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Supporters, including the British Columbia government, argue that's just one of a growing number of peer-reviewed studies that have concluded Insite curbs open drug use, reduces needle sharing, prevents overdose deaths, reduces the spread of HIV and hepatitis, and even curbs crime.
But the governing Conservatives, who have long-argued that the site actually serves to encourage addiction, counter that because the site deals with federally-controlled substances it actually falls under their purview.
The Harper government’s decision in 2008 to discontinue Insite’s exemption from federal drug laws granted by Health Canada is what led to the court battle over the facility.
Insite operator the Portland Hotel Society argued in a court challenge that enforcing federal drug laws at the safe injection facility violated section 7 of the Charter of Rights, which protects life, liberty and security of the person. They also argued that federal criminal laws shouldn’t entrench on the provincial health authority.
Two B.C. court rulings have sided with Insite, but the facility’s future now awaits the outcome of the Supreme Court case.
It would have been quite a news conference, and it very nearly happened. Last fall, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, after months of intense, private talks, agreed to face the media together to declare their agreement that research shows the “benefits” and “positive impacts” of supervised injection sites for intravenous drug users. For the RCMP, making such a statement would have been a turning point: the Mounties would have had to distance themselves from dubious studies, commissioned by the force itself, that were critical of Insite, Vancouver’s pioneering safe injection facility. And that would have been a politically awkward move for the federal police, since Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government is firmly committed to shutting down Insite. But senior officers seemed ready to take that dramatic step. “I can confirm we are good to go from our end,” said Chief Superintendent Bob Harriman, a top RCMP drug enforcement officer in Vancouver, in an email he sent on Oct. 28, 2009, to Dr. Julio Montaner, director of the B.C. centre. Harriman’s email included “proposed messaging for [a] joint media release” of the RCMP and the research centre. The RCMP would acknowledge “an extensive body of Canadian and international peer-reviewed research reporting the benefits of supervised injection sites and no objective peer-reviewed studies demonstrating harms.” As well, Harriman said the RCMP would admit that “reviews” commissioned by the force, which contested the centre’s research, “did not meet conventional academic standards.” The proposed joint media release was never issued. Nor did the RCMP officers and the centre’s doctors appear together for their planned news conference. According to Montaner, two days before the scheduled event last December—after a venue had been booked at the University of British Columbia and “the banners were ready”—he received a telephone call from Deputy Commissioner Gary Bass, the most senior RCMP officer in British Columbia. “He said, ‘Julio, can’t do it,’ ” Montaner recalls. “I said, ‘What do you mean, Gary?’ He said, ‘I’m really sorry, I’ve been ordered not to go ahead with the news conference.’ ” Montaner says Bass made it clear that the order came from RCMP headquarters in Ottawa.
Insite, situated on the worst block of an area once home to the fastest-growing AIDS epidemic in North America, is one reason Vancouver is succeeding in lowering new AIDS infection rates while many other cities are only getting worse.
Originally posted by Cheerfulnihilist
The NDP is a true opposition to Harper's politics, they represent opposing philosophies unlike the Liberals, who weren't left enough since the Liberals represented the middle class.
In the coming months, the NDP will outgrow this infitile period....then we'll see the # hit the fan as our politics becomes more secular like the Americans.