A Tale of Two Cities

Written by Harold McNeill on April 16th, 2016. Posted in Tim Hortons Morning Posts


These iconic symbols are central to the core of two cities that are close to being twins in terms of size and focus, yet it is their differences which set them worlds apart in terms of liveability.

New Orleans and Victoria

What is life without hope for the future?

While Victoria struggles to alleviate challenges posed by homelessness – at this moment a tent city that sprung up near the courthouse – it is still a city where the majority of our people live comfortable lives and look towards the future with optimism. There is another city on this continent that is in many ways a mirror image of Victoria, yet that city is on a downward spiral that leaves little hope for a better future for more than half the population. It is a port city like Victoria and at 360,000 is only slightly larger than our own.

As one of the most popular tourist destinations in North America, in 2014 that city attracted ten million visitors who left behind seven billion dollars, an economic windfall many times larger than that of Victoria. With that huge economic advantage it is hard to understand how the city has become one of the most poverty and crime ridden metropolitan areas in the United States. 

That city, of course, is New Orleans – The Big Easy.  Over the first three months of 2016 the city experienced 118 shootings with 31 murders. Over the past 22 years it has remained in the Top 3 for murder, and for 13 of those years it was #1. From 2010 to 2012, the most recent three years in which it ranked #1, the city averaged 450 shootings and 189 murders in each year and murder is only the tip of a violent crime epidemic that penetrates to the very core.

It takes the integrated New Orleans PD an average of 1 hour and 13 minutes to attend a 911 call. Non-emergency calls can sit for days and many never even receive police attention. The 1200 member NOPD force is currently 400 under strength due to a lack of funding combined with resignations, firings and general attrition.

By comparison, Greater Victoria’s mix of 7 Municipal, City and RCMP forces with a total of 540 sworn members and each force is close too their authorized strength. The response time in the Capital Region for 911 emergency calls will be no more than a few minutes except in extraordinary cases and all the local police forces generally follow a policy of ‘No Call to Small’.

Dozens of other comparisons and contrasts between Victoria and New Orleans were covered in a 2015 editorial titled New Orleans, Peeling Back the Mask.   That article is being brought forward today after reading an April 15th editorial in National Post titled Shooting casts a grim light on the Big Easy (A3). These articles serve to remind each of us just how well off we are in Victoria and, for that matter, in every other city across Canada.

While homelessness in Victoria, Vancouver and other cities needs serious, ongoing attention, we are fortunate that the issue, along with other similar social issues, regularly make headlines that invoke many people to become involved in trying to solve the problem. In New Orleans and many other US cities, the type of social issues we face in cities and towns across Canada do not even come close to being on their radar.

We should all give thanks for that imaginary line referred to as the 49th parallel.  Now, take a few minutes and read the full background on New Orleans and what it means to taste poverty in a rich, modern day democracy where the dividing line between the rich and poor is turning into a chasm (link)

Regards,

Harold

National Post (A3), April 15, 2016.   In the past I could link articles such as this, but that no longer seems possible even though I buy a single paper most days of the week.  I shall explore how to better access these items. Perhaps one of my FB friends who are more knowledgeable in these matters could provide some advice.  hdm

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  • Maurice Smook

    August 13, 2016 |

    Hi Jillian,

    I don’t know if you are still checking this site but I had to respond again. February of 2017 it will be 72 years since this battle occurred.

    What caught my attention about this incident was on the Go Deep Documentary that aired on the History Channel. First of all I never known that this battle having ever occurred.

    According to my grade 3 teacher WW2 had never occurred. That grade 3 teacher stated that the WW2 and the holocaust was all propaganda. All of my classmates they believed her. I hate to say this but all I knew was that soldiers shooting at each other.

    I almost was expelled from school. My

    Mom my Dad my brother and my Uncle would have been arrested for propaganda. I paid the price. It was ironic a grade 5 teacher told me that Smooks are all commies. Dad was Conservative.

    All the Smooks that I known are all Conservative. If I had the money I would have loved to sue those two teachers.

    As I said I never heard of this Battle. If it were not for that program I would have never had known.

    I started to do more researching to find out more about the history of this battle. The narrator of Go Deep mentioned the names of the pilots who died that battle.

    I missed 20 minutes of that program but the camera crew had the camera’s pointed towards the sign with the names of the deceits. That is how I known.

    According to the narrator There are three who are still missing. W.J. Jackson, Harry Smook and A. Duckworth. A couple of months ago the staff of Go Deep have located Harry and A. Duckworths aircraft. This is on you tube. Harry and A. Duckworth craft is approx 650 feet deep in the Fjord. The individual who is heading this expansionary mission made it known he will not rest until all three of the missing pilots
    will be retrieved. I am sure that A. Duckworth’s kin are hoping for the same.

    What really puzzles me is that I have sent emails to the Smooks. Not one ever replying. I presume its the same with you. Sad. Dad rarely spoke about his family. It appears there is a big secret of the Smooks. I too assume Harry is a kin to my Dad. Harry maybe a 4th 5th cousin to my Dad. I too would like to know. Harry and A. Duckworth served and died for our country. The other is W.j. Jackson – who is also still missing – having died for our Country.

    In conclusion I still ask myself why is this a huge secret.

    If you are still checking this site please contact me. Maybe we may be kin.

    Take care.

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  • Valerie Heuman (Roddick)

    June 19, 2016 |

    Having just returned to the Okanagan Valley from a weekend in Pibroch, I am delighted to have stumbled on your blog to see the picture of the main street. My aunt and uncle Peggy & Gordon McGillvery owned and lived in the old Post Office on the North east corner of the main intersection and my brother Adrian currently lives south a bit backing on the School yard. We are Sheila’s cousins and still have a close connection to the town.

  • Sheila(Roddick) Allison

    May 19, 2016 |

    Hi. So fun to find your blog. I remember going to school with you and Louise. I loved my childhood in Pibroch which incidentally was named by my grandfather Aaron Roddick. I will never forget the night the garage burned down. Nice to see the landmark photo before the big fire!

  • George Dahl

    April 12, 2016 |

    What a great site. I’m trying to locate a woman named Sally Jennifer who was from the Cold Lake area back in the early sixties. I met her when I was stationed at Namao air base in Edmonton. I was serving with the USAF 3955 air refueling squadron from rhe fall 1963 till the spring of 64. Sally was 22 at the time I was 21. Sally was my first love. I had orders to ship out to South East Asia and we lost contact after that.
    If any of you know the where abouts of Sally I would like to get reacquainted with her. She is First Nation, Blackfoot I believe. She is Catholic and may have attended a Catholic school in Cold Lake.
    Thank You in advance, George Dahl

  • dave armit

    March 23, 2016 |

    good old fashioned police work done by good old fashioned policemen……….in regards to mr cain..i learned a few years ago that he was born on the same day in the same hospital that i was..my father was a close friend of the cain family…!!! interesting..d a

  • Joyce McMenamon

    March 1, 2016 |

    Haha, love it! We should probably eat rats and rabbits rather than beef. Also I’ve noticed that there are a lot less pests where dogs are not kept on leashes.

  • Kari

    February 27, 2016 |

    Thanks for a wonderful trip down memory lane Dad!!! That was an amazing trip and I am so glad that we had the opportunity to share that experience together!
    ❤️