Interactive Documentary
 
  
 
 

 

 
 
The Right To Be

 

The Victoria Public Library was one of the few places in the city where people were allowed to exist without needing to spend money. There is access to books, computers, washrooms, a courtyard where people can congregate, and a sense of community.

Following the closure of Tent City, (Oct. 2005) the Public Library removed all the benches from their courtyard and began posting 'Private Property' and 'No Loitering' signs.

They are calling our land 'private property' and are selectively enforcing their by-laws against those who have nowhere else to go. This courtyard is surrounded by the Victoria Public Library, the Ministry of Transportation, and the Crown Attorney Offices - all public offices.

There is a security desk that overlooks the courtyard and the guards do routine patrols for people who have been sitting longer than 15 minutes as well as people eating food. However, the people who do not appear to be homeless are left alone for doing the same thing.

In the January 19th footage, the police use 'private property' bylaws to arrest me, seize the videotape, and arrest two others (off camera) who had not been asked to leave prior to police arriving. I was sitting on a bench after checking my email, Sarah had simply been doing a crossword puzzle, and Yann was waiting for friends. There only real crime was apparently not moving along when they were told that they were no longer welcome to be on the 'private property' that is our government's, for no apparent reason.

In the June 9th footage, I was talking on my cell phone, sitting a few feet down from Cameron, (who I had never met before) when security guards first arrived to tell him he had to leave because he had fallen asleep. The rest you can watch yourself. This was a very strange day as they had 10 public servants there when they couldn't figure out what to do when Cameron told security that he wouldn't move along... apparently it had been a long day and he was tired of being unwelcome everywhere.
 
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