Drug problem denied

Jason Bain
Local News - Friday, October 01, 2004 @ 09:00

KAWARTHA LAKES - The Mountie who asked for city council’s help earlier this summer to kickstart a committee to curb crack cocaine use in Kawartha Lakes, is frustrated with a lack of action.

“It slammed into a brick wall,” Green said of the effort to start a community-based committee.

He had been working with the help of Ward 9 Coun. Sal Polito.

“There is a lot of denial from people in high places ... I am more than frustrated. It’s not for a lack of trying but I’ve had a hard time,” he told The Daily Post.

“Some people say that in some areas (of the city) that there isn’t a drug problem. I beg to differ,” he said.

Green, who works out of Bowmanville and the Toronto East Detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, is also a city resident. He became involved with the drug issue after a series of stories published in The Daily Post last February.

He said he has seen what can happen to a community after organized crime and the drug trade takes a permanent hold.

Green also made a presentation to the Lindsay Business Improvement Association at their annual meeting earlier this year, to inform and ask for the support of downtown business owners.

“As for a next step, I don’t know what or who is going to take it,” he said. Green noted he has left it up to “certain people” to contact him but that has not yet happened.

“We’ll have to wait and see,” he said.

With the current roadblock in the effort, Green praised a march and rally being held organized by Pastor Ken Gorham Saturday. The pastor of The Lindsay Mission for Christ is holding the ‘Stand Against Drugs March and Rally’ in Lindsay. It will include a march from the Victoria Park Armoury at 1:30 p.m., followed by a rally in Victoria Park at 2:30 p.m.

“If people in the community want to express themselves, I support them whole-heartedly. I hope the community says something,” Green said of the rally.

He said he has more than affirmed the existence of the drug problem in conversation with many locals, students and people in the community.

“Certain powers that be don’t see that,” he said.

“I hope that things go well on Saturday. I’m optimistic, but totally frustrated,” he said.

Gorham, who has a used Christian book store on Queen Street and the ‘Soup for the Soul’ soup kitchen on Peel Street, said the purpose of Saturday’s event is “to be proactive in this situation.

“You have to address the situation before you become reactive and it is too late,” he said.

With recent criminal activity he said he has seen, coupled with a July stabbing that City of Kawartha Lakes Police Service believe to have been motivated by the sale of illicit drugs, Gorham said it is time to step up and take action - before someone is killed.

“You cannot turn a blind eye to this,” said Gorham, a self-confessed former drug addict.

“The general public doesn’t see it. If you haven’t been exposed to drug culture, then you don’t recognize it,” he said.

“Apathy says, ‘This issue doesn’t not affect me, my family or my circle of friends,’ but drug addiction is not limited to any part of society. It affects everyone,” he said.

“Drug addiction to society is like cancer to the human body. You don’t know where or when or what area will be affected. But odds are, you or somebody you know will be,” Gorham said.

With that, Gorham encouraged the public to join the rally and speak out against the problem by sending a clear message to everyone involved - to organized crime that ‘we don’t want you here,’ and to police that ‘we are on your side.’

Gorham said there will also be two petitions drafted by lawyers that are available for signing - one to the attorney-general and one to the justice minister.

Laidlaw has also offered a free bus for seniors.

“We all need to be educated in this problem,” Gorham said.

“We have a wonderful community here with beautiful people. It’s the good majority that must stand up and say, ‘We don’t want this evil in our midst.’ It’s just a small group of people causing the problem and unchecked, it will grow,” he said.

Gorham said it is fear that paralyzes people to stand up for what is good and right.

“I can’t understand anybody not wanting to do this. We don’t want to lose our streets.”