Gill's dehumanizing talk of 'tough love' shows where Surrey's priorities lie

Tom Gill's tough-love.jpg

LETTERS: Gill’s dehumanizing talk of ‘tough love’ shows where Surrey’s priorities lie

Tom Gill taking heat after he said the city was going to start treating people on the Strip with ‘tough love.’

  • Editor,

Re: “‘Tough love’ coming to Surrey’s Strip,” the Now-Leader, Sept. 1.

Acting Surrey Mayor Tom Gill’s conversation with the Now-Leader’s Amy Reid offers some troubling insights into the city’s outlook regarding homeless people in Surrey and whose interests the city is most committed to serving.

Hint: It’s not homeless people.

Gill’s comments make clear that the city is most concerned about the needs of businesses in Whalley. He mentions concerns of business twice in the relatively short piece. This corroborates details in city documents from the public safety committee that I have accessed and read as part of my research on homelessness in Surrey.

Notably, while the Surrey Outreach Team holds business engagement meetings with the Downtown Surrey BIA, and engagement activities with the BIA three times a week, homeless people are not present and “engaged.” The Response Plan Status Report is explicit that its approach is “to develop solutions to the issues raised by business.”Not homeless residents but business. That says plenty.

What Gill is peddling may indeed be tough, but it can in no way be called love.

Dr. Jeff Shantz, Department of Criminology, Kwantlen Polytechnic University