Liberals deny City of Toronto's decriminalization exemption as British Columbia walks back pilot project

The federal Liberals claim to be approaching the ideology of harm reduction and theorized 'safer' supply in a 'science-grounded' way, according to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

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Last week the Justin Trudeau Liberals rejected the City of Toronto’s request to decriminalize illicit hard drugs, an exemption made possible under federal statute that was first piloted by the ultra-progressive province of British Columbia.

Health Canada granted B.C. a three-year pilot project exemption under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to decriminalize drug users, which came into effect on January 31, 2023.

Earlier this month (a little over a year after the pilot was launched), the B.C. government asked the feds to recriminalize hard drugs and amend their exemption, effectively walking back the failed initiative amid rising chaos, public disorder, and ever-increasing overdoses.

For some out-of-touch reason, Toronto’s chief public health officer Eileen de Villa, who is best known for siccing all of the king's horses and all of the king's men on business owners who tried to stay afloat and remain open during the COVID-19 hysteria, requested the same exemption even after B.C. was in the process of decriminalizing drug use.

On May 1 de Villa issued a press release noting the “recent developments in British Columbia,” acknowledging her awareness of its backpedalling, and continues to say that decriminalization is an “evidence-informed” model that “aims to reduce harms associated with drug use, promote and provide pathways to treatment and does not sacrifice public safety.”

Except the exact opposite is true, and even Liberal MPs are saying it.

De Villa’s request prompted Ontario’s Minister of Health Sylvia Jones to issue a press release, calling on de Villa to rescind her “misguided application.”

Minister Jones states that “Ontario is 100 percent opposed to the proposal” and “would never support the request, which would only add to crime and public drug use while doing nothing to support people struggling with addiction.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was questioned thereafter, saying that the government will continue to follow a “science-grounded” way of dealing with all of this.

It was subsequently announced that the Liberals denied de Villa’s drug decriminalization request. This prompted Toronto Mayor Oliva Chow to ask Trudeau to work with Ontario Premier Ford to fund a new pilot – a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week crisis treatment program.

Perhaps this is a turning point for the failed $1 billion Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy (CDSS), which has only seen rising substance use and related harms since its inception in 2016.

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