Saturday’s peaceful March against drug violence an eyeopener

Saturday’s peaceful March against drug violence an eyeopener

Local government, citizens and any who can help with resources, good advice and any kind of support should heed Ashleigh Laperle’s message and rally around her and her crew June 29 as they march against drugs and drug violence in Portage la Prairie.

It’s a grassroots effort that is taking the fight public whereas those who should/are be doing it are not being transparent about their efforts, successes and disappointments.

Brandon acknowledges it has meth crisis. Winnipeg acknowledges it has a meth crisis and is in fact involved in trench warfare. Thompson has an acknowledged meth crisis, but acknowledging a meth crisis here is stubbornly being resisted.

The first step in any cure is to acknowledge the problem! That little pesky admission that there is a drug problem in Portage la Prairie is not forthcoming. It is as if the someone that admits it will be the one to blame. The drug problem — a crime in itself — is fueling local violence from simple break and enters, armed robberies to violent stabbings and even murder. We can’t stop it, but we can as a community acknowledge we are fed up, angry and we are gathering ourselves in numbers to do something about it.

When you are sandwiched between the province’s two largest cities and connected by the same major highway it doesn’t take any deep thought to understand what happens in one or the other city also happens here. Portage la Prairie is a satellite market. Drugs — hard drugs, particularly cheap and abundant crystal meth — is a cash and greed game relying on willing victims – the user – and greedy, possibly armed and violent drug dealers on the business end. It’s a deadly combination of poverty, sickness, stupidity, weakness, greed and inaction that has brought about the need to march in the street to call on someone, anyone and everyone to do something positive to start turning this problem around.

I don’t have to name names, (you know who you are and many others do, too) are the someone’s, the anyone’s and the everyone’s who can do something positive.

Some elected local government officials here are on record as saying about drugs: ‘it’s just a little crystal meth’ and about crime: ‘bad things happen in good places’. These are shameless political statements meant only to placate and squirm out of a situation where an honest or difficult answer should have been delivered. There is a growing sense of unease in this city and Saturday’s peaceful march reflects that.

Local government and police here purposely do not adequately inform the public of the effects of drug and crime on our city streets.

Many of us know of a drug house and wonder why it continues to function though we know the police have been told about it. We hear/know about crime and wonder why we don’t hear about it in the media. Why is it — the drug problem and related crimes — dealt with as if we either don’t need to know or it is being kept quiet because we can’t handle knowing about it?

The politicians and the police will tell you they have their reasons for what seems like inaction, but even that lip service will only happen when they are put in a position that they have to supply an answer.

Good advice is that it takes a village to raise a child but it also takes a village to raise its politicians and police force to a level of transparency you are comfortable with.

Almost daily we see on television, hear on out-of-market radio stations and read in out-of-market newspapers there is a drug crisis in “their” communities. Here we have to walk the laneways behind our homes — any part of the city, pick a quadrant — to find a used needle to have the message driven home there is a problem here.

Ashleigh Laperle and her group invite everyone — the police, mayor and council, professionals, families, anyone interested in peacefully drawing attention to the drug problem and drug violence to join them Saturday at 1 p.m. at the old bandstand on the island near the tennis courts.

The supplied map shows the march route to and from the city and back where there will be food.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login