This morning, I woke up thinking about an article written earlier this week by the Straight's Travis Lupick.
He reported that 700 delegates at the recent B.C. NDP convention had unanimously passed a resolution urging the NDP provincial government to expand access to prescription opioids.
The resolution also demanded the NDP government work with Solicitor General Mike Farnworth to immediately decriminalize personal possession of drugs to reduce the stigma of substance-use disorder.
And there was a call for the province to pressure the feds to change Canada's drug laws.
Anyone who's paid attention to the overdose crisis knows that Canadian governments are not listening to the scientific community. Researchers have been calling for a safe drug supply for people with substance-use disorder.
B.C.'s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, even outlined a plan for removing criminal penalties for possession of illicit narcotics.
“Overdose deaths in the province have become so pervasive that there has been a measured decrease in life expectancy at birth for all British Columbians," the report states.
Henry's report had 119 footnotes citing dozens of medical sources and the World Health Organization.
But like ostriches with their heads in the sand, four of B.C.'s most influential politicians—John Horgan, Adrian Dix, Mike Farnworth, and Andrew Wilkinson—have refused to respond forthrightly to this research.
It's why I liken this Gang of Four to climate-change deniers when it comes to grappling with B.C.'s most important public-health issue.
B.C.'s Gang of Four fails to act
B.C.'s top cop, Farnworth, says he doesn't want to tell the police how to do their job. Public health be damned.
B.C.'s health minister, Dix, will not publicly advocate for a clean drug supply, notwithstanding the science and the stunning death toll.
Basically, Dix has hung the provincial health officer out to dry by not convincing Farnworth to embrace life-saving measures.
The premier, Horgan, won't raise the issue of a safe drug supply at federal first ministers' meetings.
Is he too timid to take on his strong-willed health minister and solicitor general?
And Opposition Leader Andrew Wilkinson—a former doctor, for god's sake—will never stand up in question period and demand the government embrace the scientific research around substance-use disorder to save more lives.
As far as the B.C. Liberals are concerned, to hell with the Hippocratic Oath that calls on physicians to abstain from intentional wrongdoing and harm.
Those in the press gallery and hosting radio and TV talk shows won't make a big deal out of this, even as individual reporters at various outlets are doing their best to educate the public.
Collectively, the press gallery and the premier appear to be more worked up about the retail price of gasoline than the lives of thousands of British Columbians.
Despite political idiocy, there are good signs
This year, B.C. is once again on track for more than 1,000 deaths from illicit overdoses. It's not only devastating families and friends, but putting a severe strain on emergency responders.
Thankfully, NDP delegates decided to take some action last weekend.
Here's a good sign. A Green candidate in the last federal election, David Merner, publicly called for a clean drug supply. Decriminalization of illegal drugs and a safe supply is Green party policy.
Sensible politicians in other parties—like NDP MPs Don Davies and Jenny Kwan, Liberal MPs Nathaniel Erskine-Smith and Hedy Fry, and B.C. Liberal MLA Sam Sullivan—have been following the science and recognize big changes are necessary to address substance-use disorder.
Maybe the next leader of the B.C. Greens will make this a centrepiece of the party's policies. It could help snatch seats away from the New Democrats.
And former NDP MP and ex-city councillor Libby Davies has long been a champion on this issue. She's been the best of them all.
But regressive New Democrats on drug policy—like Horgan, like Dix, and like Farnworth—are thwarting sensible government approaches that could save lives.
It's time to publicly shame them for this. Starting today.