Canada's NDP


March 2nd, 2022

MPs debate NDP initiative to help address the overdose crisis

NDP MP says government inaction is costing Canadians their lives

OTTAWA – Today, NDP MP Gord Johns’ bill to decriminalize drug possession for personal use and expand access to crucial harm reduction, treatment and recovery services will be debated in the House of Commons. In British Columbia alone, 2,224 people died from toxic drugs last year, a 26 per cent increase from the year before, making last year the deadliest in the province’s overdose crisis. In the past six years, nearly 25,000 Canadians have died from the crisis, with the number of deaths increasing every year since the Liberals were elected. Johns and his NDP colleagues are urging all Members of Parliament to support this initiative to help ensure more families across Canada don't lose a loved one to this crisis.

“Canada is dealing with a second health pandemic which is needlessly killing thousands of people. The overdose crisis will not end on its own. It’s clear we need to take a new approach or else thousands more will die,” said Johns. “My bill follows the advice of the government’s own expert task force which recommended decriminalization, something that has been called for by public health authorities, police chiefs and major cities. It’s time the Liberal government listened to the experts and treated this like the health crisis it is.”

Last year, the cities of Vancouver and Toronto and the province of B.C. applied to the federal government for the decriminalization of drugs for personal use. Canada will not be able to adequately address the ongoing overdose crisis if it continues to stigmatize and marginalize people suffering from substance use disorder or those who use drugs casually. It’s time to put human life above outdated ideology.

“As long as the Liberals continue neglect this crisis, more parents, siblings and children will be left without their loved ones,” added Johns. “I am hopeful that all Parliamentarians will see the urgent need for this legislation and will come together to support it. Canadian lives are at stake.”