After approving a request from B.C. to decriminalize the personal possession of drugs last week, the Liberal government refused to take a national approach to the public health crisis that has claimed the lives of 27,000 Canadians in the last six years. Northern Ontario has been disproportionally affected by the toxic drug supply. Yet, instead of helping to finally end this crisis, the Liberals joined the Conservatives to vote against the NDP’s proposal to address the toxic drug crisis.
“Families in Northern Ontario have been devastated by the toxic drug crisis. This is a national public health emergency, yet this government is picking and choosing who gets help while Canadian families are forced to live in fear of burying loved ones who struggle with substance use because of this government’s failures,” said NDP MP Carol Hughes (Algoma – Manitoulin – Kapuskasing). “After six years, the Liberals still haven’t put in place measures that would protect all Canadians from the toxic drug supply. Now they are voting with the Conservatives against the NDP’s plan to finally address the toxic drug crisis.”
The NDP’s proposal followed the overwhelming evidence and advice of public health experts to decriminalize personal possession, expunge criminal records and create a national substance use strategy to provide a low barrier, regulated safe supply, improve prevention and education efforts, and ensure universal access to treatment and recovery services. These are common-sense measures that would help people in Northern Ontario feel safe seeking help.
“The Liberals will give excuses, but their lack of leadership to address this national toxic drug crisis is costing lives. It’s impossible to justify helping only some Canadians, then ignoring the advice of public health experts by joining with the Conservatives and voting against the NDP’s proposal that would give those same protections to all in our country who are suffering,” said NDP MP Charlie Angus (Timmins – James Bay). “People in Northern Ontario need help now. That’s why New Democrats will keep fighting to make sure Canadians have a comprehensive health-based approach for people struggling with the toxic drug crisis.”
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