On May 29, MPs of the House of Commons defeated the motion presented by Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre to end safe drug policies with a vote of 209 to 113. Poilievre introduced the motion to the House of Commons earlier in May, urging the Liberal government to stop all programs providing non-toxic drugs to those suffering from addictions and instead, to redirect funding to treatment services.
“Crime and chaos, drugs and disorder rage in our streets. Nowhere is this worse than in the opioid overdose crisis that has expanded so dramatically in the last several years,” Poilievre told the House of Commons.
Poilievre added that providing individuals suffering from addiction with “powerful heroin-like drugs that are uncontaminated” will not steer them away from street drugs.
“We’re told that giving out and decriminalizing hard drugs would reduce drug overdoses,” Poilievre said in his speech to the House of Commons.
“These so-called experts are typically pie in the sky theorists with no experience getting people off drugs, or they’re members of the misery industry — those paid activists and public health bureaucrats whose jobs depend on the crisis continuing.”
Mental Health and Addictions Minister Carolyn Bennett addressed the parliament and told MPs that Poilievre’s criticisms are not backed by scientific evidence. Her office added in a statement today that Health Canada is not aware of substitute drugs “flooding the streets.”
“For Pierre Poilievre to state untrue information about safer supply, and try to create barriers to accessing harm reduction services that are saving lives amid this ongoing crisis, is incredibly irresponsible and dehumanizing to people who use drugs,” said a statement released by Dr. Bennett’s office.
In addition, the statement also noted that the British Columbia Coroners Service, which examined deaths from drug toxicity from 2012 to 2022 across B.C. concluded there was “no indication that prescribed safe supply is contributing to illicit drug deaths.”
“The Conservatives want to take us back to the failed ideology of Harper-era drug policy, and the war on drugs that was proven to be ineffective, costly, deadly, and deeply stigmatizing,” said the statement.