Conservative Party leader, Andrew Scheer, has made recent comments on harm reduction in practice (Conservative Party of Canada, 2017; CBC News, 2017). He is touring B.C. to boost the profile with voters (Ibid.).
Scheer said, “I don’t believe that should be the focus…There’s nothing there that breaks that cycle of addiction. I think that’s what more and more Canadians want to see.” He spoke out against safe injection sites as well:
“I really do think we need to move beyond this kind of supervised injection, where government makes it quote unquote safer to inject illicit drugs, and to focus more on recovery and helping those who are addicted to get off drugs.” (Ibid.)
No evidence or authority was referenced in the assertion; as well, he considers the awareness of young people particularly important as an emphasis.
When queried about the “onerous” factors to be taken into account as set out by the previous Conservative Party of Canada government, Scheer said the emphasis should not be on the repetition of the cycle of addiction.
Of any new party candidate leader, Scheer has had the smallest bump in the last 14 years out of any of them (Grenier, 2017). Even with the attempts for politicization of harm reduction in the attempts to garner voters in B.C., the B.C. health authorities have already spoken through the evidence, as per the most important question: what does the evidence say?
“Harm Reduction: A British Columbia Community Guide” (2005) from the B.C. Ministry of Health stated, firmly:
Harm reduction benefits the community through substantial reductions in open drug use, discarded drug paraphernalia, drug-related crime, and associated health, enforcement and criminal justice costs. It lessens the negative impact of an open drug scene on local business and improves the climate for tourism and economic development.
Scheer is bringing a musket to a battle lost for his party in another generation. He’s engaged in historical re-enactment.
B.C. Ministry of Health. (2005). Harm Reduction: A British Columbia Community Guide. Retrieved from http://www.health.gov.bc.ca/library/publications/year/2005/hrcommunityguide.pdf.
CBC News. (2017, August 29). Q&A: Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says harm reduction doesn’t break addiction cycle. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/q-a-conservative-leader-andrew-scheer-says-harm-reduction-doesn-t-break-addiction-cycle-1.4267020.
Conservative Party of Canada. (2017). Andrew Scheer. Retrieved from https://www.conservative.ca/andrew-scheer/.
Grenier, E. (2017, August 30). ANALYSIS Andrew Scheer’s Conservative leadership bump the smallest any new party leader has had in 14 years. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/grenier-scheer-honeymoon-1.4265903.