Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): - Mr. Speaker, the exemption that allows Insite to operate is set to expire June 30.
Again and again, the government has delayed a decision on this important facility, saying more research needs to be done.
The research has been done and it is absolutely clear. More than 20 studies have demonstrated the health, safety and cost benefits of Insite.
This morning, the criminologist hired by the government said that Insite contributes to public order and saves lives. When will the government listen to the evidence and extend Insite's permit to operate?
Hon. Tony Clement (Minister of Health and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario, CPC): Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, the extension ends on June 30 and the government will make a decision before that time.
I would like to say to the House, however, that I was very pleased to be with the justice minister and the public safety minister last week when we announced $111 million to help individuals who are addicted to illicit and unhealthy drugs and for prevention purposes as well to make sure that our kids get the message that these drugs are unsafe.
That is the kind of government we have in Canada now, a government that cares about addicts and cares about those who would otherwise be twisted on to these very dangerous drugs.
Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP): Mr. Speaker, last week, leading researchers from UBC condemned the government's interference in research on Insite. The only response from the government was that the decision on Insite would not be based on scientific evidence alone.
If the Conservative government is not making its decisions based on evidence, then what on earth is it basing it on? What exactly is the government so desperately seeking that was not covered in more than 20 studies? What is it so afraid of in dealing with the scientific evidence before it?
Hon. Tony Clement (Minister of Health and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario, CPC): Mr. Speaker, it is unusual for the hon. member to make that allegation.
We are the government that actually wants more research, that actually commissioned more research because we want to make sure this decision is the right decision for Canada, for addicts and for the community in Vancouver. That is the decision we have made, more research and more consideration. That is because we are open-minded and we want to make the best decision for Canada and Canadians.