EDITORIAL – Drug crisis forging some interesting political alliances

Health Minister Terry Lake speaking on B.C.'s opioid crisis.

Health Minister Terry Lake speaking on B.C.’s opioid crisis.

An 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.

About Mel Rothenburger (5538 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

5 Comments on EDITORIAL – Drug crisis forging some interesting political alliances

  1. T

  2. -Fentanyl and carfentanil seem to be (from illicit human ingestion standpoint) the ‘poison pill’ people used to refer to, in terms of getting an issue over and done with, especially in the financial world of pragmatically merging companies, beyond the ability to change back.

    Well, to me, when you’re at this level on the street, per se, and faced with an idea to take a drug that could kill you [is it within minutes?], well then you’ve sort of reached an area in your mind that you’ve already have done with life. -These are the facts -if you face yourself off with a potentially lethal drug like these ones…and… would be willing to use it ‘as a fix,’ so to speak.

    Not a good place. Not even for society.

    (And) Yet to be the ‘Judas Iscariot’ on society (worried more about the money more than the mission ‘towards’ people) herein, “One wonders’ that if you entrench these sites all across the province., ‘Are you not also entrenching the basis for continued heavy drug, say, heroin use, permanently, as opposed to harm reduction?’ ”

    Ie. Will not the facilitation of ‘taking drugs’ become a way one’s (future) children think it’s normal to deal with life’s problem…for some?

    What’s that word? Harbinger?

  3. Dear Mel the Journalist:
    You wrote “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”
    I do have a bit of a problem with that. Considering what has happened in the past in terms of (mostly) inaction it is highly inaccurate, in my humble opinion, to give much credibility to the “desperate calls for intervention.” I would more accurately call it “political posturing” and I would feel much better if you were more accurate.
    The way I see it regardless of the substance, the deep underlying issues affecting people and our society which leads to substance abuse and other less than desirable acts, needed addressing long ago. There is a need for a coordinated governmental action on multiple fronts to PREVENT substance abuse as much as possible and it should start at the elementary school level. Ms. McLeod and her government and Mr. Lake and his government share much in common but not much in terms of truly helping out because if they did their whole philosophical stand about what really matter in life and governance would be exposed as shallow, materialistic and socially inadequate.
    One small example, the present “get liquor any where you wish” policy. How is that in helping out a society already awash in troubling trends? And you know, there are a great many other examples of questionable governance in Victoria, Ottawa and elsewhere.
    There is a desperate need for compassion and empathy. Unfortunately their are not the central tenets of Ms. McLeod nor Mr. Lake governments and that should be worth of a daily editorial.

  4. Sure … we’ll take the support from PC MP’s to be onside with Lake on this, every bit helps. That said, lets keep in mind that here we have conservatives who will jump at anything to put the focus on them and the blame on Federal Liberals, even though healthcare is a provincial responsibility, and a Trudeau statement of a declaration of emergency is kinda pointless. McLeod is politicking for media exposure.

    Let us remember that the previous government would not have even allowed their MP’s to even make statements like this publicly, much less encourage any federal/provincial counterpart agreement on any issue. Add to that the past PC penchant for either sweeping social issues under the optical rug, or simply calling addicts criminals who belong in jail … and this announcement falls flat, and appears disingenuous at best.

    • Absolutely this is posturing by McLeod , and Watts. I don’t know about Watts, but McLeod will be so gone in the next election.

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