Libby speaks out on the B.C. Supreme Court Decision on Insite

EXCERPT FROM HANSARD Wednesday 28 May, 2008

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): - Mr. Speaker,yesterday B.C.'s Supreme Court decision makes it abundantly clear that Insite, the supervised injection facility in east Vancouver, is a health facility. The ruling also makes it clear that closing Insite would be ³inconsistent with the state's interest in fostering individual and community health and preventing death and disease².Can the Minister of Health assure the House today that his Conservative government will abide by the court's decision and not appeal this important case?

Hon. Tony Clement (Minister of Health and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I am not in charge of appeals. That is the Minister of Justice. but I can say to the House that on this side of the House at least we are disappointed with the judgment. We disagree with the judgment.

We are, of course, examining our options and I would say to the House that we on this side of the House care about treating drug addicts who need our help. We care about preventing people, especially our young people, from becoming drug addicts in the first place. That is our way to reduce harm in our society and we are proud of taking that message to the people of Canada.

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): Mr. Speaker, if the Minister of Health claims that he cares about people who use drugs and the issues they face, then he will respect the decision of the court.

The medical, scientific and now legal conclusions just could not be any clearer. Insite is a life-saving facility and harm reduction is an essential component of Canada's drug strategy.

When will the minister put aside his personal ideological position, respect the court's decision and get to work on changing Canada's drug laws to allow access to health facilities such as Insite? When is he going to do that? He is taking too long.

Hon. Tony Clement (Minister of Health and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario, CPC): Mr. Speaker, it is a bit rich for the member from the New Democratic Party to start lecturing us on ideological positions. That is its bread and butter over there, but we on this side of the House are here for public policy. We are here to help our kids, prevent them from getting on drugs in the first place. We are here to help addicts.

This Question Period Transcript was posted on May 28, 2008