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https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-the-emergency-you-arent-hearing-about-torontos-unhoused-are-dying-in/

Last week a fellow who once lived with me came to my door. He had just got out of jail. He was homeless.

“The City has told me I can’t have more people here than the zoning bylaws allow. If I do there will be Hell to pay.” I told him.

It was not always like that.

A few years ago while posting flyers for my programs I ran into an old friend from Rochdale College, Bobby Naismith.

As we walked together I learned he was living on the street.

I said, “I have room for you.”

Bobby said, “I don’t have any money.”

I said, “I know that.”

Bobby moved in. I told him where to go to get help. He went. He got help. He got back on his feet. He moved on. He went on to thrill Toronto with his performance in Becket’s KRAPP’S LAST TAPE:  https://www.thestar.com/opinion/star-columnists/2019/04/11/in-praise-of-passe-muraille-and-other-perpetually-struggling-places.html   .

Bobby was one of the many whom I met homeless and gave a home to.

Why?

In part because when I came to this city in the mid 1960s I thought I had a friend. I got here to find out I did not.

Then a stranger I met by chance helped me.

His mother had been a prostitute. She put him to work at ten fellating her clients to bring in extra money.

With a mother like that we either kill our self or become a helluva human being.

Make no mistake. Billy, who taught emotionally disturbed kids by day (and was perfect for it) by night supplied youths to the rich of Toronto.

He was the worst according to the law of the land.

Without him I would have died.

For a long time posters have gone up round Toronto that are designed to get me lynched.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL did a story on them: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/toronto-alternative-theatre-founder-stands-up-to-bullying-threats/article549053/ .

Those posters depict me as the worst kind of human being imaginable.

Wakefield Poole’s BOYS IN THE SAND is a highly acclaimed landmark motion picture. It was reviewed in the prestigious British publication, FILMS AND FILMING. The boys are men. This flyer tries to make it appear it is child porn. It is not. This is but one of the thousands of flyers posted meant to bring me harm. It must be frustrating for the man behind this to see so much money and time spent on hate so fruitless.

The man who posts them is a JEHOVAH’S WITNESS.

He runs a street poster service. He sells used bikes out of a garage in a lane way.

That man who helped me when I first arrived in Toronto was not the only man who helped me.

In 1970 in Hollywood, California I was living in a bordello. I had gone out from Toronto at the invitation of a friend who returned to Toronto the day after I got there.

The man who ran the place said I could make a lot of money in the trade.

I said I had no problem with the trade but it was not for me. He said, “You have to help us pay the rent.”

I saw an ad in a newspaper that promised all kinds of money fast.

The next morning I walked over twenty miles to get to the address I had been given.

I got there to see it was a mission.

Wanting nothing to do with them I turned to leave.

As I did I reflected I had had nothing to eat the day before nor would have that day.

I decided to go in, fill out their forms, fill myself with coffee and doughnuts.

On their forms I told the truth. I wrote that I was Canadian and did not have a work permit. Without one I knew I could not be hired.

“You are Canadian aren’t you?” said the man in charge as I went into his office, adding, “Have you got a work permit?”

I thought that a stupid question as I had written I did not.

I said as rudely as possible so that he would kick me out, “No.”

He said, “I can’t hire you without one. What are you doing here?”

Again as rudely as possible so that he would throw me out I said, “I am living in a house. It is time to pay the rent. It is either peddle my ass or get a job.”

I thought the words “peddle my ass” would get the kick in the ass I sought.

Instead he said, “The Lord says I am supposed to help you. The law says I can’t. What do I do?”

I said, “That is your question.”

He said, “Then I have to hire you.”

My friend Chester Brown tells that story in the art he created for a special limited edition of my book THE NIGHT THEY RAIDED ROCHDALE. That art was turned into an ad for used bikes sold by the man posting the flyers slandering myself around the city.

Here is Chester’s telling:

Jesus said we do not look to thorns for grapes nor to thistles for figs.

By that he meant we do not look for people to do what is not in their nature.

It is the nature of the man trying to get me murdered to seek to get me murdered.

It is the nature of many to pass on by and to do nothing.

Nonetheless, all things work to the good for those who trust God.

From experience I have learned that they do.

When I seethe homeless I do what I can do.

One thing I do not do is waste time sitting on my ass in church.–Reg Hartt

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2025%3A31-46&version=ESV

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy%2032%3A35%2CRomans%2012%3A17-19&version=NKJV

 

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