Pubdate: Thu, 25 May 2017
Source: Penticton Herald (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 The Okanagan Valley Group of Newspapers
Author: Dan Albas
Page: A6


As much as the House of Commons is often viewed as an adversarial
environment there are also those times, albeit rare, when there is
unanimous support for the passage of a Bill.

In the last Parliament I was fortunate to have unanimous support for
the passage of my Bill to remove a prohibition era Federal restriction
preventing the personal movement of wine across provincial borders.

Later the government would expand on this bill to also include beer
and spirits. Recently in the House of Commons another private member's
bill has received unanimous support and has also passed through the
Senate and recently received Royal Assent.

Bill C-224: "An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act"
was sponsored by MP Ron McKinnon from Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam. This
is a very important bill that may save lives.

For many families in communities through British Columbia and Canada
the opioid crisis is a very serious and real concern. Although the
crises is reported on almost daily, often when a tragedy is concerned,
not told are the countless others who suffer from addiction and may be
only one drug away from an overdose that could be fatal.

Unfortunately history has shown that often when an overdose does occur
in some cases it may not be reported to emergency responders in a
timely manner as those who are with the overdosed individual fear law
enforcement involvement once 9-1-1 has been called. These delays in
treatment often end up in death. Bill C-224 changes that. Technically
Bill C-224 ensures that "an exemption from charges of simple
possession of a controlled substance as well as from charges
concerning a pretrial release, probation order, conditional sentence
or parole violations related to simple possession for people who call
9-1-1 for themselves or another person suffering an overdose, as well
as anyone who is at the scene when emergency help arrives."

In other words calling for help when an overdose occurs will now
ensure that there will not be criminal charges against the good
Samaritan(s) that attempt to save a life.

While more government action is needed against the opioid crises any
step that can help save lives is an important one. For those who have
asked about the progress of the Liberal government bill to legalize
marijuana it has currently had introduction and first reading with
debate to begin in the near future.

I welcome your comments and questions and be reached by email  or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.

Dan Albas is Member of Parliament for Central Okanagan Coquihalla Nicola 
which includes Summerland, Keremeos, Olalla and Hedley, which are all in 
The Herald's readership area.
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