An ArmchairMayor.ca editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
POLITICS AND CRISES make for strange bedfellows. You wouldn’t expect federal Conservatives and B.C. Liberals to be publicly onside on very much, even though it’s said that the philosophies of the two parties are in many ways alike.
But right now we have Kamloops-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod teaming up with the Christy Clark Liberals in a very prominent way. She and White Rock MP Dianne Watts are currently on record as “echoing” (that’s their word) B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake’s plea for the Justin Trudeau government to declare the opioid crisis a national emergency.
“With over 900 deaths in our province in 2016, the call is loud and clear for the federal Liberal government to take action and declare this crisis a national public health emergency,” the two federal Tories stated in a press release.
“December was the deadliest month, with 142 deaths from illicit drug overdoses and there is no end in sight to this epidemic.”
In addition to declaring a national emergency, they want enhanced border security measures to stop the flow of fentanyl and carfentanil into the country, a national awareness campaign, and more federal support for detox and treatment facilities.
“Action needs to be taken now,” they said.
While being on the opposite side of the issue from Trudeau makes it easier to be on the same side of the issue as Lake, the outgoing B.C. health minister no doubt appreciates the support. Of course, McLeod and Lake both call Kamloops home so they have good communication with each other.
Every little bit helps. Lake said this week the province is pushing ahead with plans to set up more overdose prevention sites and B.C. can’t wait for the federal government to push through legislation making it easier to open supervised injection sites.
Given the previous government’s very cautious approach on such facilities, all this haste doesn’t come naturally to the Conservatives. The fact they’re now calling for fast action on the crisis is one more indication of the growing desperation over the rising death count from drug over-doses.