VICTORIA, B.C. – The B.C. Green Caucus is calling into question the intended goals of Bill 34, Restricting Public Consumption of Illegal Substances Act. The Bill, in its current form, targets poverty and homelessness without providing evidence-based support for individuals struggling with housing insecurity, substance use, and addiction. Safety isn't selective, everyone in B.C. deserves security.
“If we want to achieve a true sense of public safety, we cannot adopt an 'out of sight, out of mind' approach. British Columbia is capable of implementing evidence-based solutions, and must do so immediately,” said Sonia Furstenau, Leader of the B.C. Greens and MLA for Cowichan Valley. “Until these necessary and evidence-based services are in place - safe consumption sites, funding for communities to help their residents with housing and living support, and support for regulated treatment centres - the B.C. Greens cannot support this Bill.
“The poisoned drug emergency is in its seventh year with a piecemeal approach that has let 13,000 British Columbians die preventable deaths. Almost no one in this province has been untouched by this crisis. We won’t be able to solve all the compounding problems immediately, but public drug use is one issue that can be solved. This legislation is simply not the way to do so. A smart approach would focus on safe consumption sites, safe housing, and significant investments in, and regulation of, addiction treatment.”
The Village in Cowichan is an example of an evidence-based housing, treatment, and recovery model that has significantly reduced individual dependencies and regional crime rates. This success correlates directly with providing housing and wraparound supports.
“No jurisdiction in the world has arrested their way out of this problem, and we won’t either,” said Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands. “We need to help people, not handcuff them.”
The B.C. Green Caucus is calling on the BC NDP to create safety and security for all, use the public’s resources effectively, with a focus on service and housing providers who can rapidly put in place housing solutions in communities across B.C. This will help to keep all British Columbians safe, and not push people into darkness.
B.C. Green Caucus
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