MAPLE RIDGE (NEWS 1130) – The Mayor of Maple Ridge is under fire for saying homeless people are “basically raping and pillaging” his community.
Mike Morden is doubling down on the controversial comments he made in an interview posted to YouTube on Apr. 5.
“People coming here to carry on doing drugs and basically raping and pillaging all of our community and businesses, and that’s got to stop,” he says.
In the 34 minute, one-on-one interview between Morden and a PR professional, the mayor lays out the homeless issue as he sees it: Criminals are keeping the homeless addicted to drugs so they will continue to steal.
Watch the interview below:
The real victims in all of this? Businesses according to the mayor, which he refers to as the “silent troopers in all of this because they say nothing, because they can’t.”
He says “many” have completely folded due to high levels of theft, though he provided no examples.
Morden does, however, throw out a handful of statistics about addiction.
“Two per cent of people are genetically [predisposed] to addiction, and that’s what’s going to happen, it’s in their DNA,” he says.
Homeless advocates are condemning his comments as tensions between the city and province continue over what to do about some of Maple Ridge’s most vulnerable.
Morden calls the ongoing back and forth between the city and the provincial government on the topic of housing as a “battle of the wills,” adding he doesn’t like the position his community has been put in.
Some stand by mayor following comments
While the mayor’s rhetoric is inflammatory, some people living in that community say it’s right on the money.
“The only thing I have a problem with is almost everything that wasn’t tied down in the back of my yard has been stolen,” local William Zadorozny says. “I’ve had a propane bottle, I had a wagon stolen.”
Others say they feel the same way, with one person even saying Morden’s characterization of the situation was a good one.
“They’re trying to thieve off my mom all the time, like her scooter and stealing the batteries and trying to steal it,” another man tells NEWS 1130.
People on social media have also responded, with mixed reviews. Some, again, agree with the mayor’s comments, with one Twitter user saying the “term/saying paints a VERY accurate and clear picture of what addicts/criminals are doing to #MapleRidge and its citizens.”
The term/saying paints a VERY accurate and clear picture of what addicts/criminals are doing to #MapleRidge and its citizens.
They terrorize all ages, sexes and abilities. They do as they please wherever and whenever. They destroy parks, dump needles & excrement… https://t.co/XgpF8WHsfC
— Christensen (@eyemabee) April 10, 2019
Some have condemned the statements, with one social media post reading “These comments are absolutely disgusting. This Mayor needs to be careful with his words and get educated on the homeless.”
Meantime, others believe the situation represents a larger issue that needs to be addressed.
I think one of the reasons this has become a crisis is because we stopped enforcing laws such as theft and B&E. By doing so, the judicial system has become an enabler. Previously jail time was a wake up call, forced them to get clean and gave a chance to stay clean.
— Aunt Mill (@Aunt_Mill) April 10, 2019