OTTAWA – NDP Leader Jack Layton and Vancouver East NDP MP Libby Davies today accused Health Minister Tony Clement of plotting to close the heralded safe injection site, despite prominent Canadian and international drug policy experts’ call to keep InSite open.
“If Tony Clement wanted to keep Vancouver’s safe injection site open, he wouldn’t have travelled to Sweden-a country with no safe injection site and one of the most restrictive drug policies in the E.U.- looking for excuses to close InSite,” said Libby Davies.
Along with dozens of front line community groups and thousands of area residents, the renewal of InSite is supported by: Health Canada,Vancouver Police, BC Premier Gordon Campbell, Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan, BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, Dr. Julio Montaner, President Elect, International AIDS Society, former U.S. president Bill Clinton, UN Special Envoy HIV/AIDS Stephen Lewis, former Vancouver Mayors Mike Harcourt, Philip Owen and Sen. Larry Campbell
“How many more rational voices and reliable data does Tony Clement need? Sweden should be sending their drug policy experts to Vancouver, not the other way around,” said Layton.
“It’s clear to the people and businesses of Vancouver East that Tony Clement should stop waffling and immediately announce continued federal support for InSite,” said Davies.
Both Layton and Davies attended the recent World AIDS Conference in Toronto where UN Special AIDS Envoy Stephen Lewis and former US President Bill Clinton praised InSite and called to expand such harm reduction programs across North America.
“The evidence is in and it’s irrefutable,” said Davies. “There is no reason to delay in renewing the permit,” she added.
InSite legally operates due to an exemption by Health Canada under Section 56 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The program will close its doors to hundreds of clients if the exemption is not renewed by Sept. 13.