To confirm human dignity is to reject discrimination, yet, the tendency to fall into discrimination is "deeply rooted in the human psyche”Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada 2006 Beverly McLachlin
Discrimination: The unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, sex, physical and mental disability : "victims of racial discrimination"
Discrimination is an action or a decision that treats a person or a group badly for reasons such as their race, age or disability. These reasons, also called grounds, are protected under the Canadian Human Rights Act.
In 2006 Michael Kirby produced the Out of the Shadows At Last Report: The Human Face of Mental Illness and Addiction which called for immediate change and a national strategy on tackling the stigma associated with substance addiction.
The Paul J James story confirms the ultimate futility of the report most specifically in regards to the Stigma associated with substance use, substance issues, and substance disabilities.
After all 14 years on we still regard substance disabilities as illnesses. And as a society we still regard and use the words clean, addict and addiction as if they are "kosher". They are not. They are highly stigmatizing.
The Stigma of persons with Substance Disabilities is so systemic it is in fact out of control leading to extraordinary abuse of a persons human right to live dignified lives.
There is perhaps some glimmer of hope however as indicated in the benevolence of Paul J James supporters who have been so unconditionally kind most recently: Dr Tracy Vallaincourt from Ottawa; Dr Sharon Bearpark from British Columbia; Leslie Wilson from British Columbia; John Reznik from Toronto; John Fitzgerald from Toronto and Marjolaine and Phillip Wilson from Ottawa.
De-Stigmatizing, non discriminatory persons facilitating along with others over the past two years an element of human dignity to my life among the brutality of what it has been and currently is.
Addressing Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada 2006 Beverly McLachlin's comment "the tendency to fall into discrimination is deeply rooted in the human psyche”:
This can only be the case when a society's socialization of its citizens on the subject matter is ignorant permitting the discrimination of a group of citizens based on false stereotyped ideas of who they are. If such harmful socialization through families, schools, legislature, courts and such institutions as Police Services remains unchecked from an inadequate Judicial process, who refuse to correct the injustice of overt discrimination, then abuse of a persons human rights and ruination of lives are the ongoing consequence. Non correction forms and opens the human psyche to discriminate
A few months ago when I made the decision to embark on a ten day Walk to Ottawa Rob Dunn from TSN made contact immediately. It was his fourth attempt over the previous 3 years requesting to do a short documentary on the Paul J James story. Not trusting TSN - who through Jason Devos, David Norman, Terry Dunfield, Kristen Jack, Richard Whittal and others had coordinated a soccer assassination back in 2012 - I declined the offers.
Still rightly suspect of TSN and the Canadian systems motives in 2019 I again rejected the offer to film a part of the walk. However, after meeting with Rob in person along with the following quote he wrote, it tilted the scales for me to take the risk.
"I want to end with an experience I had this past Friday. I was out with some friends and met a girl who is the roommate of a friend of mine. She is a special constable with the TPS and will soon be a fully-fledged police officer. Somehow the topic of safe injection sites being shut down by the Provincial government came up and this woman's take was "why should diabetics have to pay our of pocket for their needles while these scum of the earth crackheads get free drugs?"
The reference to the Toronto Police Service knowing my own outrageous experience with them highlighted the systemic brutality of the stigma of drug addiction which from the custodians of peace and order is as unacceptable as it is abusive.
And to confirm this brutality when I reviewed the final TSN production it took me less than 30 seconds to reject it on purely answering the question does this De-Stigmatize the issue or Stigmatize it? When they threaded screen sentences , "he started using crack cocaine as a college coach followed by he became homeless in 2016 with no context it was an easy decision for me.
Aside from defamatory it stereotyped what people believe once you use the free basing of cocaine. It was stigmatizing and not de-stigmatizing. I was homeless as a personal choice to fight the discrimination I have faced for over a decade facilitated by York University et al. There was no compromise.
Once in Ottawa I called Rob and demanded he take the piece down. It was as stigmatizing as the Joe Murphy TSN story was, albeit for different reasons. Yet the Murphy short documentary absurdly won an award cementing and stereotyping the stigma of substance use/disability even further, not defeating it.
The carrots and sticks criminalized antiquated methodology of dealing with the issue of substance dependence aimed at forcing people to be "good" because the establishment deems persons with exposed substance issues as "not good" is outrageously wrong. The establishment have "deliberately erroneously" concluded for decades that the unlawful inhumane criminalized approach is cheaper for them to facilitate rather than address the real reasons for substance dependence which requires real human solutions and a humanized approach which includes recognition of a persons human rights.
In essence, society's should not be giving out awards to persons for the "recovery" of the equilibrium in their lives after experiencing substance issues. It is unfathomable we - deliberately in many cases - do not see the harm and stigma it facilitates.
In the summer of 2016 when Paul J James submitted the 78 Page Request of Reconsideration to the Supreme Court of Canada a few weeks later a full page article and video appeared in the Toronto Star on York University's awarding of a PHD study scholarship to a University of Ottawa undergraduate whom they deemed as a five year clean crack cocaine addict. The timing of the news coverage and decision to award the scholarship was no coincidence. The action of York was to Stigmatize. They do not De-Stigmatize. But then, with consideration of the PJJ mater, is was not to their benefit to do so.
The TSN 3 minute video like the evilness of the September 8, 2018 Toronto Star 4 page article connived to muddy waters through inaccurate stigmatized defamatory information to the benefit of York University and other collaborators of injustice ultimately to the detriment of the greater good. The Paul J James story is nothing like Joe Murphy's but oppressors stereotype all persons like we are the same or so similar. Yet our foot and finger prints are so different. And so are the maps within our brains.
It was humiliating not empowering of the truth. I am homeless as a choice not as a consequence of any substance disability. I am homeless because of the fight for justice and the immorality of an academic institution, Canadian politicians and Judicial system not because of crack cocaine use which has been the scapegoating communications of the oppressors.
To cap off the painful 400 km walk to Ottawa in ten days Multi-EMMY winner Mike Young from California sent a short email stating, "I am out of the Paul James business. Goodbye", confirming an agenda with the other side. To turn so cold after being so nice illustrated a conclusion of the Kirby Report in 2006, that persons exposed can make no decisions of their own without the risk of being further isolated and stigmatized in the event someone is aggrieved. It was as ruthless as it was cruel confirming the collaboration with the Liberals and Bob Rae for so long and behind my back.
As they say, "there simply are no words". Another Complete Utter Humiliation experience.
Coaching "Will Ferrell"
To tone things down just slightly the following four minute clip is a comedy piece from Wedding Crashers. Relevance?
Some time ago I became an addictions coach - not because I wanted to but because that is what it is to live with an exposed substance disability. You are limited to the point of nothing with what you can do. No longer a collegiate soccer coach, now an addictions coach the certification of which took me approximately ten days to complete - which is the first problem of many with the system. I was not all passionate about what I was doing and the education I received was gleaned from a "lucky bag".
I therefore used my own experiences and observations instead.
Will Ferrell in this film clip displays eerily the same personalty to that of the client I coached whom: was wealthy, had a wife and four children, yet was using alcohol, crystal meth, bringing strippers/hookers to his home in the basement while the family were sleeping up stairs. Think of Paul J James as as Owen Wilson.
The behavior gets stereotyped that anyone with a substance disability/addiction are the same when it is egregiously not the case.
The guy was at a level of use I was a million miles away from even in the darkest days of problematic use. Yet I was treated by the Toronto Police as being the same. Just like profiling all black men as drug dealers.
To Follow up tomorrow
Falsifying "Hookers", Turning down propositions from Kelly Saxby, Kaylyn Kyle and Ashley Anne Kelly.....the amazing Ashley Anne Kelly