someone whose life goal is to basically steal as much from him as he can?  Or else Chen is just promoting a "fascist agenda"??

Unionist

Actually, Magoo, if Chen's solution to being shoplifted is to get a posse, chase down and assault and hogtie the perp, and then pose for photos with Olivia Chow as a hero of oppression... he's no ally of mine. It's not him promoting the "fascist agenda". It's the Stephen Harpers, plus their useful idiots like Olivia Chow. As for how he defends his sacred property and business, I don't personally give a fuck, as long as he abides by the laws of the land.

If you can't see how the "tough on crime" agenda divides people who ought to be natural allies, then I am forced to pity you. I also pity people who are so good at defending "their own" interests (like the oppressed small businesspeople upthread), but are coldly incapable of empathizing with the plight of others who are still more oppressed. They're not my allies either.

 

quizzical

Unionist wrote:
To Magoo's question as to what a business person should do in such circumstances:

1. Call the police.

2. If the police do nothing, raise a stink.

3. If that doesn't work, shut down your business and get a job.

Just trying to be helpful.

i still think small and med biz owners should lobby for social programs and support parties who want to build them.

economics aren't good if social realities aren't good.

don't be silly about shutting down businesses. where are people going to find jobs if there's no where to get a job?

Unionist

Listen quizzical, I'm not ever, ever, going to sympathize with a law-and-order agenda that "protects" businesses, big or small, against persons of colour mired in poverty and suffering from addictions. That was the story in Lucky Moose. The solution is not giving businessmen the power to go arrest shoplifters. The solution is to build a society free of poverty and discrimination, and where small businesses aren't at constant risk of annihilation from their real enemies - big business and the politicians who lick their boots.

So don't lecture me about shutting down businesses. I get it. If businessmen need to support Harper to keep their businesses, because "where else are they going to find jobs", they can fuck off and join the ranks of the poor. Do them a lot of good.

 

quizzical

you totally took me wrong. i'm totally in sync with you on this.

Unionist

quizzical wrote:

you totally took me wrong. i'm totally in sync with you on this.

Sorry. I thought so before. I misunderstood.

 

6079_Smith_W

Oh for fuck sakes.

Can we can it with this allies and enemies nonsense? Because it really is nonsense, and completely irrelevant to dealing with these problems of poverty and illegal laws.

Someone voting conservative or getting so frustrated they break the law makes injustices against them no longer our concern? Does that apply to homeless people too, or just the self-employed? And being driven into poverty is not some sort of just punishment that will presumably teach us that being stolen from is okay. Sorry, but theft is not okay; condoning it is not a solution to poverty, and poverty is the situation we are presumably trying to get rid of. When we work to solve these problems it is not just for so-called allies, but for everyone.

Saskatoon put out a pamphlet a few years ago, which wasn't as bad as this, but also warned businesses about alcoves, benches, and other places where people could congregate. Essentially it was fearmongering - portraying anyone hanging out as a potential criminal - which is bizarre, because you'd think businesses would want nothing more than to have an active street scene.

And of course, they bulldozed the McDonalds in our downtown, specifically  because it was the one place where homeless people were able to hangout for little money and without being harrassed.

 

 

quizzical

answer: social health

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

It's amusing to me to note that there's evidently a special onus on shopkeepers to be the vanguards of utopia (or else accept that if someone is repeatedly stealing from them it's their own fault for not being vanguards of utopia like they should).

And that shopkeepers, should they confront someone stealing their livelihood, should link arms with that thief, and together they should fight the "real" enemy.

And heck, it's even kind of funny that if a shopkeeper doesn't really appreciate having his good stolen then they must be his "sacred" goods.

I was pretty pissed off the last time my bike was stolen.  I guess it was my "sacred" bike and maybe I'm better off just rethinking my obvious obsession with material things, and trying to find the fuckwad who stole it so we can be brothers together.  Same as when one of my "allies" broke into my garage.  Or that brother who smashed his way into my house and went room-to-room taking what he needed for the struggle.

Unionist

Straw men galore.

People who whine and cry about petty theft, and demand that the authorities do something about it, can find better places to weep and wail than a progressive discussion board.

We want to change the world for the better. Even the Regina Manifesto was light years ahead of the reactionary comments in this thread.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
People who whine and cry about petty theft, and demand that the authorities do something about it, can find better places to weep and wail than a progressive discussion board.

I think I just found one of those straw men.

6079_Smith_W

I don't know what is more ridiculous, expecting anyone to believe you don't care about being stolen from, or this ridiculous assumption about people in my profession defending our sacred property and business.

If you know anything at all about retail then you know how utterly absurd that is.

As for what belongs on a progressive board, and you being the arbiter of that, there actually is a serious reason why I'd like to cut this scapegoating crap and get back to the issue at hand.

The OP is about this bylaw which discriminates against the poor, and sets businesses against them,  as I said above. But if there is any concern for affect on business people (and I wasn't the one who brought that up) miserly thoughts about my own shop aren't really my main concern, despite the assumptions about how my people think. Rather, what is first in my mind is our local grocery store, and the security guard who is now there every day, where  there was never one a year ago. 

Why? Because I know that is one more step toward shutting the place down completely, and people in my neighbourhood - a fairly big one - having no food store that is accessible on foot.

It's not just possible; it is highly likely, considering the west side and core of Saskatoon spent over a decade with no grocery store, and the poorest people in this city having to hire cabs, ride bus, or live on donuts. Why? Of course it is in part because they want to concentrate on big box stores, and rising rental rates; but tied into that is also the cycle of poverty and crime. In the case of that restaurant downtown, which was doing a booming business, it was targetted specifically because it was a place where poor people could be.

So while it is kind of quaint to cast this as some class war out of the 19th century, the reality is that this is bad for everyone, and the worst part of it is this nonsense about needing to find some enemy; it is just as false and harmful when we are talking about shopkeepers doing their best to stay above water (and I have seen many fail in the past year), as it is when it is store owners and security guards starting a police file on people just because they don't like their looks.

 

 

Sean in Ottawa

I have never been one of those who argued that business should do charity or support any particular causes. Perhaps the leftist sociologist in me finds the concept out of place. Businesses have a role and function in society and that is what they are designed to do. They are not accountable to the public and so I would not want to see any public acceptance that they should be charged with providing social goods other than responsibly providing their services and goods, following the law, adding value to wealth, and returning a fair portion of that back to the public in taxes.

Sure corporations should be responsible entities. But they are not for social good. And this is why I tell them to shut up when they say they can be trusted to self regulate or address public goods. That IS what government is for. And I fight business interests when they suggest that the government should not do those things.

Business should, within the rules and with reasonable responsibility provide what they are mandated to do and make money. Their role in the economy is to provide goods and services and make money.

This is why I support activist government -- that understands the role of business and does not expect business to represent or carry out the public good. That is what government -- public enterprise is for as well as regulation and taxation.

That said, while I do not expect business to carry out the public good, I will challenge them hard when they disagree with the government needing to tax them enough and provide what they are not designed to do. I also challenge business when they claim that the money they collect is theirs: capital attracts public capital and some of that has to be returned through taxes to the public as theirs.

I do not expect the public to offer businesses vigilante rights. I think that public policing should be made to be effective. And that may mean taxing the businesses even more in exchange for better services but they have a right to be protected within the law. However, business is being hypocritical when they demand the tax cuts but want first priority in policing over everyone else.

A person who owns a business has the same obligation to advocate for a better society as any other person. Not more or less. They are also no more or less responsible when it comes to political activism. But we must all recognize the value of the public's expression of interest and that goes through public entities like government and not business. Business is hypocritical whan it seeks the responsibility for the public and then complains when others say -- well then deliver. I wouold rather reject them at the first step and see the public retain the responsibility and tax accordingly to deliver it.

I mostly agree with what Smith is saying here as he has no contradicted any of this. And we should not assume that individual businesses are all right wing or that they should not do what they should under the law to protect their interests and those of the shareholder. We misplace the responsibility of government on them when we expect them to deliver public good. Smith is to the left politically and so as a business person he supports these general principles so does not deserve to be slammed for protecting his legal interest.

 

6079_Smith_W

I hear you Sean, and it's not like I don't know plenty of business people who are working against solutions, against the poor, and against smaller renters. All the more reason to be concerned about the situation in Regina.

Gentrification is a problem here, as higher-end businesses are moving to what used to be the poorest neighbourhoods in this town. I actually had a conversation with someone who seriously felt the food bank should move because it was unfairly stigmatizing the neighbourhood, since poverty is not just a reality in the city's west side. The fact she also felt it as bad for her business... well that was a secondary consideration.

Thing is, she was a right-wing jerk because she was a right-wing jerk, not because she was in business, and therefore more predisposed to chasing filthy lucre than honest workers.

And although sure, I deal with thievery without feeling the need to break the law, I certainly understand why some feel driven to that and I see it as just as much a symptom of poverty as thievery. As for the notion that they should go out of business if they can't take it, personally I don't see a row of boarded up stores as a solution to anything, and I sure don't want it in my neighbourhood any more than I want heritage buildings turned into parking lots, or people having to sleep under the bridge.

 

 

 

lagatta

While I wholeheartedly agree with the original idea in this thread - that nobody should be refused admittance to a shop or other business because they look shabby - or are the wrong colour - and oppose vigilante action - one thing that must be kept in mind is that poor people - who can't afford alarms and security cameras and are often working long hours in several precarious jobs - are very often targets of thieves. It is just another of the many shitty things that happens to people without money.  And I'm sure as hell not rightwing or pro-capitalist.

A friend went to visit family in Cornwall Ontario recently and said there are no proper supermarkets in the central city there anymore either. Nothing much more reactionary than obliging people who don't have enough to live to run a car to get to the supermarket. Petty crime can never be a solution for poor communities, as it undermines solidarity among their people.

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