WHEN YOUTH HOMELESSNESS advocate Katherine McParland died a year and a half ago, she was eulogized for her work raising awareness and funding for kids aging out of the foster care system.
She knew whereof she spoke, since she herself had been homeless for a time in her teens. She founded A Way Home Kamloops with the aim of creating safe housing for homeless youth, and she was a force in this city.
After the BC Coroner’s Service announced this week that she died from an accidental drug overdose, the tributes were renewed. There was no condemnation, no suggestion that she had brought it on herself, no unkind comments about people on drugs or complaints about what they cost the system. Well, almost none.
Instead, there was sympathy and overwhelming praise for what she had accomplished in turning her adversity into something tremendously positive. And that’s how it should be.
And yet, there’s been much negative reaction to the publishing of the coroner’s report.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at email@example.com.