Societal quality should be judged on its application of fairness & equality.
“Otherwise Jim, on April 1, 2017, I will be dead” - Paul James on NewsTalk 1010 with Jim Richards
Jim Richards Showgram, NewsTalk 1010 radio interview:
Spring 2008, a time when I was sleeping on the lower level of my nephew Tristan’s bunk bed, I was approached by the Oakville Soccer Club to conduct a talk to their club on the pros and cons of university soccer in Canada and the United States.
Having coached in both systems and being a long time alumnus of the club, they deemed it a coup of sorts to get me to talk. I declined a fee and instead provided to over 120 parents, players and coaches, a 75 minute information session pro-bono.
I was delighted to do so and in spite of the physical and psychological pain I was suffering at the time, the talk was well received. Roll on four years. Having been unemployed since my departure from York University and desperate for work of any kind, I approached the same Oakville soccer club to consider hiring me to conduct some team training sessions for a modest fee per hour. My request was declined with no explanation. I was the same person as I was four years earlier…although by now far more beaten up.
Little did I know it was to get far worse. In early 2014, I lobbied a local soccer club President in Toronto to consider me as a coach for his boys U17 team. In rejecting my plea, the President stated:
“The problem is Paul, when the parents of the team google your name they see some good, but they see far more bad”. Unfortunately, it is just the tip of the iceberg on the awful, cruel consequences of the stigma of drug addiction. And without dramatic intervention there is no clear sign of any reprieve from the unmitigated brutality. As a Canadian citizen who has given much to his country, who has not harmed anyone, I do not accept my circumstances nor the treatment I have received. Canada is a nation who should be a global leader in our approach towards treating mental health and substance addictions.
But we are not.
Instead, amongst the G9 countries, we are a laggard precipitated in large part because of the selfishness of our elitist, spoilt system which cultivates and protects cultures of bad politics through a passive aggressive ethos; a rigged judicial system when it wants to be and a controlled intimidated, mainstream media.
Like it or not, we are unashamedly weak. A discredit to our hockey culture and our past moments of immense breathtaking pride - Vimy Ridge as a distant lighthouse. I suppose our approach could be worse though. From the recent macabre massacre of innocents in the Philippines, to the dreadful recovery techniques in Burma - where those suffering substance addictions are thrown into 20-foot deep pits for 10 days, to the female chain-gangs in the United States who are forced to wear T-shirts announcing their own circumstances labelled, a consequence of being Dirty Drug Addicts. There again, how can we forget in our own city of Toronto, where, upon reflection, the totally likeable Mayor Rob Ford, was so humiliated and brutalized by his exposed use of crack cocaine that his human right to be protected under section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights was obliterated to smithereens at every level, only to be pitifully excused through his poignant death from cancer likely a consequence of his hidden substance use spanning years. It is worth repeating. Substance addictions of any kind, are human problems.
Mental health conditions. Mental disabilities requiring compassion, understanding, literacy, social inclusion and protection under the law. Not judicial punishment, ridicule, condemnation, social exclusion, ignorance, marginalization, scapegoating, deceit or the bad politicking guise of willful illiteracy to justify the punitive approaches or to avoid responsibility when culpable errors are made by individuals or organizations onto those that suffer. March 15, 2017 I will enter one more time the “total starvation ring” in political protest of the injustice, discrimination, defamation and prejudice I have received from York University, the Canadian Judicial system, the Canadian soccer industry and Canadian society in general. As the reader of this blog and perhaps a follower of my story over the past four weeks, I am hopeful that you recognize that there is something not quite right with the public narrative on the Paul James story - which requires an investigation from the Canadian government, Canadian parliament and the RCMP. Without controlled anger and advocacy on your part, it is my prediction I will cease to exist come April 1, 2017 - which would be 15 days of total starvation.
My hat is tilted to Gandhi, who on a similar course of total starvation protest, lasted 21 days and on five separate occasions. I feel like he must have been sneaking the odd hamburger into his system because the pain after 8 days of my own complete starvation was something to behold. On behalf of my parents, my sister Julie, my former partner Ashley Kelly and ten’s of thousands of other people suffering the indignity of exposed poor mental health and substance addiction, I am prepared to give my life in order to get to the truth of the matter in my circumstance which will then require a change of attitude at all levels of Canadian society.
Many of the severe negative consequences of substance addictions are a preventable human tragedy which need to be halted.
There are plenty of others around the world fighting back against the appalling oppression which accompanies exposed substance addictions. This is my contribution to the cause to End the War on People through seeking of personal justice posthumously or hopefully before. This past Thursday, February 16, 2017, I appeared on Toronto’s NewsTalk 1010 with the clever, savvy and likeable Jim Richards.
Whether there was an underlying political agenda to protecting York University or not, Jim facilitated the opportunity for listeners to begin to view substance addiction in the right way through my own personal story as devastating as it is. For that Jim, on behalf of millions of others across the country, I thank you for permitting a more realistic dialogue on the true realities of what the social phenomenon of substance addiction really entails.
It was a pleasure educating you!