James Moore says Canadians want more consultation on safe injection sites
The Conservative government took aim at safe injection sites in this week’s Throne Speech, saying “the government will get tougher on drug policy and close loopholes that allow for the feeding of addiction, under the guise of treatment.”
The statement, which many believe was targeted at Vancouver’s safe injection site, prompted an angry reaction from Dr. Julio Montaner, Director of the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.
Montaner says the Harper government “just doesn’t get it.”
“Disappointment with regards to the policies that this government has been taking in regards to drug policy have been increasing over time,” says Montaner.
“The Harper government has decided from day one that we are the enemy.”
Montaner says the federal government has been focused on making life difficult for the operators of the safe injection site, despite a Supreme Court ruling in favour of Insite.
“We went through a series of challenges all the way to the Supreme Court, and the government had been ordered to make this service available for people who have a severe addiction to intravenous drugs, and instead of complying with the Supreme Court of Canada, they are making it even more difficult for people to access a service that has been shown to be lifesaving.”
B.C.’s senior minister in Harper’s cabinet, Industry Minister James Moore, says his government’s position on the safe injection site is simply about the need for more consultation.
“We don’t think that safe injection sites should be popping up all over the place without there being proper community consultation,” says Minister James Moore in an interview with Unfiltered with Jill Krop. “We think communities should be consulted about this and it shouldn’t just be driven by people in Victoria and Ottawa, who would force safe injection sites into communities that don’t want them.”
Moore acknowledges that safe injection sites help reduce the transmission of HIV and other diseases, but he still thinks Canadians should have the final say on where they are located.
“We think there should be more community involvement and more discussion. There are important policy matters but also important health matters; safe injection sites certainly do good things for those who use them in terms of diminishing the amount of transmission of HIV and other diseases that are associated with IV drug use, but there are other consequences that are associated with that as well and I think people are rightly concerned about that.
“I think if you ask Canadians whether or not they would like to have a safe injection site in their community, I think Canadians would like to have that sort of consultation.”
Montaner says safe injection sites are not meant to enable the use of drugs; but to get people with a severe drug addiction into detox and eventually stop using the drug altogether.
Insite celebrated its 10th anniversary in Vancouver this year.