B.C. NDP leader John Horgan arrives in Surrey for a campaign stop Wednesday, July 23, 2020. (The Canadian Press)

Horgan blasts B.C. Greens for refusing youth overdose detention

Lack of support key to B.C. election call, NDP leader says

The B.C. Green Party’s refusal to support a one-week detention in hospital of young people who have overdosed on opioids is a key reason why the province is in an election campaign, NDP leader John Horgan says.

At a campaign event in Surrey Sept. 23, Horgan again cited B.C. Green MLAs’ refusal to support the minority government’s bill to provide “stabilization care” for young people.

“This summer [Mental Health and Addictions] Minister Judy Darcy brought forward a bill to protect young people who were admitted to hospital after an overdose, and the bill would have allowed those children to stay under medical supervision for a week, hoping to find clarity where they would get to a point where treatment and recovery would be possible,” Horgan said. “And the Green Party wouldn’t support that bill. We took steps this summer to address the challenges that families faced when it comes to the scourge of opioids, and we were rebuffed by our colleagues in our so-called stable administration.”

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Darcy withdrew the legislation July 27, after Indigenous people joined B.C. Representative for Children and Youth Jennifer Charlesworth in objecting to it. Darcy said at the time that there had been extensive consultations with the First Nations Health Authority and others, and a pilot program at B.C. Children’s Hospital was showing good results. But time ran out on the summer legislative session without adequate support, so it was withdrawn for more consultation.

Horgan vowed that if the NDP forms government again after the Oct. 24 election, that measure will be back, and he will continue to press the federal government to decriminalize simple possession of narcotics.

“I believe this is an important bill because I’ve talked to parents who’ve lost children,” Horgan said. “They wanted government to do something so there was at least a legacy for the loss of a loved one.”

Indigenous objections were also key to the other bill the B.C. Greens declined to support this summer, allowing B.C. Hydro to import renewable power from the U.S. The NDP government vowed to keep considering small power production in remote B.C. communities, but Indigenous leaders argued there would be no room for extra capacity with the power import measures in place.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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