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Cathy Crowe, Insite and the Knit Signal

Cathy Crowe is running for Member of Provincial Parliament in the Toronto Centre by-election, where the incumbent, George Smitherman, is stepping down to run for Mayor of Toronto.

This was the first piece of political news in a long time to give my heart a hopeful little leap.

Here’s what Naomi Klein says about her candidacy: “Cathy Crowe is the compassionate heart of this city. That someone of such stunning integrity would run for political office is something close to a miracle.”

Cathy Crowe is a street nurse who delivers health care to street people, on the streets of Toronto. She goes to them, wherever they might be, carrying her nursing supplies in a backpack. (Her backpack, incidentally, was part of the History of Nursing exhibition at the Museum of Civilization.) She’s a passionate anti-poverty activist and an expert on homelessness. She wrote an excellent book – Dying for a Home – along with 10 or so homeless people. She’s a compassionate caregiver who is well-versed in policy and tough-minded about politics. She says you can’t do the work she does and not care about root causes and how the system works. You can’t do it and not become an activist.

I met her – and interviewed her – a few years ago, and wrote a magazine article about her. She wowed me. If I lived in Toronto, I’d volunteer to work on her campaign.

In other news, today’s the day that Vancouver’s safe injection site, Insite, finds out whether it will be permitted to continue its work. The BC Court of Appeal will deliver its ruling on the Constitutional legality of Insite around 9:15 a.m. BC time.

A bit of history, from Insite’s press release yesterday:

In a May 2008 ruling, by Justice Ian Pitfield of the B.C. Supreme Court,
sections of the country’s drug laws were struck down as
unconstitutional, enabling Insite to keep its doors open. The ruling
indicated that closing a health care service that can prevent death and
the transmission of infectious disease goes against the right to life
and security that are outlined in the Charter.

This ruling was appealed by the Federal Government of Canada.

Stephen Harper’s Conservatives really hate Insite.

What else? The Yarn Harlot has thrown up the rarely invoked yet profoundly powerful Knit Signal. Last I heard, the total was pushing $700,000.

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