Drug decriminalization: The issue of decriminalizing simple drug possession emerged emerged on the campaign trail following the announcement of a three-year agreement between British Columbia and the federal government that means people won’t be charged for possessing up to 2.5 grams of some illicit drugs in an effort to curb overdose deaths.
Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford
Doug Ford will be door knocking in Brampton Centre and Mississauga East-Cooksville, then will hold a rally in his home turf of west-end Toronto known as Etobicoke.
He will not take any questions from reporters for a second day in a row.
Drug decriminalization: Ford’s campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the issue of drug decriminalization.
Ford’s government changed the addiction treatment model from safe injection sites to consumption and treatment services in 2019. At the time fifteen sites were approved and some existing overdose-prevention sites were forced to shut down.
The Progressive Conservative capped the number of sites at 21 and this year approved the province’s 17th site.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath
Andrea Horwath starts her day in Brampton, where her party made gains in the last election and hopes to maintain, if not grow, them this time. Health care will be her focus.
She will also make stops in Cambridge, and the ridings of Brantford-Brant, Flamborough-Glanbrook, Brampton West, and Etobicoke-Lakeshore before ending the marathon day in Toronto.
Ms. Horwath wouldn’t say if she’ll stay on in her post if she fails to become premier, telling reporters on Tuesday she will wait for voters to make their decision in this week’s election before she makes hers on her political future.
“Once they make their decision, then that will determine what goes forward in terms of me personally,” she told reporters at a campaign stop in Ottawa, vowing to “keep fighting for people” whatever the result of Thursday’s vote.
Drug decriminalization: Ontario’s New Democrats would work with Ottawa on decriminalizing drugs for personal use if the party is elected to form government on June 2.
Horwath said decriminalizing simple possession of drugs is part of her party’s plan to address the overdose crisis, along with lifting a cap on safe drug consumption sites and improving access to treatment.
“It is about saving lives, and that’s what we have to do,” Horwath said at a Wednesday campaign event in Brampton, Ont.
“We have to do better, and we can do better, so yes, absolutely, making sure that we have a safe drug supply, that we decriminalize simple possession, but most importantly, that we provide the services that people need to try to help them get well.”
Horwath also noted that it was a New Democrat government in British Columbia that made the first-in-Canada decriminalization policy happen.
Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca
Steven Del Duca is set to make an announcement in north Toronto.
Drug decriminalization: A spokeswoman for the Liberal campaign said the party isn’t considering decriminalizing drugs.
At an afternoon media event in Toronto, Del Duca said decriminalization is “not in our plan right now” but pointed to other things his party is proposing to fight the overdose crisis.
The Liberal party has said it will restart an opioid task force, expand access to the overdose reversal medication naloxone and lift the cap on new consumption and treatment sites that was brought in by the Progressive Conservative government.
Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner
Mike Schreiner is set to start the day in Brantford, before travelling to St. Thomas, London and Kitchener – all regions in southwestern Ontario, where his own seat of Guelph is located.
Drug decriminalization: Schreiner said Tuesday his party would also work with Ottawa to decriminalize drugs, saying Ontario needs to “urgently get moving” on the policy.
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