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Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre speaks during a news conference on safety in hospitals in Vancouver, on May 14.ETHAN CAIRNS/The Canadian Press

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre wants to bring in a law that would prevent federal health ministers from granting exemptions to drug laws that would allow individuals to use their own hard drugs in hospitals.

The federal Conservative Leader said Tuesday during a Vancouver press conference that his party will introduce a “safe hospitals act” as a private member’s bill and propose other curbs on hard-drug use in hospitals.

Mr. Poilievre said the act would bar exemptions that enable individuals to use drugs such as fentanyl and methamphetamine in hospitals. Also, the act would make it an aggravating factor for the purposes of sentencing if an individual has a weapon in a hospital.

“Canadians deserve a government that will keep hard drugs out of hospitals,” Mr. Poilievre told his news conference, held across the street from the downtown St. Paul’s hospital.

Mr. Poilievre said the bill will not apply to drugs prescribed by medical professionals.

Toronto and Montreal are seeking federal exemptions on some drugs as a harm-reduction measure at a time when British Columbia is grappling with the fallout from a pilot project to decriminalize hard-drug use in public spaces, including hospitals.

Toronto has had an application before Health Canada for two years, seeking an exemption from federal drug laws on simple possession. Possessing drugs for trafficking or production would remain illegal. The request was supported by Toronto Public Health, harm-reduction experts and Toronto Police.

The Conservatives had been criticizing the federal Liberal government since British Columbia requested to prohibit possession of illicit drugs in public spaces, in a reversal of the province’s drug-decriminalization pilot project. The Liberals agreed to the provincial request.

In a video posted on social-media platform X, Conservative MP Kerry-Lee Findlay, who represents a British Columbia riding, said she will propose the hospitals act as a private member’s bill.

Mr. Poilievre also said the Tories will push for the passage of Bill C-321, proposed by Conservative MP Todd Doherty, to create an aggravating factor for assaults committed against health care workers or first responders.

Ya’ara Saks, the federal Minister for Mental Health and Addictions, said in a statement that the Liberals have already voted in favour of Bill C-321, which is now in front of the Senate.

Ms. Saks said every health-care worker in Canada deserves to be safe in their place of work, which is why the Liberals supported the bill.

She said there needs to be a mix of harm-reduction services to keep people alive and connect them to care.

B.C. Premier David Eby, asked about Mr. Poilievre’s comments, said Tuesday that if the Opposition Leader wants to help his province, it would be more effective for him to join the B.C. NDP government in making the case to Ottawa for fair and proportionate federal funding for British Columbians.

“That would be very useful thing for him to do,” Mr. Eby said.

The province’s Official Opposition party, BC United, supports the federal Conservative plan.

And the provincial Conservatives in B.C., who are polling second to the NDP ahead of a provincial election this fall and are not officially associated with the federal party, said they back the planned policy.

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