Friday, July 15, 2016
Rona Ambrose and the Disposable Canadians
Rona Ambrose did a lot of bad and stupid things during her years of faithful service to Stephen Harper's monstrous Con regime.
And most of them were things that just made me shake my head, or laugh, or wonder how an idiot could be a minister.
But there is one ghastly act of deliberate cruelty, for which I could never ever forgive her.
One which made it even harder to save the lives of thousands of Canadians.
For Ambrose was the Con who after failing to shutdown Vancouver's marvellous InSite clinic, rammed a bill through Parliament that makes it almost impossible to set up similar supervised drug consumption sites anywhere else in Canada.
Even though the evidence was clear, those clinics do save lives, and she knew it. But still she treated those drug addicted Canadians, as if they were bad people and their lives were disposable.
So now, even in British Columbia, they can't use them to help fight this killer epidemic.
New numbers from the BC Coroners Service show the shocking rise in deaths from illicit drugs in the province has continued through the first half of 2016, with approximately 60 per cent of the deaths involving fentanyl.
From Jan. 1 to June 30, there were 371 illegal drug overdose deaths in B.C. That's an increase of 74.2 per cent from the same period in 2015.
Or help save drug abusers from the misery and dangers of their addiction...
Even as they die in record numbers all over Canada.
Which for a person like me who believes in the sacred principle of harm reduction, is both depressing and infuriating.
So you can imagine how happy I was to see that Toronto is acting to tackle its drug overdose crisis.
Happy that my city councillor, the excellent Joe Cressy, led the charge to save lives.
And I'm also happy that one of the sites will be in the South Riverdale Community Health Centre.
An excellent and very Canadian place where the poor and the vulnerable and the addicted are treated with respect and kindness.
And where they even have a memorial where those lost to drug overdoses can be remembered by those who knew and loved them...
And the only very sad thing is that Brooklyn McNeil, who advocated so powerfully for those sites, didn't live to see them become reality...
And must now speak from the grave.
McNeil, an Ontario scholar, singer, artist and harm-reduction advocate, died of an overdose in an east-Toronto alley last month. She would have turned 23 on Tuesday.
“She was so amazing at helping so many people,” said her grieving mother, Thia Massaro, on the phone from Thunder Bay where McNeil grew up. “But in the end, she couldn’t help herself.”
“Instead, she was (found) sitting in an alley, by a dumpster, by herself. That is the most heart-wrenching thing.”
Which couldn't be more tragic, or make me feel sadder.
You know, I don't encourage drug use. I think it's absolutely insane to inject unknown substances of unknown potency into your blood stream.
But drug users are not criminals, they are some of the poorest and most vulnerable Canadians, who need to be helped not punished.
And their lives are not disposable...
They are our lost children.
And for not doing enough to save them.
And putting their cruel ideology before the lives of Canadians.
Rona Ambrose and her monstrous leader Stephen Harper can never be forgiven...
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