Liberal MP Hedy Fry roasts supervised-injection site bill

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      Vancouver Centre Liberal MP Dr. Hedy Fry has alleged that the Conservative Party of Canada has tried to cash in on a government bill proposing greater regulations over supervised-injection sites.

      In an interview with the Georgia Straight at Maurya Indian Cuisine, Fry claimed that the Conservatives sent out a fundraising letter highlighting Bill C-65, which would amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, on the same day it was introduced in Parliament earlier this month.

      Fry, who is the Liberal health critic, claimed the letter suggested that in the absence of this legislation, there was a greater risk of “people shooting up heroin in your back yard”.

      “So the question I asked in the House is, ‘If the prime minister is also the leader [of the Conservatives], is the prime minister endorsing this fundraising letter that says you don’t want people shooting up in your back yard?’ ” Fry said.

      The Conservative Party of Canada did not respond to the Straight’s request for an interview by deadline.

      In 2011, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the federal health minister had to grant an exemption to Vancouver’s supervised-injection site, Insite, so that it could continue operating. The court ruled that the government’s decision to deny this exemption would deprive Insite clients of their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and security of the person under section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

      Bill C-65, which is called the Respect for Communities Act, sets the bar very high before the minister can provide an exemption for any future supervised-injection sites.

      “Given the inherent threat posed to public health and safety from controlled substances obtained through illicit sources, it is common sense that exemptions to undertake activities with them should be limited to rare or unique circumstances,” Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said when she introduced the bill.

      However, Fry suggested that the bill was written in a way that would ensure no more supervised-injection sites are approved in Canada. This is despite research published in the medical journal the Lancet that reported a 35- percent decline in overdose deaths in the area around Insite.

      Insite came about in part because the Vancouver police approved a “bubble zone” in which drug users would not be arrested for possession as they entered the premises.

      Fry noted that prior to a new facility being approved under Bill C-65, there must be a letter of support from the province. In addition, police must agree that the supervised-injection site won’t disrupt the peace or contribute to criminal activity, and employees have to undergo criminal-record checks.

      “This burden of proof must be community-based and locally and regionally based, to the extent that you’re going to have to do a complete study,” Fry added. “But to do the study, you’re going to have to get the bubble zone created to allow the illegal drugs to be used.”

      She described that as a “Catch-22”.

      Fry pointed out that groups in Montreal, Toronto, and Victoria are all trying to create supervised-injection sites in their communities. “All sorts of people are going to be putting forward constitutional challenges,” she predicted.




      Jun 20, 2013 at 8:12am

      Enabling drug abuse is not compassion. Close Insite!


      Jun 20, 2013 at 1:29pm

      It's not enabling them, the needle was doing damage long before Insite. It's bringing them in to an area where they can be watched and offered counselling if they want it.

      I think it makes sense that you have a population that is very leery of government and officials, and you give them the idea that maybe it is a good thing to have close contact with the health authorities, and then on to treatment hopefully.


      Jun 20, 2013 at 2:39pm

      doubletalk: Denying access to treatment is not compassion. Closing a facility that has done more to reduce addiction rates in the DTES than pretty much anything else that's been tried is not compassion. Throwing addicts out in the street to fend for themselves is not compassion. And providing access to treatment and counselling is not “enabling” anything. Keep Insite; shut down those who continue to oppose it on perverse moral grounds.

      Michele Baillie

      Jun 24, 2013 at 12:47pm

      A few years ago; I had my car broken into in the underground parking at Pacific Centre; everything was strewn all over the area outside the car; even the trunk was emptied.

      No doubt, this crime was committed by a homeless person looking for anything they could sell for their next fix. (the thief stole a pair of shoes)

      It is my God given right and under Inherent Jurisdiction under LAW to exist and live my life as I choose as long as I DO NOT injure or commit crimes against others. This responsibility is an easy one to accept and live by; I've lived my whole life that way.

      Property crimes, thefts and assaults committed are usually committed by drug users, to say nothing of the aggressive panhandling by these same people.


      Freedom comes with RESPONSIBILITIES. Drug users do need help; but not at the price of putting the rest of us in danger from their criminal activities. Insite does make it safer and healthier for users......but what about proper help for these same people?

      As things stand now, about the only practical thing is to intern street people in labour camps. If there is a better idea; I would love to hear it.

      Michele Baillie

      Jun 24, 2013 at 12:53pm


      Your last sentence: "Keep Insite; shut down those who continue to oppose it on peverse moral grounds." makes you sound like a hard core Marxist.

      Put another way; you sound like a left liberal who thinks that intolerant people should be shot. I wonder how you wield your authority over others both at work and in your home.

      Martin Dunphy

      Jun 24, 2013 at 2:51pm

      I am sure it is no fun to have your vehicle broken into.
      However, not all homeless people are drug addicts.
      You have no idea who actually broke into your car.
      Sometimes a pair of shoes is stolen to be worn.
      And, finally, your criticism of your fellow poster is put into very stark relief with your call for "labour camps" for "street people".