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Should Toronto outlaw panhandling?

Posted by Derek Flack / August 8, 2011

Toronto outlaw PanhandlingIn article entitled "How Rob Ford could improve T.O." the Toronto Sun suggests that Mayor Rob Ford consider a ban on panhandling, doing away with the mandatory plastic bag fee, and implementing a cyclist licensing program. We've already polled readers about the latter two suggestions at one point or another, but what about the first? Is this an idea that makes any sense?

There's little doubt that aggressive panhandlers can pose a nuisance to pedestrians going about their business, but one wonders whether or not the desire to outlaw such an enterprise just misdiagnoses the symptom for the disease. The presence of panhandlers on city streets marks a deeper problem than social awkwardness, and merely banning the activity does little to address the core problem of poverty.

Below is some feedback from our Twitter followers on the Sun's suggestion and an opportunity to vote in a poll on the subject. Given the sentiment of the tweets, the poll is hardly placed in a neutral context, but I wanted a way to keep the question open beyond the initial Twitter call.

@blogTO The safe streets act back in the early 2000s tried to address the same problem. Its only a move to criminalize the poor. Sad times.less than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone

@blogTO re: outlaw panhandling suggestion->Outlawing panhandling not the answer. We need more programs to get help them homes & jobsless than a minute ago via Seesmic

@blogTO As long as they include those charity solicitors who bug you for credit card donations as you're walking down the street.less than a minute ago via UberSocial for BlackBerry

Not before they outlaw SunTV. "@blogTO: Recently the Sun suggested that Toronto outlaw panhandling. Thoughts/comments on this idea?"less than a minute ago via Twitter for Mac

@blogTO Completely support this. Toronto would be a much cleaner city. See Sydney. Didn't see 1 panhandler or homeless person.less than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®

@blogTO outlawing panhandling will not solve anything. Toronto still needs to help these people get off the streets instead of fining themless than a minute ago via UberSocial for BlackBerry

@blogTO Outlawing panhandling is just another cost to keep a simple "nuisance" away & will = more crime. Better used in social programs.less than a minute ago via web

@blogTO Why doesn't the Toronto Sun support jailing all homeless and hungry people? They scare me when I go to Starbucks. #cdnpoli #torontoless than a minute ago via web

@blogTO I guess another more step towards police state is ONE way to handle the poverty problem.less than a minute ago via tGadget

@blogTO If outlawed, then the city needs to come up with a realistic and solid means of ending poverty.less than a minute ago via web

@blogTO As far as I can tell...pan handlers are the only people that use the Sun..for bedding & ground-cover since it's unreadable.less than a minute ago via web

@blogTO I've been suggesting a panhandling district on Toronto Island for years.less than a minute ago via Twitter for Mac

Hope they're ready to fund homeless shelters RT @blogTO: Recently the Sun suggested that Toronto outlaw panhandling. Thoughts/comments?less than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®

POLL


Photo by Spirited_Away in the blogTO Flickr pool

Discussion

72 Comments

Kieren / August 8, 2011 at 02:25 pm
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You know, for proponents of smaller government, the Sun sure likes to ban things.

They can outlaw it, but it won't work.
anon / August 8, 2011 at 02:29 pm
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There have been numerous city staff reports on this, and they all point to the fact that such a law would violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This is really a non-issue. See, for instance:

http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/2006/agendas/committees/pof/pof060918/it040.pdf

BanMercedesBenz / August 8, 2011 at 02:31 pm
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GIVE US OUR SPECIAL DIET ALLOWANCE BACK! Outlawing panhandling is just another way for the Ford nation and other cronies to punish the poor. Guess what, us poor people cannot be legislated against. Just work with us to make a more just society...okay? I know that every time a squeegee kid goes wild, the haters try to imprison all homeless folk. Of course, outlawing panhandling, one of the world's oldest professions, is futile. I'm fine with giving a few extra quarters to fellow impoverished when I'm in line @ McDonalds or the bank. Respect for ALL PEOPLE, not just taxpayers.
gadfly / August 8, 2011 at 02:31 pm
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When the city started cracking down on panhandlers several years back, it did make a difference. There has been a slow return of them, but their numbers don't seem to be anywhere near where they were a decade ago.
Whatever NYC is doing must be working because on a recent trip there we only saw one panhandler in the 4 days we were there - and we walked and walked one end of Manhattan to the other. Compare that just to Church St. from Isabella to Carlton where on a given day you're bound to be approached by at least 2 or 3.
josher / August 8, 2011 at 02:32 pm
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I love some of the twitter comments, esp. Erik R. Alder's

"As far as I can tell...pan handlers are the only people that use the Sun..for bedding & ground-cover since it's unreadable."

PoorBastard / August 8, 2011 at 02:32 pm
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Give us our SPECIAL DIET allowance back. Our basic needs are not being met.
Fran replying to a comment from anon / August 8, 2011 at 02:34 pm
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Just because there have been a few reports on the subject doesn't make it a non-issue. Deputy Mayor Holyday is apparently pushing on this one, and since when do you think Ford and Co. will heed the recommendations of staff reports?
PoorBastard / August 8, 2011 at 02:35 pm
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Give Us our SPECIAL DIET ALLOWANCE back. We are hungry too.
Mike / August 8, 2011 at 02:41 pm
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I'm not saying it's the case with all panhandlers (and it isn't), but take a look at the gentleman in the picture above. He appears to be young and able-bodied. There's no excuse for him to be sitting on his ass looking for handouts. This goes for many other panhandlers you'll encounter on a regular basis in this city.
Genius / August 8, 2011 at 02:44 pm
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I have an even better suggestion: ban gridlock, ttc delays and smog! So many problems can be solved.
McRib / August 8, 2011 at 02:44 pm
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they can ban panhandlers after they ban the charities for basically doing the exact same thing, sometimes more aggressively as well.
PoorBastard replying to a comment from Mike / August 8, 2011 at 02:46 pm
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Appearances can be deceiving. What if the man pictured has a mental illness, criminal record or is otherwise unable to work? ODSP and Ontario Works do not pay a living benefit. Judging by you comments about appearances, you probably think there would be less sexual assault in the world if women stopped "dressing slutty". GIVE US OUR SPECIAL DIET ALLOWANCE BACK.
J.Rai / August 8, 2011 at 02:47 pm
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Being from Vancouver, I find the panhandling in Toronto to be neither plentiful nor aggressive.
Myles / August 8, 2011 at 02:51 pm
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A polite "no" is gracefully accepted by the average panhandler. However, those street fundraisers will ask again and again, try for your pity, joke, etc...basically accost you. It's really annoying. Neither should be banned. We are adults, we can handle it.

All those three ideas are the worst.
yep / August 8, 2011 at 02:54 pm
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The City doesn't have the power to make panhandling a criminal act. They don't have the constitutional authority. They would need to pass a bylaw, and then all they can do is "fine" someone for panhandling because it violates the bylaw, which would likely be an unconstitutional bylaw anyways. Good luck collecting that fine. Maybe if the fine isn't paid the city could just add it to the person's property taxes or vehicle registration costs....oh wait.


John / August 8, 2011 at 03:05 pm
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Don't need to outlaw it as long as it's not aggressive. I sometimes feel like I'm in Curb Your Enthusiasm moment when I walk down the streets. Between panhandlers and solicitors there is no social requirement for me to answer back if you say "excuse me sir" to me or any other kind of verbal address.

We all know if you are a panhandler or a solicitor, and if we want to hear your pitch we will stop.

Some of these folks address you and I don't feel a need to have to respond back every time. And then when they get upset or say something under their breath after you walk past.
Mike replying to a comment from PoorBastard / August 8, 2011 at 03:06 pm
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Yes, PoorBastard, appearances can deceiving...except when they're not. I understand that some people are out on the street and do suffer from mental illness and are destitute for a legitimate reason, but you're being naive if you think that this is always the case. Certain people panhandle because it's easier than actually finding a job.
PoorBastard replying to a comment from Mike / August 8, 2011 at 03:13 pm
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I don't buy the bullshit line that panhandlers make $20 an hour on the right streets. Being homeless and poverty afflicted sucks folks. Panhandling is not a choice unless it's a young person's thing to get away from homelife for a few weeks which usually means that the person is destined for poverty anyway. RETURN THE SPECIAL DIET ALLOWANCE.
Joe Scratch / August 8, 2011 at 03:14 pm
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Tax the panhandlers. They are making a living while paying no property (street) tax. Pandhandlers can make more then a working person on a minumum wage job that has to pay for rent, groceries, transportation etc.
RoyalYork / August 8, 2011 at 03:17 pm
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round them all up and ship them over to Royal York where they can hang out with our mayor and the prime minister over the BBQ. The conversations would be priceless!
Niklas / August 8, 2011 at 03:22 pm
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Ban it. They are annoying and some of them have the attitude that they are entitled to my change and act like I'm an asshole for not giving them any of MY hard earned money.

If they want help from society force them to go to shelters and soup kitchens and offer programs to get them off the street.

Also, ban the people wanting money for charity. They are WORSE than the homeless with their "heeey guuuuys, hows it goooing?". Asshats.
TJ / August 8, 2011 at 03:25 pm
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Studies have been done in the past which suggest more than 2/3 of panhandlers have mental illness(es). The majority of the 1/3 are able bodied men and women who can work (physical labour are jobs too). And a majority of all refuse "help" (the City knows this because they keep track of such when volunteers like my friend went to try and help the homeless/panhandlers). So who wants to pay for the mental illness medication these people sorely need? Depending on the type of mental illness and severity, it can easily average about $120 a month of drugs. Who makes sure they take the medication or not sell it for money/booze/drugs?
It's not a simply solution. No one in the world can sustain a long term solution to solving poverty so for those who suggest we need to do it is naive.

Why would anyone want to "work" when the make more money panhandling than cutting grass/gardening, warehousing work, etc? The real solution is for everyone not to give them any money and they simply move on or finally, give in to "help". I personally don't think banning it is "picking on the poor". I've seen way too many drunk/high panhandlers for my liking.
tnt / August 8, 2011 at 03:31 pm
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My experience with panhandling is that the more you encourage them to stay in your area, the greater your risk of having your property broken in to... also there seems to be a direct correlation between panhandling and drug traffic, not hard drugs or pot, but pills and pharmaceuticals .....so it's not really an issue of people being able bodied or not, it's more a situation where a certain undesirable element masks itself behind the panhandlers....encouraging it to stay may in some cases degrade an area to an extent far beyond the annoyance
of busy people trying to make a living and pay taxes..
Peter Panhandler / August 8, 2011 at 03:38 pm
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Ban the people nagging you on the street on both sides of the side walk on BOTH sides of the street for your credit card for charities. I've noticed they even FOLLOW people down the street now as well, it's pretty brazen, which I'm pretty sure panhandlers aren't even allowed to do.
unknown / August 8, 2011 at 03:59 pm
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I have a question. what's up with people throwing change back at you, if you didnt have a loonie, ot toonie?
WTF?
Can someone allow givers to give an ass-kick to those who reject their money this way?
unknown replying to a comment from BanMercedesBenz / August 8, 2011 at 04:02 pm
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Just today saw a panhandler throwing back a chage into a dude who gave him several (5-6) silver coins - dimes and nickels.
mr7eh / August 8, 2011 at 04:02 pm
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as anyone who has panhandled will tell you, its a desperate attempt at getting access to a quick fox of alcohol or drugs, or MAYBE food. and when you get that money placed in your hands, you FEEL like you just robbed someone. so later on when its 4am and you cant panhandle maybe youll just breeak in to a store/home or maybe try and rob someone. panhandling is giving people handouts that we dont typically give to anyone except retards on disability, so yes... it should be illegal. It does not promote any sort of good behavior all it does is allow the bum to grow comfortable as a leech on society.
unknown replying to a comment from McRib / August 8, 2011 at 04:05 pm
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charities? c'mon! they say that less then to 30% of donations goes to the real cause, and the reast is administration.
anon-y / August 8, 2011 at 04:06 pm
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I've lived here all my life and don't find our panhandling situation to be out of control. I agree, however, that Toronto should take a look at banning charities that solicit on the street. I'm downtown a lot, commuting and walking here and there for errands. One day I was asked by 4 different people from 2 different charities in a 2 block radius of the downtown core. On a streetcar ride from downtown to the west end of the city I counted 6 individuals standing on the sidewalk with clipboards. When I was a student living in Kensington Market, sometimes after work all I wanted to do was grab a few groceries in peace, and not feel like a tool for a) not wanting to be privvy to a charity pitch and b) not having enough cash to pony up for a donation
Matt / August 8, 2011 at 04:06 pm
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Toronto really doesn't have a panhandling problem, compared with Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary/Edmonton.

And those we do have tend to be non-aggressive.

Besides, an outright ban on panhandling is impossible, since, as someone pointed out above, a ban would contradict the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Jason / August 8, 2011 at 04:44 pm
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As much as I hate panhandling, banning it would be an infringement of our civil rights. We need more freedom in ththis country, not less. Plus, when did banning something ever stop it? This will do nothing but further criminalize being poor.
CarloBisda / August 8, 2011 at 05:37 pm
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Outlawing panhandling will only cure a symptom, not the disease.

While also an infringement of out civil rights, how do we propose to outlaw panhandling? Fines? They wouldn't be panhandling if they hand money. Jail? So we can waste taxpayers money.

If this was such an issue, shouldn't there be a panel of some sort?

P.S: They better watch it too, if that infamous hacker group gets wind of this - who knows what they might do.
Jake / August 8, 2011 at 05:41 pm
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What are you going to do, fine them? Arrest them and throw them in prison? Put them in a truck and ship 'em somewhere else? Do we really want to be wasting tax money and police time rounding up pandhandlers?

I don't give money to panhandlers, because I don't think doing so is really helping them. And it does bother me when they get aggressive or in my face about it (which is almost never). But let's face it, the simplest, cheapest and most practical solution is to simply ignore them if they offend you so much.

James / August 8, 2011 at 06:17 pm
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Apparently, people who write "The Sun" have never tried sleeping on a park bench, after the middle of the month money has run out on welfare.

Hows this for an idea: make our wonderful politicians who set welfare (and more importantly, long term disability) rates live on them for a month or two. Just set them up like they are schizophrenic, so they are to take a handfull of pills that totally mess them up each day, and smoke at least a pack a day, and pay room and board somewhere in Toronto.

Oh, wait. You can't afford all of that on GAINS-D or whatever they're calling it this week. You run out of money about mid month...

Trying to get blood from a stone, is the old saying.
PoorBastard / August 8, 2011 at 06:40 pm
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Forget it. I've seen the light. Many panhandlers should be rounded up by train and delivered to an encampment down near the undeveloped lake front.
Butternuts replying to a comment from Myles / August 8, 2011 at 06:51 pm
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Just where did all these 'charitable donation corporate panhandlers' come from anyhow? It's unbearable walking on Queen Street West some days, trying to dodge these gangs of interceptor kids. They're more destructive to the neighborhood than panhandlers who genuinely need the money. Ban the organized charity panhandlers (especially the WORST offender, the "Because I'm a Girl" gang please.)
W. K. Lis / August 8, 2011 at 07:11 pm
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Are there no workhouses?
Are there no prisons?

Bah! Humbug!
belvedere replying to a comment from W. K. Lis / August 8, 2011 at 07:44 pm
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u beat me to it!

christ almighty i pay a shitload of taxes, some of which goes to welfare programs. let them eat from tax-funded soup kitchens. my taxes already pay for too many social parasites than to suffer them waving their dirty tim's cups at me when i'm walking home from a hard day's work.

i do not include buskers amongst the parasites. even the most tuneless busker is at least making an effort to justify donations. i always hand them some change (even bills sometimes).

and yes pls remove those obnoxious charity workers. preferably by force.
Daniel / August 8, 2011 at 07:54 pm
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how the eff did the above comment stay on this blog, yet mine got deleted.

WTF!!!!
pops / August 8, 2011 at 08:18 pm
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enforcing that law would be hilarious. (especially, you know, when there's crime and stuff happening around town.)

'hey, man.'
'what's up?'
'here's a ticket for panhandling. saw you doing it. now beat it.'
'no problem mr. officer. where should I send the cheque to?
'say what?'
'and who should I make it out to?'
'don't be a smart ass.'
'maybe you guys prefer an email transfer? what's your email?'
Daniel / August 8, 2011 at 08:26 pm
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the only way for a bum to pay the fine would be for the officer to loot their bounty (read: dirty tim horton's coffee cup filled with change)
Rmund / August 8, 2011 at 08:29 pm
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The panhandler's I'd LIKE to see removed from the city streets are the ones that have a better pair of sneakers than I do!

turdface / August 8, 2011 at 10:33 pm
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Ban those Sick Kids fundraising dicks.
Thomas / August 8, 2011 at 11:02 pm
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Ban those Sick Kids panhandlers instead. They're the only ones that make me cross the street in fear.
kat / August 8, 2011 at 11:33 pm
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I am so sick of rich people picking on poor people when rich people are the real problem, screwing up our economy and running around trying to put the blame on others. It's sickening. Why don't we outlaw greedy bankers and horrible bosses instead? I'd vote for that.
Antony / August 9, 2011 at 12:01 am
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The Sun and Rob Ford, governing by grudge and spite.

Who else is an inconvenience, let's ban them. That will be sure to help the city's $9700 million yearly budget and get the government off our backs.

hand / August 9, 2011 at 12:28 am
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This "law would violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms." HAAHAAH you're so cute!!
Dmitri / August 9, 2011 at 12:43 am
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"Ford likes to say 'loosen the belt'. Man of his size should not be saying this."
Troy / August 9, 2011 at 08:53 am
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Not a fan of Panhandlers, and this is due to a few week ago when i was walking by 2 of them, and overheard one talking about how he pulls in roughly $200 cash on some good days.

could you imagine getting $1000 a week for life tax free? OLG says the odds are pretty slim.
Rob Ford / August 9, 2011 at 09:22 am
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I HAVE AN IDEA LETS MAKE IT ILLEGAL TO BE POOR I AM NOT YELLING I AM JUST REALLY ENTHUSED AND DONT KNOW HOW TO USE PUNCTUATION!
LJ / August 9, 2011 at 09:35 am
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Twit Claireshegoes says "end poverty", well we can't. There will always be poor, lazy, unproductive or mentally ill people on our streets.I have lived at Spadina Bloor for 7 years and I've seen the same faces every day since then, they bum for change and sit on the Trinity church steps drinking beer all day long. They clearly don't care about anything and I'm not shelling out any money for them either. don't ban them, just ignore them and move on. Toronto has many programs and opportunities for people to better themselves.
Eric26 / August 9, 2011 at 12:22 pm
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Yeah, there's no point in asking this question because the law would be entirely unconstitutional. It'll never happen. Unsurprisingly, the idiots at The Sun don't seem to know how Canadian law works.
Sandra / August 9, 2011 at 01:46 pm
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Eh..Toronto panhandlers are pretty harmless compared to the aggressive ones I've encountered in NYC.
rek / August 9, 2011 at 01:59 pm
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I keep hearing about these aggressive nuisance panhandlers choking the sidewalks, but never see them myself.

I'm starting to wonder if it's a total fabrication by the media and right-wing politicians who need something to sensationalize the issue.
mikeb / August 9, 2011 at 02:33 pm
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I am disappointed that Rob Ford wants to ban yet another thing. Being the businessman that he is, I though he would suggest that panhandling be run like a business. Panhandlers need to be more entrepreneurial like Bush Man in San Francisco (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Famous_Bushman)
Fantomex replying to a comment from Mike / August 9, 2011 at 06:47 pm
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Hey Mike, do you know how much a job (minimum wage) pays? Do you know how much rent is for a one-bedroom apartment (even in Parkdale)? Do you know how hard it is to get into social housing, and how long the waiting lists are for that? Until you do, please stop parroting the bullshit the <i>Sun</i>'s peddling. Also, try asking the people on the street what problems they have before assuming anything (you know, the old saying about "making an ass out of 'u' and 'me'")?

@mikeb: One successful panhandler does not a movement of similar people make.

@belvedere: W.K. Lis was just being sarcastic when he said that. He did not mean it for real like you just did.

@TJ, mr7eh, Troy, Rmund, unknown #1, unknown #2, Mike, Royal York, Joe Scratch, Niklas; You all are such princes, do you know that? If you all can't stand the poor and homeless, then maybe you shouldn't be voting for the politicians that cause homelessness and poverty with their policies, OK? It's just that fracking simple, it's up to you, and it starts with you.
belvedere replying to a comment from Fantomex / August 10, 2011 at 07:13 am
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"It's just that fracking simple, it's up to you, and it starts with you."

yup u r absolutely right. now go and tell that to the panhandlers. clearly they haven't learned that individual resolve is what takes a person to new heights, not govt intervention. politicians cause homelessness?? u must be kidding. try selling that to a hard working immigrant who's clawed his/her way up from nothing.

wk lis was not kidding!
SirChompChomp / August 10, 2011 at 08:30 am
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Does it not seem crazy to ticket people who don't have any money to begin with? Sounds like a waste of the police time. It's not like those tickets will ever be paid. Most of the people panhandling are not even using their real names.
Marsup replying to a comment from BanMercedesBenz / August 10, 2011 at 12:21 pm
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@Banmercedesbenz,

"GIVE US OUR SPECIAL DIET ALLOWANCE BACK! Outlawing panhandling is just another way for the Ford nation and other cronies to punish the poor."

Oh Christ, cry me a river! Do you have any idea how many so-called 'panhandlers' are from Montreal?

We need to go back to the old days: have the cops drive these bums to city limits, and leave them there.

Bon voyage!
truefriction replying to a comment from Marsup / August 11, 2011 at 01:06 pm
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"We need to go back to the old days: have the cops drive these bums to city limits, and leave them there."

1 - This directly violates the charter, therefor you're anti-democratic. Police CANNOT forcibly relocate people to comply with a municipal bylaw, it's not in their jurisdiction. And frankly police want NOTHING to do this type of "law enforcement" they'd rather be staking out drug gangs.

2 - Dropping off a bunch of people with a high rate of mental health issues in an area with no access to support services or medication is a surefire means to create a whole host of problems.

3 - Droppping off a bunch of people with a high rate of drug addiction in an unfamiliar area, with no means to support their habit, and no dealers to get drugs off means you're going to have a bunch of addicts detoxing HARD with no where to go. Have you ever been around someone detoxing on crack? Heroin? They'll do anything for a hit, even dumb and violent crimes where they are sure to be caught.

4 - People LIVE on the 416 border, but clearly you could care less about them, or the crap they'll have to put up with hundreds of folks who can't get medication or are detoxing on their doorstep. If it was your house being broken into or your kids being stuck up for their smartphones to be pawned off for crack by a badly detoxing addict, I'm sure you'd be singing a different tune.

5 - Your views are so absurd it's hard not to view you as a troll.
Qwerty / August 12, 2011 at 12:14 am
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Well, lets look at it this way,

If somehow they did outlaw panhandlers or whatever, what is that really going to do? You jail them for a few days they go back into the streets and continue to panhandle, why? because they have no money, no jobs.

Two, is the city really that stupid to fine panhandlers when they have no money to begin with? "Here is a 30$ fine now i hope you can beg that by the end of tonight." Herp Derp.

I think creating more programs that will allow them to develop the skill to get a job will work out for the best. Plus if the city was smart enough... oh wait we have Rob Ford, LOL. Well, if he was smart enough he would know that More Jobs = Better Economy, but he chooses to cut all of our essential needs. Good Job Rob Ford us Torontians are proud of you!
Fantomex replying to a comment from belvedere / August 12, 2011 at 06:37 am
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Yep, here it comes: as soon as the absurdity of their position's pointed out, the neocon trolls that speak here bring up 'the immigrant' to beat the crap out of the poor, hungry and homeless that they hate.

So, I'm supposed to elevate the immigrant over a poor, hungry and homeless person, simply because they don't have what you and the rest of society call 'individual resolve' to get a job that pays shit in terms of affording a roof and four walls over your head and around your body? (BTW, numb nuts/numbskull, I did not say that 'politicians cause homelessness' I said that the <i>POLICIES</I> they all enact are what causes homelessness and hunger-is you reading comprehension any good? Or are you just that stupid on purpose?)

I''ve never known W.K. Lis to say the bullshit that you're saying (although maybe I was wrong, and he is agreeing with you? I hope not.)

I would love to see you and all of the people that have made these comments after a series of calamities lands you in hospital with a mental, emotional, or physical illness that lasts a long time and takes up half of your life, while leaving you with no skills and (possibly) no housing like what happened to <a href="http://hpn.asu.edu/archives/Jan99/0126.html";>this lady</a> back in 1985. How would you most of you coldhearted morons survive, and what would you do? Would you be relying on that 'individual resolve' to survive the streets? Or would you be like the people you all are demonizing? Please, please, enlighten me.
gadfly replying to a comment from Sandra / August 12, 2011 at 07:26 am
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I'd like to know where in NYC you visit, Sandra. I was just there a month ago (our hotel was at 28th/Broadway) and we encountered 1 panhandler in 5 days.
Compare that with Church St. on any given day where you have to run the gauntlet of 2-3 between Isabella and Alexander on a good day. There's always the 'limping guy' in the middle of the street at Bloor/Castlefrank, and very often I see one or more at the Jarvis off-ramp.
belvedere replying to a comment from Fantomex / August 12, 2011 at 08:26 am
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absurdity?? sorry buddy that is all on u, not me.

politicians develop and implement policies. did u know that? how stupid can u be?

i know it must hurt ur poor little head to try and understand that individual effort, the setting of goals and application of willpower trump any amount of political posturing to improve society. ppl who think like u r just like the assembly of first nations that has relegated its constituents (save for a few, like the nisga'a, who took charge of their own destiny) to eternal victimhood.

sure, severely disabled and mentally ill people (and i don't mean panhandlers with bad shitty lazy i'm a victim everyone else owes me attitudes) need a social safety net. it's there. i pay for it. maybe u do too, though the way u talk u probably expect the govt to have a fantomex support policy to make life gravy for u and u just sit back with a ciggie and can of old milwaukee and suck like a greedy crybaby at the generous tit of canadian socialistic society.

were u beaten, molested, ridiculed, etc as a kid and u r still blaming ur parents, social workers, govt? get over it. the immigrant example is powerful. many of these ppl have been shot at, jailed, starved, raped and yet they still had a vision for themselves that didn't look backwards. they came to canada and started from scratch, even needing to learn english or french as adults. the able panhandlers should take a lesson. but they won't. tim's cups r plentiful and it's too much effort and personal responsibility to try and succeed. their attitudes imprison them.

take ur liberal sanctimony and shove it.



PaxEterna replying to a comment from belvedere / August 12, 2011 at 08:26 pm
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I live near Maple Leaf Gardens and I have to say the beggars around my building are insufferable. Our society is sick. Only we can make it better one at a time. No need for vitriolic argument, belvedere.
J.R. / August 13, 2011 at 07:37 am
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This is definitely a topic that inspires heated debate. I suppose that perspectives can be very different depending on whether you live with this problem everyday or whether it's taking place in somebody else's part of town. It can also vary depending on whether we are talking about peaceful/passive panhandling...or aggressive panhandling. Many of the arguments above in favour of and against a ban have elements of merit in them.
I am not regularly in Toronto but a number of years ago, I went to Maple Leaf Gardens and was surprised by the panhandlers. No, it didn't make what you would call a nice impression and I am sure that it is a nuisance - not only for passers-by but for local businesses and their employees. However, banning panhandling is very problematic - not only in the sense of do-ability (Can you really enforce it? Do fines/jail time really work?, etc...) but also in an ethical sense. (We are talking about human beings, members of our society). We have to look at other options.
Eric26 / August 13, 2011 at 01:16 pm
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Again, people, you can stop worrying. A law that bans panhandling would violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Such a law can never exist. It is impossible.
Jack Hoff replying to a comment from Eric26 / August 13, 2011 at 02:40 pm
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"such a law can never exist"? That's just crazy. If laws can be made prohibiting vendors from selling services without licences, etc. then certainly vagrants and ner'do-wells can (and should) be banned from begging in the streets and generally being a blight on society. The mentally ill should be provided with the support of our social services (which already exist). The lazy bums that remain should have to endure sufficient hardship as a result of their encounter with the legal system that it is less desirable to leach off the goodwill of passersby than it is to get off their a$$es and contribute to society.
dmz / August 14, 2011 at 12:10 am
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There is a short dark-haired homeless woman who works around the Yorkville strip of Bloor Street. She once followed me for two blocks after I refused to give her money, verbally accosting me and attempting to trip me with her feet. I then walked into Holt's to escape her, when she yelled "I don't need you anyway, I can make more than a thousand bucks in a week!"
That was the moment I lost sympathy for 99% of Toronto's panhandlers.
Unless they're playing an instrument or doing something to better your day, I don't want them around.
Esmerelda / August 14, 2011 at 06:10 pm
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I get the shivers when I see an old woman around who is stooped over and lurches along with an awkward gait, wears a long worn black leather overcoat and cloth headpiece and , who stops and wags her gloved left hand at passersby and gives them an evil eye. Reminds me of a witch casting a hex. But she isn't a panhandler.
Fantomex replying to a comment from Jack Hoff / August 14, 2011 at 11:52 pm
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So I guess that you want the federal and provincial governments to enact and build <a href="http://memory-alpha.org/wiki/Sanctuary_District";>Sanctuary Districts</a>, then? Would you be willing to suffer through something like the Bell riots too?

@dmz: Aww, poor baby. Did the big bad old lady scare your widdle self so much that you wet your pants while running away and crying for your mommy? Stick a sock in it, you neocon stooge, and concentrate on challenging the people and institutions that have really caused the situations that you hate so much.
spee mcspeeverson / November 13, 2012 at 03:50 pm
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Let's round them up and execute, like Juliani did in New York.

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