Hope resident Mike Wilson said he faced prejudice and discrimination at the Chilliwack Library, as security guards told him to leave and followed him out Friday, Nov. 2. Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard

Hope resident Mike Wilson said he faced prejudice and discrimination at the Chilliwack Library, as security guards told him to leave and followed him out Friday, Nov. 2. Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard

Accidental victims

What happens when the authorities think you’re homeless and you’re not?

Mike Wilson is the unintended consequence of the homeless situation in Chilliwack.

The soft-spoken 66-year-old was recently escorted out of the Chilliwack Library by three security guards.

A few days later he’s still not entirely sure why.

He was told his small, wheeled suitcase and heavy jacket were excessive; that they presented a hazard.

But Wilson feels it might have been because he is Indigenous.

He had gone to the library, like he’s done many times before, as he waited for the transit bus back to Hope where he lives. He had done some shopping, picked up his coat from the dry cleaner, and was reading his tablet when he was asked to leave.

Days later, sitting in the lobby of the Chilliwack Progress, Wilson is still upset by the incident. He holds a lengthy letter he had written, single-spaced, neatly printed, in a notebook he carries in his pack.

He had already spoken to the editor of the Hope Standard, but still wanted to share his thoughts about an injustice he was sure had been done.

Read More: Hope man says he faced racial discrimination from security guards at Chilliwack Library

He said he understands the situation around the downtown library.

But Wilson felt he had been unfairly painted with the broad brush of bias; that he had been profiled because of the way he looked.

And the feeling stung.

In a response to The Standard, the library said that was never the intention, which is likely true.

But as our parks and doorways fill with people injecting drugs, or smoking crack, there is bound to be collateral damage.

Indeed, as the homeless situation in Chilliwack has worsened, the library and surrounding park is often Ground Zero. Security is routinely called upon to move people along. If that fails, RCMP are asked to intervene.

Anybody who works downtown, and witnesses the shattered lives or cleans up the mess left behind, knows this reality.

That doesn’t make what happened to Mike Wilson right.

In fact, that it has come to this makes it that much worse.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Excerpts from a conversation between Bria Fisher and the fake truLOCAL job. Fisher had signed a job agreement and was prepared to start work for what she thought was truLOCAL before she learned it was a scam. (Contributed)
Harrison woman warning others after losing $3,000 in job scam

Bria Fisher was hired by what she thought was a Canadian company, only to be out thousands

Fraser Canyon Hospital, located at 1275 7th Avenue in Hope, is one of two local COVID-19 vaccination sites. Seniors over the age of 90 and First Nations elders and seniors are the first people eligible for vaccines; booking began on Monday, March 8, and administration begins on March 15. (Photo/Adam Louis)
ICYMI: Vaccine booking in Hope has begun

Seniors aged 90 and up, First Nations elders to be vaccinated next week

Once again Fraser East is among the health service delivery areas with the highest rate of COVID-19 transmission in the province. (Datawrapper)
Fraser East sees third highest rate of COVID-19 cases in B.C.

The region is seeing a sustained increase in new COVID-19 cases

Once a star player with the University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team, Kayli Sartori is moving into a new role coaching the next generation of Cascades. (UFV photo)
Chilliwack’s Kayli Sartori goes from court to coach with UFV basketball Cascades

Sartori is taking a new path as part of the U-Sports female basketball apprentice coaching program

The Kimber family of Boston Bar lost their home in a fire. Blaine Kimber’s daughter created a fundraiser to help rebuild the home with the goal of $100,000. (Screenshot/GoFundMe)
Fundraiser created for Boston Bar family that lost everything in weekend fire

Witnesses say the Kimber family escaped the fire without injury, but their home is a total loss

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

A special committee has been appointed to look at reforming B.C.’s police act and is inviting the public to make submissions until April 30, 2021. (Black Press media file)
Have thoughts on B.C.’s review of the provincial Police Act?

Submissions will be accepted until April 30

Cottonwoods Care Home in Kelowna. (Google Maps)
New COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna care home includes fully vaccinated seniors: Henry

Two staff and 10 residents tested positive at Cottonwoods Care Centre

Some of the hundreds of pounds of trash removed by divers last month from Abbotsford’s Walmsley Lake.(Henry Wang photo)
VIDEO: Divers remove 462 pounds of trash from Abbotsford lake

Walmsley Lake dive uncovers several tires, hundreds of drink containers and a tent

Trent Miner is returning to the Vancouver Giants, the team announced. He has been released by the Colorado Eagles of the AHL.(Rik Fedyck/Vancouver Giants)
Trent Miner returns to play goal for Vancouver Giants

Netminder was part of epic 11-game winning-streak by Langley-based team

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provide a regular update on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, March 2, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 cases: 545 Saturday, 532 Sunday, 385 Monday

Focus on Prince Rupert, Lower Mainland large workplaces

Rising accident rates and payout costs have contributed to billion-dollar deficits at ICBC. (Comox Valley Record)
B.C. appealing decision keeping ICBC injury cases in court

David Eby vows to ‘clip wings’ of personal injury lawyers

(Black Press Media files)
Hosts charged, attendees facing COVID fines after Vancouver police bust party at condo

Police had previously received 10 complaints about that condo

Most Read