Pubdate: Thu, 05 Jun 2008
Source: Summerland Review (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 The Summerland Review
Author: Stockwell Day
Note: Stockwell Day is the Conservative MP for Okanagan Coquihalla, 
and is currently Public Safety minister in Ottawa
(Supervised Injection Sites)
(Harm Reduction)


Drug addicts in Vancouver can shoot up while being  supervised in
North America's only facility legalized  to do that. The In-Site
project operates with a special  legal exemption. The debate has been
fierce on whether  such a policy is a good thing or not. My column
today  is not going to get into the debate per se. I do  however want
to give you, my constituents, an update on  what has occurred this
past week.

First, a B.C. Court has ruled that drug addicts have a  right to a
facility like this. This ruling came just  before our federal
government was to have made a  decision as to whether this activity
should continue.  The federal Minister of Health announced this week
that  the government will challenge that ruling.

For the purpose of reporting to you, I thought the best  thing to do
was to quote verbatim exactly what the  Minister of Health gave as his
reason for challenging  the B.C. court decision. I'll just give it to
you word  for word so that you can see the federal rationale,
whichever side of the argument you are on.

Here is what the minister said: "In my opinion,  supervised injection
is not medicine. It does not heal  the person addicted to drugs.

"Injection not only causes physical harm, it also  deepens and
prolongs the addiction. Programs to support  supervised injection
divert valuable dollars away from  treatment.

"Government sponsored injection sends a very mixed  message to young
people who are contemplating the use  of illegal drugs.

"The evidence is that In-Site's injection program  saves, at best, one
life per year. A precious life,  yes. I believe we can do better and

"My job as Health Minister is to balance that one life  against any
possible negative effect of supervised  injection that might take one
life elsewhere."

That was his statement.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch right here in our own  constituency a
group in Merritt has come up with their  own approach to taking
preventative and rehabilitative  action towards youth with substance
abuse issues. They  recognized there is a local problem of young
people  getting involved in drugs, gang and related criminal
activity. When they approached me on the issue I  explained the broad
government policy on this problem.

We basically are taking a two pronged approach aE" the  long arm of
the law and the open arms of the community.  The long arm of the law
means a tougher approach to  those committing the crimes and more help
for the law  abiding citizens who are the victims of those crimes.

The "open arms of the community" refers to our belief  that local
groups and agencies can play a vital role in  putting together
prevention programs that can intercept  kids at risk before they
plunge themselves into  destructive behaviours.

The Merritt Youth Mural program is such a group. In a  unique way they
have joined forces with the Merritt  Walk of Stars Society to reach
out to vulnerable  Aboriginal youth and their families. In conjunction
  with educational and occupational counselors the youth  mural project
will help up to 60 at risk young people.  Through a variety of means
they will teach the young  people about taking responsibility,
learning job skills  and how to contribute in real and positive ways
to the  community in which they live. I was able to assist the  group
in getting federal funds for the program and I  look forward with
confidence to the future results of  kids turned away from drugs and

While I'm talking about Merritt I can't help but tell  you of a
special award I received at the annual Merritt  Country Music Walk of
Stars. I do their fundraising  auction for them. The organizers
totally surprised me  by getting me to do my handprint in cement to be
placed  in a star alongside the country music great who have
performed here over the years.

It was a real honour for me. And since the star will be  placed on the
sidewalk anyone who wants to stomp their  feet on me is free to do

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Stockwell Day is the MP for Okanagan Coquihalla. 
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MAP posted-by: Steve Heath